If there’s one thing I have plenty of in my food storage, it’s mashed potatoes! However, I realized that I do not have lots of butter or bacon bits to add any flavor to them. So while I was whining to my mom about the lack of flavor in my food storage, she pointed out her yard to me. We live in the southeastern US, so yards at this time of year are mostly brown. But you’ll almost always see some green clumps with an upright habit and a strong smell. Those are called wild onions by the locals, or chives by the likes of Mom.
Wild onions don’t really bulb, but they have very thin shoots (see photo) that are like grass but smell strongly of onion. If you’re in Western Carolina, Georgia, or West Virginia, wild onions are comparable to Ramps. Our friends in Western Carolina have Ramps festivals in late April and early May. They grow wild, look like a leek, and are part of the Allium family, meaning they smell and taste similar to onions. Wild onions and Ramps can be sprinkled onto food at the last minute (they fall apart if cooked) to add a nice mild onion flavor and delicate texture, perfect for mashed potatoes! Mom’s yard has several stands of wild onion so we both agreed to gather those to make a delicious addition to otherwise bland instant potato flakes.
We both got to work this Saturday morning after the Declaration of National Emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. She cut hers and my son and I cut ours, and we ended up with several bags full. We plan to freeze them and take just a few out as we need them.
Mom and her cat, Butterscotch, worked together to prepare two bags at her house. You can see in the photos that Butterscotch seems really fond of them and there was a little misunderstanding in the kitchen for what exactly they are used for. Fortunately they made up and Butterscotch is back in her lap.
During this time of difficulty, don’t forget to appreciate the little things. If your lawn isn’t treated with a bunch of chemicals, try cutting your own native version of wild onions to go with your food storage. I am sure the neighborhood cat would love to assist you.
Be sure to leave a comment sharing about the little treats you have found in your own backyard!