❝ Wild Onion Fever
Ahhhh Spring is in the air and so is the smell of wild onion dinners.
In the last few weeks there has been wild onion dinners galore here in Oklahoma. Wild onions or “tefvmbe” as we say in Mvskoke, grow mainly in shady places with a lot of moisture. But there are places where onions and garlic grow in fields and lawns. Matter of fact there is a bunch of them growing in my back yard here in the city. The wild onion season begins in late February and runs through most of March and sometimes part of April. Wild onions are best eaten when they are less than six inches long because they are tender then. Any longer than that and they are stringy and hard to chew.
Wild onions usually grow in colonies or clumps, are partially buried with the green sprouts above ground. To gather onions requires digging tools and a strong back. It takes quite a few bunches of onions to feed one person because they cook down in the same manner as spinach or greens.
Cleaning the onions takes a lot longer than gathering them and is quite tedious not to mention making one’s home and person fragrant with the smell of onion. The film covering the head of the onion and the fine hairs at the bulb have to be removed. The onions have to be washed thoroughly to get the sand or dirt off before cooking. The onions are then cut into small pieces about one inch to an inch and a half.
There are two ways to cook wild onions, both are on top of the stove. Some people boil the onions in a little oil and a lot of water, then drain the water off, add eggs to their liking and stir them in a scramble. The other way is to steam the onions in a little oil and a little water in a covered pan, and the onions are cooked again with eggs after they are tender. They can be eaten without adding the eggs and there are people who prefer it cooked that way, myself included.
I like to think of my ancestors of long ago discovering this wonderful root growing in the wild. Along with other herbs and delicacies of nature, American Indians adopted this sprout as a food staple in our diets where others see it as a weed or pest. We look forward to this time of year when individuals and communities are holding wild onion dinners in fellowship. Indians in Oklahoma and all over the U.S. love wild onions. ❞