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neptune25

Egyptian walking-onion sets

12 years ago

I recently ordered some Egyptian walking-onion sets. I had no experience with them, so I wasn't sure how big they would be. I paid $8 for 10 sets (not including shipping), and when they arrived, I couldn't believe how tiny they are! Actually, the merchant sent me 14 sets, but altogether they weigh only 0.1 ounce!! Can you believe that?

Did I get ripped off? Another vendor was selling 1 ounce of the sets for the same price, and I guess I should have gone with that, but I had no idea how small the sets from the first merchant would be. If they're that tiny, will they grow very well? Thanks for any help.

Comments (17)

  • 12 years ago

    Do you mean one ounce? Or do you really mean 1/10 of an ounce?

    Can you snap a picture of them?

    The walking onion topsets are pretty small, but I don't think that mine are that lightweight. In a few hours I'll go out to the hoophouse and gather a few of the topsets from my plants to weigh them and snap a picture.

    Are they plump? Do they show signs of being alive?

  • 12 years ago

    You were probably sent some little topsets, but as long as they are not dead you are in the money. You will not believe the productivity you will get from those suckers! My Egyptians are the first scallions of spring and the last of fall. In summer, we eat the biggest topsets like pearl onions. When the plants tire in late summer I pull them and the base often cures out a nice elongated shallot. Get those babies planted, and they should be up and growing in a couple of weeks.

  • 12 years ago

    They sound very small to me. I've been growing these for over 15 years, and when I propagate, or give some away, I use top-sets that are the size of cocktail or pearl onions. Likely your will be fine' and you will enjoy them for many years, but get them going soon, and use the largest top-set from each plant to enlarge and strengthen your harvest. They make GREAT pickled onions.

  • 12 years ago

    The people on these forums are incredibly generous, and I bet if you had asked here, or on the Allium Forum, someone would have been happy to send you some for nothing more than postage. I know I would have!! Next time you are looking for something, ask!

    Steve

  • 12 years ago

    Well then, I will ask. I am interested in growing walking onions. Is there somebody with some extra topsets I can talk to? Thank you! Gardeners are awesome people!

  • 12 years ago

    I could handle sending out topsets to a FEW people who send me a padded, appropriately-stamped, self-addressed envelope. Just a few though--I wasn't diligent about picking up the topsets of my walking onions, and many are now sprouting in place!

  • 12 years ago

    I have been waiting for a thread about these onions to start up. I also would be more than willing to send off some topsets if someone needs them. I also have a Q. When is the proper time to harvest these onions to eat.

  • 12 years ago

    I think planatus very succinctly covered how to harvest them. I've only ever used them like green onions or scallions--I use lots of them in soups or chopped into various salad dishes. But I'm going to try planatus' idea of pearl onions or trying to use the base like a shallot.

  • 12 years ago

    ralleia wrote:
    Do you mean one ounce? Or do you really mean 1/10 of an ounce?
    Can you snap a picture of them? Are they plump? Do they show signs of being alive?

    I really do mean 1/10 of an ounce--I weighed them several times on a digital scale. :) I can't snap a picture because I planted them tonight. Are they plump? Somewhat, for as tiny as they are. Most of them do have some tiny green tips, which seems to indicate they're alive.

    planatus wrote;
    You were probably sent some little topsets, but as long as they are not dead you are in the money.

    Glad to hear.

    bi11me wrote:
    They sound very small to me. I've been growing these for over 15 years, and when I propagate, or give some away, I use top-sets that are the size of cocktail or pearl onions.

    Most of them were smaller than a dime. OK, I'll try to remember to use the largest top-set from each one later--thanks.

    Steve wrote:
    The people on these forums are incredibly generous, and I bet if you had asked here, or on the Allium Forum, someone would have been happy to send you some for nothing more than postage. I know I would have!! Next time you are looking for something, ask!

    Never even thought of that. :) OK, thanks, Steve.

    Thanks, everyone, for all the helpful replies.

  • 12 years ago

    I've been interested in getting some of these for some time, but was waiting on a local place to get them in. Haven't received the newsletter yet, but would you mind sharing the name of the place that had the 1 oz. sets? I find myself constantly planting the bottoms of my store-bought scallions, and yet I keep having to buy scallions from the store! These walking onions are beyond intriguing to me.

  • 12 years ago

    Walking onions are NOT the first choice among chefs for most culinary purposes. The greens tend to be a little more coarse, both in texture and flavor, than traditional green onions, and the entire plant seems less sweet. For use as a scallion, the greens should be cut fairly small to minimize the "toughness." Yonger greens will be more tender and less hot. The small onions that form on top have the best flavor, with a red tint to the outer layers. I sell the bulbils, for pickling when young and sauteeing once the small green shoots have started to emerge. They aren't easy to peel. For pearl onions, they are simply boiled. We do pickled onions with garlic, hot pepper, and pickling salt in white vinegar. For cocktail onions we use cider vinegar, pickling salt, and some sugar. If you harvest the bulb, at the base of the plant, you will want to replant a few bulbils from the top, but left in the ground the bulb is essentially perennial. I find the bulb the least desirable part, but for a strong onion base flavor, with braised beef or a roast for instance, it will work.

  • 12 years ago

    Good to know, bi11me! I've read that their flavor is most similar to that of a white onion which suits me well for many purposes, though perhaps not in the same way as a scallion does. Even still, it seems like it'd be a great, fun way to have at least some type of oniony goodness at my disposal for a long time to come. Plus, they are, to me, quite the nifty garden oddity - onions that fall over and replant themselves if left to their own devices.

    If anyone has any they're willing to part with, I would be more than willing to Paypal you for shipping, etc., or send a suitable SASE. You can contact me via "My Page" next to my username. :D

  • 12 years ago

    I have had the Catawissa cultivar for many years. Agreed that the flavor is very strong and there is more prep work than seed grown onions. Agreed that egyptian top-setters are a wonder plant. Green onions available most of the year. incredible tolerance of soil conditions.

    I have thousands of these in mid summer. email me in july.

  • 12 years ago

    Do the onions and greens work well in making stock? Do they caramelize well?

  • 12 years ago

    spaghetina wrote:

    Would you mind sharing the name of the place that had the 1 oz. sets?

    Not at all. Here you go:

    Walking onions

  • 12 years ago

    Thanks bi11me, your explanation of these onions was more of what I was looking for.

  • 12 years ago

    tishtoshnm - the bulbs and greens would be fine for stock if you're looking for a pronounced oniony flavor profile - it's hearty stuff, so a good choie for winter stews, beef, or game, but perhaps a little overbearing for a delicate veg stock. The top-sets will caramelize nicely, but again, won't have the characteristic sweetness that most people associate with traditional onions... good color, but still some heat in the background.

    I've been happy with this plant since I first got it. They are hardy, unusual, very resistant to pests and diseases, and useful through all stages of the growing cycle. You would be unlikely to find them used by the more elegant cuisines of France or Japan, which I prefer, but for rustic oooking styles and bold flavors they are right at home. Maybe not Vichyssoise, but moose osso bucco? I'd be all over that.