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Dec 27, 2011 06:13 PM

Is it safe to eat the wild onion/garlic chives in my yard?

I'm not sure which they are. They are really skinny round chives with small white bulbs under ground. They look like oniony chives but smell garlicky when pulled out. My husband always gets nervous when I ask about eating wild things, such as the blackberries and tiny strawberries that grow in the backyard...


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    1. I don't use pesticides and also have these growing in my yard - I watch for them every year and eagerly pluck them up for use in my cooking. Enjoy!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Mutch2Do

        Thanks! Can't wait to add them to my soup! Do you know, are they garlic chives?

        1. re: Jerseygirl111

          the wild garlic chives i know have flat leaves...

          1. re: Jerseygirl111

            I use them for everything from soups to stir frys to scallion cakes. Perhaps a quick internet search on foraging in your area would help you discern whether you have chives or garlic (I've seen both and they're similar), then you can move forward from there with their uses (nutritional as well as medicinal). Good luck!

            1. re: Mutch2Do

              t's a little hard to tell (there being so many species of wild Allium in the US) but commenest on the east coast (I'm working on the assumption that, based on your screen name, you live somewhere on the East coast) is what is called Crow Garlic, Allium Vineale (if you take the bulbs at the bottom apart (particualry at the end of the season, when they have gone browish and died above ground) is is sort of a mixed bulb, with most of the cloves covered in hard shells (like on domestic garlic) but the inner 1-2 larger ones bare? and in the summer does it make a ball of either bright purple flowers or bulbils (it's bitsy little cloves produced on top of the flower stack, or both? those would be some identifying characteristics) Garlic chives (Allium bulbosum) actually do have flat leaves. Crow garlic is edible, though a lot of people think the bulb at the bottom tastes a little too acrid to be pleasant, particualry when it is mature.) If the plant is shorter and the bulb on the bottom reall does look like an onion (i.e. there are no seperate cloves inside though there may be two full bulbs attached to each other at the base) it may be the "wild garlic" I buy each spring at the farmers market (I keep forgetting to ask the guy what species it is)

        2. The flower buds are especially good

          6 Replies
          1. re: AsperGirl

            I am in NJ, specifically on the coast. While we do have snow here, the green "stemmy" part never seems to die back, it stays green forever. The stalks are round and hollow. There are no discernible cloves on the bottom, just a white bulb. The bulbs never get bigger than 1/2 inch. My hubby said they most resemble wild scallions.

            1. re: Jerseygirl111

              In that case, they may be the same as the "wild garlic" I get in the spring. You're lucky in that case, that is quite tasty (and quite expensive, if you arent lucky enough to have a patch) I'm been trying to stablaize a patch of that in my own garden (amongst other things, it's one of the few garlics that will grow in shade. It doesnt need it, but it can take it)

              Incidentally I foraged something really interesting last autum. It looks just like the crow in build (few hards, around a soft) except the bulb is a good 2-3 inches across (i.e. about the size of a domestic garlic head) I'm plainning to plant it next spring; it may be a superstrain of wild garlic.

              1. re: jumpingmonk

                Wow, I am so excited about this. I am going to try and post some pics! I am a big veggie gardener and love the idea of eating off the land...

                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                  You may be describing what we, in Mi. and elsewhere, call ramps. They have become quite popular as a foraged food and many places are becomming over foraged. Professionals sell them at farmers' markets for $$$. What makes a professional? Someone who devotes many hours a day to the task of foraging,sometimes to the detriment of the crop, for the financial reward of a scarce crop sold to people who do not forage. If you do start a "patch" just take a few from each bunch. They can be used from their tops to their toes!

                  1. re: mgebs

                    ramps usually have rosy-pink bulbs, & the op describes white ones.

                    love ramps, though. hurray, it's spring!

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      Plus she said they had round leaves (like chives) and ramps have wide, flat ones.

          2. Do they move???

            Here's the reason I'm asking: many years ago, my mother visited China. Towards the end of her trip, in a restaurant, she made a comment to the waiter about the huge variety and diversity of Chinese cuisine.

            To which he replied: "Ma'am, if it moves, we eat it."

            So... do they move?

            8 Replies
            1. re: M_ichel

              Alright, I am going to try to post a picture...

              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                Here are the pics. Hopefully it worked!

                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                    I am so excited that I ask this question. I have been living in Arkansas for 6 years now and these things are growing all over my lawn. I think they smell great when we mow the lawn. Anyway I've been checking them out more closely and have been so curious about them. Mine have a round hollow tube like stem and a little white bulb at the end. Just wasn't sure if they were eatable. I was told once that they were kinda strong tasting, but now i'm excited to use them. So mine is the crow garlic too I guess. because their just like yours Jerseygirl. Isn't it great to learn something new..Thanks everyone .

                  2. re: Jerseygirl111

                    Not ramps. For sure.

                    Good luck and let us know what the taste is like!

                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                      I have some of the same things. Cooked them up in a clam pasta dish (part of the Cookbook of the month). They were very tasty although the outer stem was definitely a little tough. Next time I will peel more layers off.

                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                        Did you use the bulb or the green stems? Because the green stemmy part doesn't have layers...

                      2. re: Jerseygirl111

                        We have these in our yard also and they have the bulbs on the bottom. I chop the top up and use it top baked potatoes with sour cream, any leftovers I dry and then put in spice jar to use later. I've used the bulbs in cooking just like garlic or chopped in my salads and I like them. I don't use pesticides and they grow crazy wild in our flower beds. Mine look just like your pictures. Thanks.

                  3. in the Midwest as a child we'd chew on them for the 'bite' taste while playing in the yard. if you don't use pesticides or excessive fertilizers I'd use 'em just like you would scallion or chive. why not, right?