Onion Tops

frogvalley
frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭
edited June 2021 in Vegetables

I just saw the recent posting about Garlic Scapes and I just couldn't wait any longer to bring attention to their cousins - Onion Tops and ask about these marvelous munchy treats.

First - What are they really? They seem to have an identity crisis. Online they are called by many names: tops, bulbs, scapes, flowers, flower heads, seed heads, etc. Can I finally achieve my goal of making up a new word that will be entered into the dictionary by naming these "things?"

Second - Are they toxic or not? Cows and other animals can develop a blood disease from eating too many onions - wild or otherwise. At least one site says all parts are toxic except the bulb. Can WE eat them? Do I have to give up the onion in my onion soup (of which I've already had to ditch the bread because of gluten and the cheese because of milk)? At least I can still add the brandy. :) :) :)

Third - Can you freeze the onion head/scape/seed head/thingy? That would be so easy!

Fourth - Anybody else take advantage of these magnificent treats and how? I love eating them so much more than a regular onion. I pull off the flowery bits and sprinkle them over salads & soups, into mashed whatever, throughout biscuit batters and just snack on a few. They don't have an overly strong pungent taste, last longer than an onion bulb (for me) and don't require crying during the cooking process. Even if you can't grow big onions, these tops rise to the occasion.

Fifth - Onion Top Festival anyone? If ramps, chilis, strawberries, paw paws and garlic can have their own sacred community gatherings, why not pay homage to the rising star - The Onion Top?

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Comments

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    As so many other articles @RustBeltCowgirl , this one only talks about eating the greens, not the flowering tops. I've never found anyone else who will admit to eating them much less garnering eating, preserving, cooking or harvesting information. Alas and alack, the mission continues.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @frogvalley I do eat onion tops (I like the name). Especially the chive tops. I add them to salad, use for decorating salad, soups. I am sure they are edible and not poisonous at least for people. Now I have a competitor in my garden - my bees. They love collecting nectar from the onion tops, thus I have to share. Well... I will have the honey

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    I don't grow regular onions. But I grow multipliers and shallots and of course, chives. I have no hesitation eating any of the flower heads. And I eat the flowers on our wild nodding onion species. I just made a delicious and gorgeously coloured chive blossom vinegar. I used white wine vinegar and it became the most lovely shade of magenta. If I can gather enough wild onion flowers this year I am going to try a flower vinegar to compare with the chive vinegar.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes @RustBeltCowgirl . It says you can freeze or dehydrate them. Good to know. I'm going to go out and harvest a bunch of them to freeze. Everyone I have given them to loves them. I may try @torey 's flower vinegar. Thanks for covering the nodding onion information as we have some of them and I was wondering about them, too.

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @frogvalley I saw those at the market also and was wondering what they were. 😊

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I haven't tried the flowering heads, but we eat green onion stalks in quantity, from whatever type of onion is available. We use them in all sorts of dishes.

    Some plants have tiny quantities of toxins in them, but not enough to affect humans at normal usage levels.

    For example, buckwheat leaves can be toxic in huge quantities, but the only people who notice are those on "juicer" diets where they extract juice from far more buckwheat leaves than a normal diet could ever include.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wonderful information. And to think I let all my chive blossoms go to waste last year because I never thought to eat that part.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey How did you make the chive blossom vinegar? Just add the blossoms to the wine vinegar? It's lovely!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @frogvalley I filled a pint jar with chive blossoms; mostly open but a few unopened buds as well. Packed but not stuffed. Then I topped the jar up with white wine vinegar. Let it sit for about 2 weeks, although the colour starts to develop long before that. Strain and add your choice of herbs and a good quality oil. You could use this in any recipe with a savoury vinegar component; BBQ sauces, dipping sauces, pulled pork, mustards, etc.

    I used white wine vinegar to be able to see the beautiful colour but you could use ACV or any vinegar of your choice. I think a red wine vinegar will overpower the chive flavour but I've never tried it. It might be worth an experiment. I'm also going to try a white balsamic next time.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @RustBeltCowgirl Some good suggestions in the post you found. Rice wine vinegar is another good one that allows for the flavour and colour to come out. I'm not a big fan of the perfume of some of the floral vinegars. I prefer the ones with a savoury flavour instead of sweet.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @torey what a colour!

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    torey This looks wonderful. I currently have a bunch of chives in blossom right now. Might have to try this on my weekend. Thanks for sharing. Then just have to figure out what to make with the resulting vinegar.

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