I do Love a good Forage! As we now enter March, my favourite forage of the year is almost here…Three Cornered Leek! (Allium triquetrium) also Known as Onion Grass and Onion Weed. Find out where it grows and how to harvest it.
This Post May Contain affiliate links please see my disclosure policy
Three Cornered Leek History
Three cornered leeks have been cultivated in Britain since 1759. An invasive species, three cornered Leek was brought over to the UK from the Mediterranean. It is a member of the allium family and originates from the Mediterranean, Madeira, Canary Islands and North Africa.The Three Cornered Leek is sometimes mistaken for white flowered Bluebells, but this inaccuracy can be quickly determined by the garlicky, onion smell of the Three Cornered Leek.
Where does Three Cornered Leek Grow?
Since Three Cornered Leek arrived in the UK it has quickly colonised grass verges, waste grounds, woods, hedgerows and gardens. Classed as an Invasive species, it is actually a criminal offence to introduce this plant to the wild in the UK.
Meaning, any intentional planting of Three Cornered Leek Bulbs in wild areas is subject to prosecution under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. How does Three Cornered Leek Spread ? Three Cornered Leek is mainly spread through dispersal of seeds. Once established the Three Cornered leek plant forms dense clumps of growth.
Three Cornered Leek Identification
Three Cornered Leek has long thin leaves with a deep central keel. The Flower stalks emerge around early spring, topped with bell-like white flowers with green veins, bearing some resemblance to snowdrops. The entire plant smells of onion/garlic when crushed.
Now some Foraging Etiquette
There are some rules you should abide by if you intend to forage for food, or for foliage.
Only take what you need-Take no more than you plan to consume or use and try to forage over a wide area rather than picking from one patch. Make sure you’re foraging doesn’t disturb the habitats and environments of the local wildlife.
Leave No trace– Leaving no trace of your presence is a sign you have foraged responsibly. Do not trample or disturb roots and only take when there is an abundance of your chosen food or foliage. This allows the plants to replenish and renew.
Don’t Pick from Private land – If you intend to, be sure to get permission first.
Only Pick from Clean areas – Avoid Roadsides, Industrial areas & Top tip* Foraging from the base of a tree for example would not be wise, the likeliness of a dog previously cocking its leg there…is high! If you intend to consume what you have foraged, wash first.
Which Parts of three Cornered Leek Can You Eat
All parts of the plant are edible. Yep! The roots, flowers, leaves and stems all perfectly safe to eat.
The Roots have the strongest garlic/ onion flavour. I like to chop them up and add them to scrambled eggs…Delicious!
Here in the UK you need permission to dig up the roots of Three Cornered Leek. However, I have yet to be refused! I Forage mine from The Allotment site where I have my Plot and the management are more than happy for me to take some away. Remember, this plant is invasive, most times people are just thankful somebody else wants it!
The flowers have a strong garlic/oniony taste. Perfect for sprinkling on Soups or adding to salads.
The leaves are probably the mildest part of the plant in terms of Flavour. Still delicious!
The stems have a subtle Sweetness! A much milder and gentler flavour than the roots
Can you eat Three Cornered Leek Raw ?
Absolutely! Three Cornered Leek can be consumed Raw or Cooked.
Three Cornered Leek Health Benefits
Three Cornered Leek has similar health benefits to garlic (Allium sativum). Consumption of it can help with reducing High Blood pressure and reduce Blood Cholesterol. It is believed the nutrients are most potent in the bulb/root part of the plant
Ways To Eat Three Cornered Leek
I treat Three Cornered Leek in the same way I would Spring Onions or Young Leeks. Pop them in stews, Soups, Salads. Add them to scrambled Eggs or chop them up and add them to sandwiches.
*Stay safe when foraging. Be 100% sure of your identification. If in doubt, leave it out!
Useful Foraging Equipment
Want To Learn How To Grow Your Own Food?
Looking For more ‘Homely’ Inspo ?
*Any specific health claim or nutritional claims or information provided on the Website are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the Website is offered or intended to be a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This Website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You assume full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns.