The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Potato onion taste and storage

Stir fry"Sooooooo, I've read all of your posts on the potato onions, and let's say you've won me over.  It looks like I'm getting these this year.  Have you finally cooked one?  How does it taste?  Oniony?  Garlicy?"
--- C Scott Henningsen C

I appreciated the reminder since I'd meant to taste a potato onion, then got caught up in the summer gardening and preservation marathon and forgot all about it.  Before committing several beds to growing out all of this year's onions, it was definitely worth cutting a few open to see how they taste.

I'll give you the bad news first --- many of the big potato onions were starting to rot inside only two months after harvest!  Although curing and storage could be the issue, I treated the potato onions the same way I did my garlic and haven't seen any rot issues there, so I'm afraid big potato onions just might not be good keepers.

Potato onion cross section

Rotting potato onionI discovered the root of the problem when I cut the bulbs open.  The big potato onions were really multiple smaller bulbs mashed together rather than one solid circle, and the rot did seem to concentrate between the small bulbs.  (This is also the reason why planting a big potato onion results in several smaller onions the next year, while if you plant a small onion, you get one big onion back.)

I washed and cut off the troubled spots and cooked the onions up in a lightly seasoned stir fry so I could really sample the flavor.  (No, I don't eat bulb onions raw.)  Here's the good news --- they were oniony and delicious!  If anything, I think the potato onions were a little Cooked potato onionsweeter than the ones I generally grow from seed.  We definitely won't have a hard time cooking with potato onions.

I'm curious to hear from readers who have grown potato onions.  Do you have to eat the big bulbs right away to keep them from rotting?  Do you cure and store them differently from other onions and garlic?  I definitely want to keep growing potato onions for flavor and ease of cultivation, but don't mind tweaking my system a bit if necessary.

Our chicken waterer also works well for guineas, quail, and other poultry.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Wow, I love learning new things. I have never heard of a potato-onion. Where did you get your starts?
Comment by Shannon Sun Aug 12 10:43:45 2012
Shannon --- We got this round of potato onions from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
Comment by anna Sun Aug 12 11:47:21 2012
I lose a certain percentage, but in general I have always been impressed with the keeping ability of potato onions. I usually lose a certain percentage early, and then a few drop off here and there over the winter. I had some this year which were stored in unideal conditions all winter and then sat in a hot building all summer long and were still plantable in late August. This year I'm having rot trouble with all my onions, including the potato onions. I am inclined to let them cure more in the field before harvest. I got a little antsy this year and probably pulled them a little early. Yes, many of the bulbs will be composed of multiple bulbs under the skin and those are more prone to decay as the skin between the bulbs cures. I have a lot of information on potato onions on my blog, including a review of Kelly Winterton's new larger potato onions (which I've yet to eat actually).
Comment by Steven Edholm Wed Nov 14 12:14:23 2012

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.