Wednesday, March 10th: The last of the storage onions gets eaten!
I knew last year that our onions would run out. It was a bummer year for them for a variety of reasons. I have been terribly stingy with them as a result…and no, our food hasn’t been overly bland, it’s simply been very varied.
And no, I didn’t run to the store to buy any replacements. A girl needs her principles.
At the ready on the butcher block: the weeny bulbil garlic (never expected it to grow big, and I was right) and the small yellow shallots. They’re pictured with butter and drying thyme, which likewise are need-at-hand staples.
Instead, indeed, I’ve changed up. It was after the very first year of trying to produce everything we eat that I realized the gaps in my planning of the allium family. And storage onions can be tough to grow from seed, harder than any of their cousins in my experience; it was a lesson learned. I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, try to grow and store 100 pounds of storage onions, it’s both a waste of garden space and we’ll never eat them all before they sprout. I’ve learned, then, not to rely on them: shallots, scallions, garlic and leeks have instead been featured. Egyptian walking onions with their weird topsets and potato onions with their tiny why-bother bottomsets (I just made that up: basically, they grow off the mother onion) and leek pearls and chives and on and on…not, maybe, as handy as walking to the basement and grabbing a storage onion, but not so difficult to eat, either.
I take solace, too, in the fact that not every food culture relies on storage onions. Can you imagine big chunks of raw onion in your miso soup, for example? Yes, luckily, the greens of onions are readily edible.
Where would we be without the whole family? But, well, they do have a downside. I quote Swift:
This is every cook’s opinion
No savory dish without an onion,
But lest your kissing should be spoiled
Your onions must be fully boiled.