In praise of red onions


I admit it, I’ve given in. Not shoes this time, but seeds. Well, not seeds exactly: onion sets.

I wasn’t going to grow onions this year. They’re cheap and easy to find in the shops, there’s no significant difference in taste. And last year the wind laid the stalks of my onions flat to the ground early on and the resulting onions were small. Compare them to the garlic and shallot crops, and see what I mean:

That’s small.

But they were delicious – and that’s the end of one of my arguments for not growing them. They were Red Baron (described in one veg manual as ‘outstanding’) and you can’t buy those in the shops, at least not round here. Other objection gone. I’ve even mentally allocated a spot which would be ideal as it’s sunny and well drained, plus its closer to my windbreak netting.

I thought about it. All onions are fabulous; if you try and imagine life without them you realise just how valuable they are in the kitchen (and they’re good in health terms, too). They were precious during WW2, of course – a friend of my grandfather once told me about being given two onions as a birthday present, and there’s a wartime cartoon of a duchess wearing onions round her neck and saying to a friend ‘They’re real, my dear!’

But I’m not growing ordinary onions. Definitely not.

Then I thought about red onion marmalade, sweet red onions sliced and raw in salads (perhaps a Greek salad, or one with with tuna and beans or maybe lentils), roasted, in a quiche, glazed, in salsas, grilled – they’re amazing when grilled – and any resistance weakened.

I’m sure I can fit 130 onions in. They’re ordered now, anyway.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. hortophile says:

    Mmmmmmmmm red onions!

    1. kate says:

      Meeeee tooooo – this year’s sets are now sitting in cells in the greenhouse waiting for the soil to warm up, and I can’t wait…. (The ones you grow are so much nicer than any you buy in the shops, too!)

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