How to Use Egyptian Onion
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Susan Neufeld
Posted on: June 25, 2000

I read your Q&A page on the internet about Egyptian Onions, but I need just a bit more info. I ordered this plant from you last year and it is growing very enthusiastically in spite of a move earlier this Spring. Initially, it formed the little ‘paper’ covered bulbs at the stem tips. As I was wondering when to pick those and how big they would get, they popped open to reveal a combination of very small bulblets anchored at the base of the ‘paper’ covering and little bulblets at the tips of new green shoots. My question is: which part do we eat? The anchored bulblets? The bulblets at the ends of the little shoots? The little shoots? All of the above?

All of the above.

The bulblets that form at the top of the plant are the part that is most commonly used. In a good season they can get as much as an inch (2cm) across. In some years they don’t get much bigger than a quarter inch (5cm) across. They can be used fresh or they can be pickled. They will store in a dry place for several months.

Part of the appeal of egyptian onion is the otherworldly look it can assume when the bulblets at the top themselves start to sprout and develop growth that culminates in another, smaller, bulblet. These young shoots and bulblets can be used in cooking.

The bulbs at the base of the plant and the leaves can be used also. The stalks that bear the bulblets at the top are probably too hard to use, but otherwise most parts can be used. Experiment with the leaves freshly-chopped in stir fries and with the bulblets either chopped or crushed in egg and meat dishes.

I was pleased with the order you sent last year ... a couple of the plants didn’t make it, but the rest are thriving and a wonderful addition.

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