Browsing the archives for the onion grass tag.


Wild Edibles Abound in Mid-December

General Posts
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It’s mid December in Western Pennsylvania and no snow on the ground. Though it has flurried a couple of times nothing has stuck. It may drop below freezing at night, but during the day it is in the 40s and 50s and there are many wild edibles all around. So many nutritious greens to add to soups and salads!

I took these photos on a walk around the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Brookline. Besides these edibles I’ve seen lots of deadnettles and garlic mustard all around.

Dandelion in bloom mid-December

Dandelion in bloom mid-December

Lots and lots of mallow everywhere

Lots and lots of mallow everywhere

It's hard to get a good photo of the wispy onion grass

It's hard to get a good photo of the wispy onion grass

Deliciously sour and fabulously healthy sorrel...one of the ingredients in the anti-cancer herbal formula Essiac.

Deliciously sour and fabulously healthy sorrel...one of the ingredients in the anti-cancer herbal formula Essiac.

The oyster mushrooms were found with my friend Trish just outside Pittsburgh, in Bellevue. They are delicious! More tomorrow on identifying oyster mushrooms.

Harvesting oyster mushrooms with Trish

Harvesting oyster mushrooms with Trish

Happy harvesting!

~ Melissa

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CSF Week 1 Newsletter

CSF Newsletters, General Posts, Recipes
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Week 1's share. Absent from photo: cleavers.

Week 1's share. Absent from photo: cleavers.

Welcome to week 1 of the Community Supported Foraging!

I am posting the newsletter on the blog so that if you are following (or foraging) along you can read about the suggestions and recipes of what is current wild and available.

Also, we may be able to make more shares available at some point so this way you can follow along and see if you would like to join in.

We had a couple surprises in this week’s share: young dryad’s saddle mushroom, which turns out to be delicious when it is young and tender like the ones we found and creeping charlie or ground ivy, which we found in abundance at Wild Red’s Gardens, who have graciously offered to let us forage there.

I am so happy to be able to include edible wild mushrooms in this week’s share. To me that makes the share extra fun! An important note about wild mushrooms:

Dryad's saddle

Dryad's saddle

WILD MUSHROOMS MUST BE COOKED BEFORE EATEN!

in other words:

DO NOT EAT WILD MUSHROOMS RAW

or:

ALWAYS COOK WILD MUSHROOMS

Ella serving some dryad's saddle, sauteed in butter

Ella serving dryad's saddle, sauteed in butter

I recommend when first trying a new mushroom to simply saute it in butter, making sure you like the flavor, before adding it to a dish. Dryad’s saddle is tender and delicious this early in the season, but later it will get tough and bitter. I’d never enjoyed its taste until finding these young ones in the woods. At this stage, they rival morels. They are in fact known in some circles as “The morel hunter’s consolation prize.”

In this week’s share:

  • Dryad’s saddle mushroom(fresh)
  • dried reishi mushrooms
  • stinging nettles
  • broad dock leaves
  • cleavers
  • Japanese knotweed stalks
  • purple archangel (purple deadnettle)
  • violet flowers
  • onion grass
  • creeping charlie/ground ivy
  • garlic mustard

Read The Rest of This Post »

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Onion Grass and Non-Edible Look-Alike

General Posts, Identification, Look-Alikes, Poisonous or Toxic
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onion grass growing on a hillside near our house, note the curly ends on some stalks

onion grass growing on a hillside near our house, note the curly ends on some stalks

Onion grass is very plentiful this time of year. In fact, it’s been up since March…it is one of the first things to come up, along with garlic mustard.

Onion grass is distinct: it comes up in patches in lawns and hillsides, it’s darker green and longer than the grass (especially in early spring, when grass has barely come back yet!), has a hollow stalk and a distinct onion smell and taste.

It can be used as you would use chives, and the bulb can even be dug and used like small shallots or scallions.

However, recently we were hiking along a creek bed, and came across a patch of plants that could potentially be confused for onion grass, especially because there was onion grass growing very close by.

NOT onion grass

NOT onion grass


This plant was likely a lily, so when digging it up it had very similar looking bulbs to the onion. However, looking carefully at the greens you’ll see this plant looks more like grass: flat, uniform in height, and very straight. The onion grass, on the other hand, grows rather messily: each stalk is a different height and some curl. Also, as I said before, onion is hollow, which you can tell when you break the stalk.

NOT onion grass: flat, even, looks like grass, no onion smell

NOT onion grass: flat, even, looks like grass, no onion smell

This IS onion grass: curly hollow stalk, smells like onion

This IS onion grass: curly hollow stalk, smells like onion

The final very important distinction is that onion grass smells undeniably like onion, while the imposter does not. If one were to accidently taste a bit of the imposter (which we do not recommend) it would taste awful and bitter: a sure sign the plant is not meant to eat.

Please remember:

  • use multiple senses when identifying a plant, even one you feel very sure of.
  • if you plan to eat a plant, dry it or use it in any other way internally, and feel 100% certain it is what you are after, it is still wise to taste a tiny bit of the plant to make sure it is what you seek. If it the taste is unpleasant or not what you expect, spit it out and discard it.
  • Be absolutely certain when foraging wild edibles. There are plants which are dangerously toxic, even lethal (including death camas…which grows out west and can be confused with wild onion…see below…,poison and water hemlock and foxglove, to name a couple.)

Thanks, be safe and enjoy the spring!

onion grass I harvested today: VERY oniony smell, hollow stalks, curly uneven ends

onion grass I harvested today: VERY oniony smell, hollow stalks, curly uneven ends

~ Melissa

Here is a very important comment added by Jason. (I am adding it in the text because our comment section is still a bit hard to find/understand.):

Everyone should read this post and understand it. Before you eat anything in the wild, make sure you are educated, especially on poisonous look-alikes.

I’ll add and important tie-in. DEATH CAMAS is often confused with Wild Onion and is EXTREMELY POISONOUS
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It is in the same Order as Lilies, and also has an oval bulb that looks like wild onion. Sometimes they’ll even grow together!

As you point out, an important distinguishing feature is the lack of an “onion-smell”.

When foraging for food, if in doubt, go without.
~ Jason

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