- other names three-cornered leek
- light green, grass like leaves and flower stalks are triangular in a cross section (photo below)
- it is a perennial that grows from small bulbs 1cm in diameter
- a garden escape being brought here by settlers from Europe
- even I considered it a terrible weed because it is impossible to get rid of
- through observation I realised it is a great ground cover in the cooler months, highly nutritious while it is there and then it dies down and disappears in the dryness of summer
- I completely changed my view of it and now I delight when I see it come up in late autumn/winter for using the leaves and flowers and even ￼the roots as tasty additions to salads, pestos and smoothies, scrambled eggs or chopped up finely in butter
- roots can be dug up once the plant has died down and used like onions, spring onions or garlic
- although they are small the leaves when crushed have a distinct garlic smell so it is easy to identify
- the plant has beautiful bell shaped white flowers with a green stripe down the centre of each of the five petals
- flowers appear in spring, flower stalks reach 20-50 cm tall
Onion weed grows in gardens often in shade or under trees (it grew under my walnut tree in Palmerston North), parks, waste places and roadsides.
- contains sulphur (which gives it the onion ￼flavour)
- helps reduce blood cholesterol levels
- acts as a digestive system tonic
- stimulates the circulatory system
- contains chlorophyll, fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- take advantage of this winter green that comes to help protect us from colds and flu
Recipe: Julia’s Cultured Weed Salad
1/2 cabbage finely shredded
two huge handfuls of herbs & weeds e.g. chickweed, puha, onion weed, wall
lettuce, fennel, parsley, herb robert, dandelion, plantain, violet leaves, land or winter cress, endive, speedwell, mint, nasturtium leaves, herb robert, self heal, corn salad and red clover.
- Place weeds on the cutting board and cut them all up at once into pieces 10-20cm
- Combine the weeds with the cabbage and sprinkle over 2 tsp of salt (this stops the ‘bad’ bacteria getting a head start, while the ‘gud’ cultures get growing) Let sit for 1/2 hour or longer
- Now comes the fun – massage the whole lot with your hands until the juice comes out and it looks all wilted (see below)
- Pack this into a quart jar and make sure there is a 20 cm gap between the lid & contents
- Push the plants down with a tamper or smaller bottle that fits into the jar to get all the air out (this is an anaerobic process) and to keep the plants under the liquid
- Place some pieces of dark green cabbage leaf into the liquid on top of the plant material
- Stand a smaller bottle with water in it on top of the cabbage leaves to keep it all down
- Put the lid on loosely and leave for 2-3 days, you’ll notice bubbles and the liquid expand this is all normal fermentation. The bubbling should lessen once the fermentation has completed store in the fridge.
- You can eat it as cultured vegetables with other food or put it in your smoothie! You heard correctly put a heaped Tablespoon in your smoothie and you’ll be doing yourself and your gut flora a big favour in having a dose of probiotics. The salt actually brings out flavours and you can’t really taste the cultured vegetables at all although you may smell it a bit.