UPDATED! – Last of the Onions on Menu Monday

April 16, 2013 at 10:29 am


There was time we had all these onions. Now, we have almost none.



I never include onions on my Chicago hot dog. About the only time I like raw onions is at the height of summer, when soft salad onions fill the CSA box. The rest of the year, I pretty much cannot stand the bite of onion. Still, I need them.

Chopping onions for a hot dog is not something we have to do in the Local Family. Sauteing sliced onions to give depth to spinach for vegan tacos or sweating onions as base for lentil soup, well those were two vital onions needs we’ve recently had in the Bungalow. Is there any ingredient more vital to good cooking than onions? Is there any way to call yourself a locavore if you don’t have a good supply of local onions to use year-round.

We did not struggle this year having onions. Our Tomato Mountain* CSA provided us many, many onions. In the summer, it was milder white onions and into the fall and winter seasons of the CSA, we got a big stash of yellow and red onions. The CSA met our onion needs as long as we managed what we received.

I’m ashamed to say, but we did not do the greatest job managing our onion store. We should not be running out now. We would have more onions but for losing them to conditions. We allowed ourselves to get lulled by the early mild winter temperatures. We left a lot of our onions in our mudroom, an un-heated room off our kitchen that collects a huge amount of stuff with no other home. Now, while the room is un-heated, it does get a good amount of residual warmth from the house. It has to get pretty cold for things in that room to freeze. It did. Finally. And we had not bothered to move the onions that we were keeping there. Once the onions froze and thawed, they became soft and watery and really, really smelly. Some of the onions that froze, we salvaged, a lot went into compost. We should have been more careful.  If we put more onions in our root cellar in the sky or even the basement, where many onions did just fine, we would have more onions today.

I mentioned last week, that we’ve been clearing out the cellars in advance of Spring foods and in defense of root cellar warm-up.  Meals last week included the mustard-glazed turnips pictured and the spinach tacos mentioned above.  Carrots and onions went into lentil soup also mentioned above.  Despite our efforts, and onions noted, we still have a pretty good inventory of usable local food for the week:

  • carrots
  • turnips
  • radishes – 2 kinds
  • spinach
  • onions -very few left
  • garlic
  • Leeks – found some we did not know we had!
  • apples
  • beets
  • potatoes
It’s good enough that we have food left in the cellars (so to speak).  I have not mentioned that our first Spring CSA comes this week.  I hear we will get a ton of carrots, which as I’ve noted before, is a tremendous luxury.  Better, I hear there will be onions.


It pays to have friends.


This is our latest CSA box.  Our first installment of Tomato Mountain’s  Spring CSA.  It is an assortment different from other Tomato Mountain Spring CSA boxes.
As you see, as you read, the Local Family pined for more onions, and our friends at Tomato Mountain heard our plea.  They swapped out the purple top turnips that should have been in our box for some yellow storage onions.  In the scheme of things, we’d rather onions.
Also in the box, carrots, spinach and tender young “red rain” mustard greens.  The last in this stage of maturity will be fine for salad.
*My wife works for Tomato Mountain

One Comment

  1. Rob, I feel you on the raw onion aversion. I only use grilled onions–and ketchup, sin of sins–on my Chicago hot dogs. Have you ever tried soaking the onions, thinly sliced, in ice water for a half hour or so? This is the only way I’ve found raw onions to be edible on burgers (I still order grilled onions if I’m not cooking myself), but it actually made me realize why people like them!

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