Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What to do with sprouted onions?


Everyone has run into this situation at some point. You buy a bag of onions at the grocery store. Down the road they sprout before you can use them all. You see those greenish spikes and think, "Now what? Can I still cook with it? Could I plant it and get baby onions?"

Once an onion (or garlic bulb) sprouts it's quality for eating slides downhill quickly. You could use it, but it's not going to be as tasty since it's putting it's energy (sugar) to work growing the leaves. Besides composting it, there are a couple other options.

One — set it in a window in a jar with a little water, and let the leaves grow. When they're a nice size chop them off and use them like green onion.

Two —Plant it. It won't grow baby onions (it's not a potato). But it will flower. You can treat that as an ornamental; onion flowers are rather pretty, though not as showy as an ornamental. Or you can let it go to seed and give a shot at growing onions from seed next year.

One additional thought about this... If you're going to go through the trouble of growing onions from seed, I wouldn't use the boring old grocery store variety. I'd like to try a cool hybid or heirloom variety. But I don't have a lot of room for onions. (They don't produce much for the space it takes to grow them.)

So I'm going to plant my sprouted onions and see how it works out.

33 comments:

  1. I can't see something sprouting green without sticking it in dirt. Potatoes, garlic, ginger... All go in a pot. I get a little bit out of them, but indoors is tough going for root crops.

    Can't wait to see the flowers you'll get!

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  2. Good ideas! I think I'll allow my sprouted onion to grow a bit more and then chop up the leaves...

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  3. I love these ideas. I wonder if you could plant the GARLIC cloves that sprout in the pantry and will they grow into a bulb since that is how I grow my garlice anyway. The clove just isn't sprouted when I put it in the ground. Time for an experiment!

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  4. Garden Goddess - Oh, yes you can! I haven't grown full garlic bulbs, but last year (http://the6x8garden.blogspot.com/2009/10/green-garlic.html) I grew garlic to use the green leaves. They're super super tasty, and you can't get them in the grocery store.

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  5. now i know- i have a sprouted onion in a container on the porch right now, just stuck it in there wondering what would happen. flowers - now i know. thanks for the info!

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  6. To G.G. After reading up a bit online, I planted a handful of single garlic cloves about 15cm apart, with the clove-top about 1cm below ground. They quickly come up as long green leaves which are delicious chopped in salads (a bit like chives) or cooked in any recipe that uses normal garlic. The flavour is a bit milder than garlic cloves, which for me is an advantage.

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  7. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that this post answered a question I had, and I linked to you in a blog post on my site. Thanks!

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  8. Thanks for this! Very helpful :)

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  9. Stick it all in the food processor and add to soup.

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  10. Good ideas, I'll try the chopped leaves idea as I have this sprouted onion.

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  12. The onion flower looks very nice. Does it smell like onion? Brisbane Recruitment Agency

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they do. I lived near an onion field.

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  13. Sorry, I don't see any place to send private email. My comment is about this error: "Today, my garden helps feed my husband and I..."

    My garden helps feed me, it doesn't feed I. It helps feed him. It helps feed my husband and me - i.e., feeds both of us, not both of we. Feeds him and me. Not he or I. Any more than it would feed I, or feed he.

    Listen to your friends, or people in the news and on television, and you'll be shocked at how common this mistake is among seemingly educated people, including English majors. It's the same error as saying, "Just between you and I..." When I was growing up, no one could pass seventh grade without being able to diagram a sentence, and to be able to do that, you'd know that those sentences are ungrammatical.

    Otherwise, beautiful site. Congratulations on that.

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    Replies
    1. Another common mistake is writing in incomplete sentences, as well as being off topic. Welcome to a discussion about gardening :)

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    2. I originally read this reply as some sort of strange poem before realizing it was a grammar correction.

      "My garden helps feed me, it doesn't feed I.
      It helps feed him.
      It helps feed my husband and me - i.e.,
      Feeds both of us, not both of we.
      Feeds him and me.
      Not he or I.
      Any more than it would feed I, or feed he."

      I kind of like it haha...

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  14. @Madolin. I just looked at your website. I would expect a little less judgment from a so-called holistic healer.

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  15. Thank You for the info, I will not be planting the sprouted onions but now know it is OK to chop and eat them, including the leaves or stalks. Bot sure what they are called but the green part is what I am talking about to also chop and eat. We rarely eat them all before they sprout and I used to toss them out, not any more! Thanks so much. And personally believe we are all not perfect and if someone makes a mistake in grammar, oh well, it happens :) Don't sweat the small stuff.
    I like the site and will come here again when I need to know something about cooking! The pics of the onions are fantastic!
    Buffy

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  16. hi guys i am new to this blog pls can u help me with my balcony garden

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  17. The first step in raising a balcony garden is getting a blacony. Once you do that, you're half way there.

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  18. Anonymous is a smarty pants.

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  19. Well this is good to know. I planted a sprouted onion and the greenery has increased in size, but I guess there will be no onions.

    I believe that the grammar lesson, while perhaps not welcome, was accurate. I had a college professor (NT Greek) who would tell us that "he is no theologian who is not first a grammarian".

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  20. Every year I have chives that grow in a huge container planter. But I realllllly want those BIG chives that are much larger in diameter. How do you get those? Just wait for your skinny chives to mature? Or is it a different plant altogether.

    Any responses to I would be much appreciated by I.

    Thank he's and she's!

    KO

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    1. Big chives might be leeks. Or even ramps. Both are delicious. Ramps are tough to find...short growing season but excellent oniony garlicky taste.

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    2. Chives and green onions are completely different plants. Related, but different species. If you want larger green onions like you buy at the store, you can plant them from seed, or you can save the bottom of a store bought green onion, as long as the roots are somewhat intact, plant it, and the tops will grow back. Then just give it a haircut when you want green onions.

      Chives are a perennial herb that doesn't form bulbs.

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  21. I put my sprouted store onion in water and the dried roots became ALIVE. I soon will plant into a container with soil. P.S. My celery that I did the same with is growing outside into a lovely celery plant. Thanks Karis!

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  22. I put some onion bulbs in a cup of water to use snd left it on the counter, however for got all about it and now green stems are growing out of them . Should I throw it away?

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  23. What if the onions are sprouting small roots from the base of the onion?

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  24. I had a good experience growing sprouted onions this year. In the grocery store, they were large yellow ones labeled "sweet onions". I cut away all the onion matter around the sprouted core to cook with, leaving the root area intact. I planted these cores in a box on my patio. All told, I think I planted six onion cores back around Valentine's Day.

    This spring, they grew up beautifully into mature onions. A few tried to bolt (sending up flower stalks), but I cut the stalk near the base, letting only three go to seed.

    I found that each core reproduced approximately the same weight of bulb as the original onion. However, each core contained 2-4 "sets" or mini plants that wanted to produce double, triple, or quadruple onions! They kind of competed with each other, so the resulting bulbs weren't very big--golfball sized to about the size of a lemon.

    Next year I will cut my onion cores deeper and separate out all the sets. All told, I got about 20 small onions plus a bag of seeds and lovely flowers that attracted pollinators to my garden! :)

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  25. When an onion bolts does it then flower and the flowers become seeds?

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  26. Thanks Bro. I will plant them.

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  27. No, when an onion bolts, it runs away and you never see it again!

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