Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August Allium Update With a Smoky Coda

I did eventually get around to lifting most of the onions. Here they are on a drying rack that I rigged up from a length of old fencing. I thought perhaps that I may have waited a bit too long, but they seem to be doing ok for now.

The best of the bunch were the Red Candy Apples. Not a single one of these bolted so these are definitely keepers. A few of the starts turned out to be Red Tropea torpedo onions, which is ok, those are good too and they didn't bolt either.

Red Candy Apple
The worst of the bunch were the Candy onions. I think there were only 2 of these that did not bolt. Scratch this variety off any future grow list.

The Superstar onions didn't live up to their name, most of them bolted as well. Here's what it can do when it doesn't bolt.

One of the new varieties that I started from seed wasn't the greatest performer either. Most of them produced splits. I left this bunch intact, most of the rest I pulled apart to cure. A number of these also bolted.

Tonda Musona onion(s)
I still haven't lifted the Rossa Lunga di Firenze onions, another torpedo type. I pushed the necks over to help the bulbs size up a bit more before I lift them. They need to come out soon. Beyond the RLF onions are the extra leek seedlings that I slipped into the space where I started all of the leek seedlings. I've hilled them up a bit to help blanch them before I clear out the space soon. I've got fall/winter brassicas sizing up in pots that will go into this space.

And over here are the Zebrune and French Gray shallots. The Gray shallots are wispy little wimps that I don't think will deserve space in the garden again. The Zebrune shallots are huge. I knocked their tops over as well to help them along with the curing process.

And here's the leek patch that I had intended to keep going into the winter. I'll probably be pulling most of these sooner rather than later because a lot of them have been bolting.

Now for the fun stuff! These scrappy looking things, bolters all, are the subject of an experiment today.

From the top: Superstar, Tonda Musona, Candy
They actually looked pretty good when I cleaned them up.

And sliced them into about 3/4-inch thick slices. Just a light sprinkle of salt and into the Big Green Egg for a couple of hours of exposure to apple and almond wood smoke. (Bad photo, the light was impossible)

Here they are ready to come out of the egg. I tried the same method that I used to smoke peppers last year. Now they are in the dehydrator making my laundry room smell, oddly enough, like barbecue sauce, the best barbecue sauce.

I got the idea for dried smoked peppers at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market in San Francisco. One of the vendors had a tiny packet of dried smoked peppers for a crazy expensive price which I could not spring for. The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw those fancy little packets was "I can do that!". I figure I'm going to end up with at least $75 worth of dried onions, from just 2 onions (not enough room for that little one on the grill). But I haven't tasted them yet, I sure hope they taste as good as they smell right now.

If the experiment is a succes I'll be smoking up a few more of the bolters since those will not keep for long.

I'll be back later to report on how the dehydrating onions turn out.


  1. Amazing onion harvest and what a neat idea to smoke the onions. I am just thinking of smoking some hot peppers next weekend and was going to check your process and Our Happy Acres. Envious of your big green egg...

  2. The smoked dried onions idea sounds wonderful, and presumably they keep for ages, so this may be a good way of preserving any excess. I haven't grown onions, but I'm coming round to the idea that I should try...

  3. Getting set to smoke tomatoes and sweet peppers... I'd never have thought of onions, but now I have to try!

  4. Smoked dried onions sound like a wonderful spice to use in the kitchen. I could just imagine chili made with it.

  5. Ooh, that does sound good! I'm already scouting my pepper plants with an eye to smoking them later on. And now I have to go look for smoked tomato recipes!

  6. Those smoked onions look beautiful - I hope they taste good too...looking forward to hearing what you think. I had the same experience with the Gray shallots. They produced small bulbs & I would often need to use a good number of them even for a small dish. Add to that their tough skins which made them more difficult to peel & I decided that they were just too fiddly & not worth the effort.

  7. My onions this year in southern coastal California were about half the size they were last year. Love your onion drying rack made from fencing. I'll bet it would work with garlics too. Clever idea, smoking onion slices before dehydrating them.

  8. I'm still puzzled by your bolting problem, I guess just a bad year. My Red Candy did well and the Candy onions did poorly, just like your experience. Wouldn't plant Candy again. Smoking onion slices is a great idea. We have a new Cabelas near us and I impulse bought some silicone mesh mats that fit my 30" smoker, perfect for drying vegetables, so that is on my list now.


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