Cthuloid Onions

A couple days ago, I tweeted a photo and a comment about having a cute onion in the house.

Our red onions have been around for a bit, but I’m not sure how long. So when I discovered one had sprouted, it wasn’t a huge surprise. The shape of the sprouts, though, reminded me of tentacles, and so I had to share.

The problem, though, came up the next day when I discovered another onion sprouting. This one less cutely, and more effectively. Also, for some reason, the onion itself is smaller. Some of our garlic is sprouting too, but I’m learning how to cut around that.

Garlic sprouting!

What I’m wondering, though, and what makes this an ingredient (and gardening) question, is what my readers think I should DO with these sprouters, especially the onions.

First, there’s simply the question of what to do with the greens. I suppose I could eat them, but my lack of familiarity with them has me hesitating. When there’s just a little green in my garlic, I eat that, but I’ve heard it gets bitter when you cook it. I’ve never noticed, but I’ve also never cooked full-on sprouted garlic. Are onions the same? Should I cook around the green? The garlic sprout is pretty easy to work around, but how easy is the onion sprout? Should I cook the greens of one or all?

Or, maybe I should just plant these suckers and see what happens. But in what? How? I don’t know anything about growing onions, as I’ve never been inclined to do so. Same with garlic. If I managed to grow anything, how do I harvest them? Don’t they have to be “treated” somehow, for storing?

Speaking of storage, is there a trick to storing onions and garlic that prevents sprouting? I used to store all my onions in the fridge, to reduce pungency when I cut into them. I have so many onions from the CSA that fridge storage isn’t an option, and these onions are so pungent that the reduction in pungency is insufficient anyway.

Onion sprouts!

It’s a fascinating set of questions, and a set I’m not totally sure about. It seems to me this is knowledge someone I’m related to, back in my ancestry, knew the answers to some or all of these questions, but that knowledge is lost to me now. That said, I’ve never had an onion from any major grocery store (including organic ones from Whole Foods) sprout on me1, so maybe they do something to prevent sprouting, and maybe that knowledge stopped being necessary.

I know those who would read this post and get up in arms about how important this knowledge is, and how we need to remedy the situation immediately, and on a wide scale. Right now, I wish I knew, but I’m not feeling quite so obsessed with spreading this knowledge on a wide scale. Except maybe the storage one, since that might be useful to everyone and help reduce onion waste. For right now, what I’d like, is suggestions on what to do with my currently sprouting Allium sp. and advice on how to avoid this in the future.

Or photos of your cthuloid onions. That’d be great too!

fn1. That said, when helping my parents clear out my now deceased great-grandmother’s home, we found an onion in the fridge with a single, twisted, sprouted stalk that had to be at least a couple feet long. We took pictures, as the damn thing was trying to take over the fridge. I wish I knew where those photos ended up.

2 thoughts on “Cthuloid Onions

  1. I’m assuming the onions came out to the light of day for taking photos; otherwise, I expect that if they’re in a bowl on the counter full time that sunlight contributes to this sort of sprouting. We store our onions, potatoes and garlic all in a basket on the bottom shelf of our pantry.

    Anyway, YES, they can be planted. Lifehacker, I think, pointed me to this Instructable on the subject, which uses onions even pre-sprouting: http://www.instructables.com/id/Grow-Onions-from-Discarded-Onion-Bottoms/

    In trying to locate that how-to again, I came across a lot of other blog posts suggesting you can’t grow onions from sprouted onions, only seeds. & then this woman who didn’t know she was doing the impossible (and has specific instructions for already sprouted onions): http://www.anktangle.com/2011/03/growing-sprouted-onions.html

    I did this recently with green onion ends and then proceeded to completely forget about them. A couple weeks ago, as I got out of the car, I noticed a row of 4 tall green things in the flower bed by our carport. I was confused by the rigidity of those rows, as we get a lot of volunteers from nearby and neighborhood plants and, when I investigated, it turns out I had grown scallions without even thinking about it 🙂 I plan on repeating this again later in the year, when the ground is not frozen and the plants won’t be threatened by snow and frost; seems likely that I can just have a revolving door of green onions by continually sticking the root ends back in the dirt.

    • I love that second link. I’m so planting these onions. Don’t tell Bill. He’s going to groan at the thought of moving yet more plants. 😉

      Good job on the scallions! I didn’t know you’d done that. How very cool.

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