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In Awe of Onions

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In Awe of Onions

Postby halfateabag » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:11 am

I am constantly amazed by all the different kinds, varieties and colours of onions I have found both in this country and around the world.

Whilst in Rhodes recently, I wanted to test drive the small but perfectly formed kitchen in the villa so bought an onion like the ones we had been eating in the restaurants along the journey. They were pink (not red) skinned and the onion inside was white with a slightly pink tinge - but they are so sweet and pleasant to eat. Did not experience any unpleasant aftertaste, which you can get with some onions. I did bring a pink one home and added half to the potato salad I made yesterday for the BBQ. The other half I am saving to chop and sprinkle over the yellow split pea dip/paste together with some flat leaved parsley, I plan to concoct today.

Then there are shallots, again very mild and sweetish. I can just remember when Spanish onions first appeared in our shops. They tend to be on the sweet side - nice in salads too.

I have memories of onion markets in France, every conceivable type of onion you can imagine, different colours, shapes. I imagine a French housewife would buy different onions for different dishes..... I tend to buy brown onions for everyday cooking, never use them raw - too strong !

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Badger's Mate » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:27 am

There are brown, red and white onions on the plot. Never had a lot of joy with shallots here, though used to grow them for pickling in the Edmonton years. I've also got a surfeit of Welsh onions, a bit like a perennial spring onion. That lot lasts us all year.

I've seen recipes using grelot onions. Does anyone know them, can you buy them in the UK, do they grow OK over here?

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Stokey Sue » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:20 pm

Do you find the white onions very different from the brown? I have occasionally bought them but not really found a particular need for them

Then there are Spanish onions, the main problem with them is that they are huge, but I do like the flavour

I quite often buy the echallion banana shallots, one is often just the right amount for me. I wish peopel using shallots in recipes would give some guide other than the number of bulbs, they vary to much in size from the little red ones that come looking like strings of cherries to echallion but all taste much the same, a rough weight or even cup measure helps

Whatever they are if you dump your alliums in a bowl of warm tap water while you get everything else out, the papery skins come off more easily

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Badger's Mate » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:48 pm

I've tried growing banana shallots, without much joy. Normally you plant one shallot and harvest a bunch. I planted some (yellow stickered) ones I got from a supermarket and all that happened was that I had buried them. This year I've tried growing them from seed, but can't see any bunches or bananas. Maybe they'll bunch up next year.

White onions are supposedly milder than the brown ones. I grabbed what was available in the garden centre pre lockdown. :D

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Suffs » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:10 pm

BM ... the shallots you bought from a supermarket and planted were mature and if they’d grown would just have produced a flower spike if they’d grown.

The shallot ‘sets’ that we buy and plant have been produced by seed companies under specific conditions ... they’re sort of ‘in suspended animation’ , triggered back into growth when we plant them.

Edited to add this explanation
https://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/vegetab ... 20position.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Badger's Mate » Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:40 pm

However, I used to replant shallots from one year to the next, like garlic cloves. As for the banana shallots, a flower spike would have been a distinct improvement on what happened! :D



ETA

A bit of Googling suggests that I must have misremembered that first bit, unless they form a cluster after any seed head is removed, in the same way the bolted onion sets will still make a (smaller) bulb if you nip the flower off. Or unless keeping them indoors over winter prevents vernalisation. I'm pretty sure I've done it though.
Last edited by Badger's Mate on Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Pampy » Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:47 pm

I bought some very expensive pink onions a month or two ago but wasn't impressed at all.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby MagicMarmite » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:06 pm

I like them well enough, but I buy the plain brown ones, red ones and spring onions.
I can't say I find them hugely amazing.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby mark111757 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:07 pm

From Facebook, found it interesting and useful

Image

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Stokey Sue » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:36 pm

Oh, that’s handy Mark!

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Suffs » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:37 pm

Very useful Mark ... I’m continually shouting af TV chefs who use red onions for stews and casseroles etc ...WRONG! ... they just don’t soften down like a yellow/brown onion.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Stokey Sue » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:43 pm

Borettane onions

Discuss

Anyone got any experience? I’ve only had them pickled in balsamic vinegar, the Lidl ones are nice,but people seem to be getting them raw in veg boxes - do you do anything With them?

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Renee » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:11 am

Pampy wrote:I bought some very expensive pink onions a month or two ago but wasn't impressed at all.


I also bought those from Booths Pampy, but I can't remember the name now. They were from France.

I usually buy banana shallots instead of ordinary onions.

I've just checked. The pink skinned onions were Roscoff onions.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Pampy » Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:13 am

Yep - they were from Booths and yep - they were French!
And they were Roscoff!

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Suffs » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:53 am

Borettane onions ... apparently the same as Italian Cipollini ... great braised, roasted and in sauces .... lots of recipes online under Cipollini.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Earthmaiden » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:38 am

What are silverskin onions? Are they a special sort or just perhaps white ones picked young?

I really don't know a lot about onions, I dislike anything but the tiniest amount of raw onion in things - the green stems of spring onions give enough raw onion flavour for me. For most cooked dishes or relish I find ordinary brown onions work and for more delicate dishes or where whole onions are cooked, shallots.

I ask about silverskins because, although I don't much enjoy proper pickled onions ( too big and crunchy), I bought some teeny baby pickled silverskin onions at a farm shop recently and they're lovely.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby PatsyMFagan » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:44 am

Suffs wrote:Very useful Mark ... I’m continually shouting af TV chefs who use red onions for stews and casseroles etc ...WRONG! ... they just don’t soften down like a yellow/brown onion.


I never knew that about red onions, only that they are (apparently?) sweeter than the normal (brown?) onions, make my eyes stream and harder to peel :cry: :evil: ... but never knowingly seen white or yellow ones :? :o

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Suffs » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:49 am

Silverskins are really just a variety of onion g th hat can be used as spring onions or saved for pickling when the base has swollen. The variety that I know is ‘Paris’ and allotmenteers used to grow them for the village horticultural summer show ‘Basket of Salad veg’ class and then save some for pickling for the preserves classes in the Autumn show.

Red onions sweeter? It does depend on variety but they do tend to be a bit milder than brown/yellow ones (which are more or less the same ... I think they get called yellow onions in the US?).

I have a theory (but no evidence) that sometimes tv chefs give a list of what they’ll need for a programme and unless they specify brown onions the stylist/production assistant or whoever gets these things brings along red ones as they think they’re more visually interesting.

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Stokey Sue » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:54 am

A bit of Googling suggests that silverskin aka Pearl onions are a special variety called Paris that can be grown from seed - as Suffs says! I’ve grown White Lisbon as spring onions but they don’t form spherical bulbs

Nice picture of the raw onions on Sutton’s web site, and as a bonus there’s a picture of the boretane onions on the same page - nice little buttons

https://www.suttons.co.uk/Gardening/Veg ... 173608.htm

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Re: In Awe of Onions

Postby Earthmaiden » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:56 am

Ah! Thanks for the silverskin info Suffs. That makes sense!

edited to add thanks Sue as well. I like that kind of spring onion bulb added to stir fries and that sort of thing. The little pickled onions I've got are about half that size and not too crunchy. I add them to all kinds of things.

You may be right about the visual appeal of red onions, Suffs

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