Growing Egyptian Onions

Growing Egyptian Onions
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Egyptian onions are a very cold hardy, perennial onion that is unique and easy to grow. It's also known as tree onion, top onion, winter onion, or walking onions.  This onion is not only edible, it's also ornamental!. At the top of the plant little "bulbs" form that can be used fresh, or they can be stored, much like garlic. Kids will love it for the quirky growth of the bulbs, and it's easy for them to help harvest and plant.
Egyptian onions are hardy to Zone 3, and can be planted in the fall. They are called "walking" onions because of the unique way the bulbs clusters bend down from the weight of the bulbs as they grow, eventually touching the ground, and taking root. You can divide these clusters and plant as you would other onion sets in the autumn. They do have a rather strong taste, so you won't need many! You can also use the green stalks, which are edible, much like green onions or chives. If you allow the new bulbs to fall over and root, these will sprout for you to use. They are best before the bulbs start to form on the new stalk because they do become tough at that point. There will be enough to use for the stalks, the bulbs and some for planting.

In the early spring you'll be able to dig some of the onions up to use as bunching or green onions. 

Plant the small bulbs in soil that is well dug and amended with organic matter such as peat and compost. As mentioned, they are very hardy so should do well even in very cold climates.

The following recipe is another way to use the bulbs:

Pickled Egyptian Onions
Sunset Magazine 1993


1 cup Egyptian onion bulblets (about 1/2 in. wide)
2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
(or 1/2 cup rice vinegar plus 3 tbsp. sugar, and salt to taste)

Separate bulblets, trim ends, peel, rinse, and drain. In a 1 to 2 quart pan, combine bulblets and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil, uncovered, for 1 minute. Pour into a wide- mouthed jar; cover. Cool, and chill at least 1 day or up to 1 month. Makes 1 cup.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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