I recently got a bit of chain letter nonsense that has put onions on my brain. Have you seen this one? The basic claim is that onions can be chopped up and set around the house to “soak up” flu virus. For the same germ soaking reason, you shouldn’t keep a partial onion for later consumption. (Not even in a ziplock in the fridge!! Poisonous!! Be afraid!) As Snopes quite reasonably points out, the flu is a virus spread by contact, so, unless you are contagious and making out with the onion (I can’t see anyone being that desperate, even after the SHTF…) the onion is not going to “soak up” anything.
That bit of foolishness aside, onions are actually great survival food.They are cheap to buy in bulk, and with proper storage, they’ll keep for quite awhile. They are versatile to cook with, I can’t even count the number of meals I know that call for an onion or two as a base ingredient. Almost every soup, stir fry, casserole and pasta dish I know uses onions. They’ve been around so long as a domesticated food source, almost every food culture uses them. Dated samples confirm their use as far back as 5000BC.
They are a reliable early producer in the garden. Even up here in my chilly zone 4, green onions are one of the first harvests from the garden. (Green onions are the same thing as scallions.) Onions are very cold tolerant and can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees F. Helpful garden tip – green onions are grown from the same sets/seeds as regular table (bulb) onions. The sets or seeds are planted closer together in the garden, this retards the bulbing. I plant my green onions at a distance of 1″ apart in row 2″ apart. It’s not too late to plant green onions, if you still have sets that aren’t dried up husks, set them in the garden now for some green onions this fall.
Onions are very adaptable and will grow in almost any soil from sandy loams to heavy clay. They do appreciate a bit of Nitrogen and weeding.
Multiple crops with different uses and storage options. Besides the early green onions, there is the slightly later crop of “summer onions” or stew onions as I call them. They are the onions with the small bulbs on them. Cut the tops off and toss them whole into soups and stews, they’ll soak up the broth and turn into little juicy balls of deliciousness. A favorite of my hubby. Lastly, is the bulb harvest of mature, large slicing onions. Very healthy for you, providing B vitamins, calcium, potassium and iron. They are also pest free. I’ve literally never had a problem with my onion crop.
Other bits of awesomeness include the fact that you can make a dye with onion skins. Any homeschoolers among our readers? Onions are GREAT for science projects involving cells, they have a large easy to identify cellular structure. The ancient Egyptians worshiped them,believing the spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. In the Middle Ages, onions were such an important food that people would pay their rent with onions.
Are you ready to pay your rent with onions? It could happen, you should brush up on your Allium cultivation, just to be on the safe side.
- Calamity Jane