21 hours ago
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
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.