Egyptian Walking Onions
The Egyptian walking onions have a unique self-propagation habit. It has bulbs at the top of the stalk that weight the stalk down to the point it bends over and touches the ground. When this happens the bulbs take root and start another onion in a step by step process almost like walking.
Egyptian Walking Onion (Allium ×proliferum), also called Tree Onions, Egyptian Tree Onions, Top Onions, Winter Onions, or Perennial Onions, is a perennial onion that comes back every year stronger than the previous year. It is hardy in zones 3-9, likes full sun, prefers rich, well-drained soil and dislikes soggy conditions or drought. The walking onion is the first onion to appear in spring, as its green shoots will start to come up above the snow before it thaws.
The bulbs at the top of the 2 to 3 foot stalks are called bulbils, topsets, or sets. The topsets are not usually produced the first year they are planted, but will be produced every year thereafter.
The greens, topsets, and bulbs are edible. They can be fried, cooked in soups, pickeled or used raw in salads. The greens can be harvested at any point in time, just be sure not to take the greens that have topsets or you will lose those valuable resources. The topsets can be harvested in late summer or early fall. The bulbs are best harvested in late summer and in the fall. Be sure to leave some bulbs for onions next year. The bulb is about the same size and shape as a shallot.
Plant the topsets about two inches deep. They can be planted any time that the soil is workable, but fall is the optimum time to plant them. Topsets can be harvested in late summer or early fall. Divide mother plant every few years.
Although rarely used specifically as a medicinal herb, the onion has a wide range of beneficial actions on the body and when eaten (especially raw) on a regular basis will promote the general health of the body. The bulb is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, lithontripic, stomachic and tonic. When used regularly in the diet it offsets tendencies towards angina, arteriosclerosis and heart attack. It is also useful in preventing oral infection and tooth decay. Baked onions can be used as a poultice to remove pus from sores. Fresh onion juice is a very useful first aid treatment for bee and wasp stings, bites, grazes or fungal skin complaints. When warmed the juice can be dropped into the ear to treat earache. It also aids the formation of scar tissue on wounds, thus speeding up the healing process, and has been used as a cosmetic to remove freckles. *
I looked around and there are not many nurseries that sell these. They do sell them on Amazon and Ebay, but they sell them at low quantities and they are expensive. I did find one company that sells them at higher quantities and just purchased 100 topsets for $40.00 plus $5.50 shipping and handling from egyptianwalkingonion.com. That’s $.40 per topset. I’m betting I can grow these and sell them for much cheaper than $.40 per topset, so I’ll have to add this one to the “future selling” category.
Creamed Onions Egyptian Walking Onions
- 3/4 pound Egyptian walking onions or pearl onions, peeled
- ²/³ cup heavy cream
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Dash of hot pepper sauce
- Grate of fresh nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
· Heat the oven to 350°F.
· Combine the onions, cream, garlic, and salt in a small baking dish. Dot the top with the butter and add a little hot sauce, nutmeg, and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until the onions are beginning to brown and are very tender.
To peel pearl onions, cut off a small bit of root end from each onion and drop the onions in boiling water. Let boil for 3 minutes, then submerge in cold water. The peels will slip off easily. If you like, add ½ cup blanched almonds to the onions as Helen Corbitt did.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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