Wild Leeks





Introduction: Wild Leeks

I was born on a first nation’s reservation and lived my whole life eating from the wild, although I don’t live on the reservation anymore I have never abandoned the ways of the people.

Wild leeks are an extreme food, they only grow among hard woods they only sprout for a month in the spring, and they can be prepared many ways. You can eat them raw in a salad, you can pickle them for later use, you can cook them and freeze them for later use, you can steam them, boil them in a soup, and you can even fry them. My wife likes it when I go fishing I collect the food clean the food and cook the food and she gets the night off.

Step 1: Finding and Identifying Wild Leeks

I have been fishing for Freshwater Drum. White Fish and Pike off Georgian Bay lately and after fishing I was checking to see if the Wild Leeks and Fiddle heads were up. This year it has been a mild winter and in a mild winter the wild plants come up early. Wild Leeks grow in hardwood bush and fiddle heads grow in swampy arias. Early in the spring the hardwood forest floor is covered in leaves and moss.

This week the Wild Leeks and several flowering plants are sprouting, they grow in clusters between the hardwood trees and nestled among the roots of the trees.

It is important to identify wild plants correctly; Wild Leeks have a dagger shaped leaves, solid green in color with a red and white stem and a white bulbous end with the roots on the end of the bulb.

Step 2: The Great Pretender

There is another flowering plant that sprouts at the same time as the Wild Leeks and can be confused with Wild Leeks. It grows in clusters like the leeks. They have a dagger shaped leaf with green in color with red blotches a red and white stem a white bulbous end with the roots on the end of the bulb. Other than the red blotches the description is the same.

Here is the leaf of this flowering plant next to a leek leaf, see how it has red blotches on the leaf compared to the leeks with solid green leaves.

Step 3: Collecting

There is an old saying amongst aboriginal peoples, “Take what you need and use what you take.”

With a shovel or a pitchfork I dig up the leeks and shake off as much of the dirt as I can.  Most of the time when you dig up the Wild Leeks there matted roots hold them together in a small bunch.

Step 4: Cleaning

Once I have gathered all the leeks that I can use and take them home I clean them. I start by breaking off the matted roots and throwing the roots in my compost bucket.

After I remove the roots, I wash the dirt and dead skin off the leaves and bulb with cold water and place them in a bowel.

At this point it is time to decide how to have the Wild Leeks they can be chopped up or used whole raw in a salad, or they can be cooked. Raw Wild Leeks are hot about half way between Onions and Garlic with a mild raw Garlic flavor. They are really good with your favorite dressing and go good on a sandwich like a BLT or a Sub.

Step 5: Cooking

I could eat them raw in a salad, I can pickle them for later use, or I can cook them and freeze them for later use. However I am going cut them in half and boil them like turnip greens, smother them in butter and have them with the fish I caught. As the leeks cook they soften and the leeks above the water fall below the surface.

Step 6: Dinner Is Ready

I cooked this Freshwater Drum with my Spicy Fried Fish recipe, made chicken flavored rice and added my cooked Wild Leeks smothered in butter. The Wild Leeks soften when they cook so they look much smaller on the plate than in the bowl or pot. It’s is a shame Wild Rice doesn’t grow around where I live or I would have had a meal completely from the forest.



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    yes, there is another similar plant - it's the lilly of the valley which has poisonous properties so you should be really careful!

    The leaves are similar but it ends there.

    Lilly of the Valley has rhizomes, Wild Leeks don't have rhizomes they reproduce by seeds only.

    The flower when Wild Leeks have one is different from the Lilly of the Valley and the leaves die when the leek blossoms.

    The fruit when Wild Leeks have one is different from the Lilly of the Valley.

    Lilly of the Valley is up from spring to fall, Wild Leeks are only up in the spring for two weeks.

    Wild Leeks stink Lilly of the Valley smells nice.

    I will definitely be searching for these next spring! I already eat mushrooms, fiddleheads, wild carrots, various greens and lovely wild black raspberries when I'm lucky and now I hope to add this to the list of free food I can find!

    You may also find krinkly root (a toothwort) in the same area.. nice as a spice..peppery.

    Just remember they grow in mixed or hardwood bush not a coniferous bush.

    They have a garlic flavor and smell not as hot as garlic.


    Please remember leeks are slow to mature and multiply! Only take a few from each clump and then only large ones.. otherwise their new popularity may lead to their demise!

    quite interesting :D

    i too love finding wild foods, growing up in the Australian bush i can recognize quite a few, as long as you keep your eyes open theres a wonderful array of wild foods out there!
    so long as you make sure to correctly identify it before eating it!

    I gather fiddle heads, wild leeks, mushrooms, berries, fruit, and wild rice when I can.

    This does not count the fish and other wild game I eat.

    In the past I went to Texas twice a week for my work, while I was there I would walk in the desert picking and eating the wild cactus fruit.

    In Ontario the only cactus that grows here is Peyote you can eat it if you want to see pretty pictures it is a hallucinogenic.

    Do you have edible cactus down under?

    wow interesting!

    not that i know of, but i live in the mountains on the east coast so maybe out west they do!

    here i can pick Macadamia nuts (delicious but near impossible to crack open)
    lilly pillys ( a sour but tangy native berry) a species of rush called matt rush (tastes like boiled greens and golden syrup) sandpaper figs, yams, etc

    i also catch native fish when i can :D


    Sweet Instructable. Love wild foods!

    I used to live in Yonkers, NY and in the spring you can gather bushels of these from the parks. Nice memories.