This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Todays Ethnobotanical Pursuit

Field Garlic Leaves
Cut, dried and ready to store.

  It was supposed to rain the next couple of days and the lawn needs to be mowed so I decide this would be a good time to collect some Field Garlic leaves to store for future use before they get mowed down. Field Garlic (many people mistakingly call it onion grass), is one of those plants that doesn't like the heat and dies back in the summer. This time of year they are plentiful in most non-toxic, non-pesticide laden lawns.
  This time of year is a good time for the amateur wild food enthusiast to collect Field Garlic as there are no toxic look-a-likes coming up like there are in the spring. In the Spring lots of bulbs with long narrow leaves are making there debut after a long Winters sleep that may be confused with Field Garlic to the uninitiated. Field Garlic has long narrow hollow tubular leaves that taper at the tip. They also have the unmistakable smell of onion when broken. If dug up, they have a small onion like bulb at the base which can also be used in cooking.
  The leaves can be used in anyway you would use chives. Use fresh or dried in soups, salads or any other dish that calls for green onions or chives. They are great with fish and on baked potatoes.
  This time I decided to dry them for future use. I thought I collected plenty but after drying I didn't have nearly as much as I thought I would (duh!), so I will have to collect more before I mow them down. To dry, all I did was cut them up into small pieces,  put them on a tray in the toaster oven on 150 degrees, the lowest setting I have, and left the door ajar to keep the temperature low and let the humidity out. They didn't take long at all. I placed them in a spice jar and stored them out of the sunlight with the rest of my spices. The next time I think I will collect some bulbs and make a field garlic soup!
 Field Garlic, being in the Genus Allium, also has the some of the same health benefits and medicinal uses as onions, leeks and garlic. I have used the crushed leaves as a poultice on an infected cut, and it worked very well, and as a gargle for a sore throat. Research how good onion and garlic are for you and you will see it is worth the time and effort to seek out Field Garlic. Besides, it will get you away from the computer and get you outside and dirty, what could be better than that!

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