Friday 2 November 2012

All the way from Walla Walla - sweet onions

I was intrigued to see Nicky's Seeds offering Walla Walla sweets seeds earlier this year. Walla Walla sweets are a type of onion grown for their high sugar content and sweet taste. I posted on this blog about these and other sweet onions, such as the Oakley onion, grown here in Essex.

That post was in March, so the Walla Walla sweet onion seedlings were just germinating. I planted them out at the allotment in a raised bed in late April, and happily they did very well. The bulbs swelled up just at the height of summer, if you can say that last summer had a height, and I lifted them in August. They did rather better, in fact, than the 'ordinary' Sturon onions and Red Barons, both of which were disappointingly small.

So I'm looking forward to growing Walla Walla sweets again, although I believe the Walla Walla name  is subject to the north American equivalent of appellation controllee and so once the seeds are sown here they should perhaps now be called North London sweets. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Once the onions reach the kitchen - and they should be eaten fresh: not only do they have a higher sugar content than other onions, but also a higher water content which makes them less suitable for keeping in store - the sweetness means they can be eaten raw without making you cry. Indeed these are excellent for anyone who is prone to tears when slicing or chopping onions as the side effects are noticeably less severe. Thinly sliced Walla Walla sweets perk up salads beautifully. They added a lovely mellow note to Spanish omelette, made lovely syrupy onion marmalade - also fantastic added to a reduced sugar apple sauce for a relish-style accompaniment to pork.

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