Category Archives: Onions

Snow onions

A new video on my youtube channel, the wonderfully exclusive SNOW ONION from the China and the Himalaya https://youtu.be/5mOcQ4aUQVI
We’re back in the Onion Garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim, Norway on 10th May and the first Allium is in flower. It’s Allium humile, known as the snow onion (snøløk) and one of my favourites and one of the world’s most exclusive foods, known from the ethnobotanical literature to be wild collected both in Kashmir, where it has also been domesticated in kitchen gardens and sold in markets, and in the northernmost Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Before you ask, I have no idea where you can get hold of seed or plants – my plants are sterile (no seed) – an exceptionally rare edimental (the garden website is here https://www.ntnu.edu/museum/the-onion-garden)

MAC 69 ONION CHEESE

Thanks everyone for all the birthday greetings! I spent my 69th by visiting the Onion Garden Chicago that I look after at the Ringve Botanical Garden, worked for an hour and harvested leaves from 69 different Alliums as one does, surprised my daughter by meeting her off the bus from Oslo and then had a lovely evening with Mac 69 Onion Cheese with Hablitzia tamnoides washed down with a few glasses, my first birthday as a Norwegian citizen 🙂

Wietse’s onion (Allium pskemense x fistulosum) is already huge!
Beautiful Allium moly shoots!

One of the Allium victorialis group accessions

Grand opening of the Onion Garden

The long delayed (by COVID) opening of the Onion Garden Chicago took place at the Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim on Friday. Here we grow over 400 different Alliums including over 100 botanical species and some 60 old (with a history from 60-980 years; yes the oldest history goes back to 1040!) Norwegian onions.
To officially open the garden, Elise Moltzau Wanderås from the Norwegian Agricultural Authority (LDir) was given Felco garden shears to clip Allium pskemense flowering stems and our new sign was simultaneously revealed (received the day before)!
Thanks to all that donated onions to the collection in my project (2008-2016) funded by the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre and LDir, to Vibekke Vange and the staff at Ringve who gave me the chance and support to create this garden and make a dream come true, to volunteer Kim Wallace, daughter Hazel and Meg Anderson for help maintaining the garden! Thanks also to KVANN (kvann.no) for support for purchasing seed and bulbs for the garden and support for sending plant material from the garden to members each autumn!
Notice that we used an Alliophone (Allium microphone) under the event 🙂 (patented by Søren Holt of Danish Seed Savers some years ago!):
See over 550 pictures from the garden in my big album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156846106840860
Talking abour Allium pskemense with alliophone in hand!
A good crowd of some 50 had found their way to Ringve on a lovely warm evening

Meanwhile in the Onion Garden Chicago

I don’t often post here about my other two gardens, the community garden at Væres Venner and the Onion Garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim. 
The onion garden is nicely maturing and will be officially opened this summer on 26th August, 6 years since I started work creating a garden to house a national collection of old Norwegian perennial vegetable onions collected throughout the country, some 100 botanical species from around the world and many cultivars too!
Here’s a couple of videos showing the garden on 25th June 2023 close to peak flowering, although there will be flowering Alliums all the way from May to the first heavy frosts in October / November!
Tasty, beautiful and a great place to study pollinators! Can you smell it?
There are now over 500 pictures from the garden in this large Facebook album 

Habby Chicago Eggs

I was showing a journalist around the winter edible garden and cellar this morning and dug up some nodding (Chicago) onions (Allium cernuum) and picked a few Hablitzia shoots, so why not turn it into lunch! I sliced an oca (Oxalis tuberosa) in with the vegetables. Scambled Habby Chicago eggs is simple gourmet midwinter food from garden to table in no time!

Twisted-leaf garlic for lunch

I’d sent a few bulbs of twisted-leaf garlic (Allium obliquum)  to members of Norwegian Seed Savers’ (KVANN) guild for Alliums and had a few left overover, so I fried them up for lunch and ate them with cheese on toast. A delicious sweetish taste after heating in olive oil. The onions are also a good size! This was one of the 80 in my book Around the World in 80 plants! 



Persian Shallot harvest

One of my favourite perennial onions are persian shallots, Allium stipitatum and I’ve blogged about them several times in the past: 
https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=persian+shallot
This is one of the earliest onions to appear in the spring and they flower and die down in the course of June. July is the best time to harvest the bulbs (I’ve often harvested them too late when they’ve already started sprouting in autumn). I harvested one plant this week and the bulbs were in perfect condition. I was once again struck by the yield (although it is probably two years since I harvested this plant). I replanted 3 of the largest bulbs. I usually dry the bulbs as they do in Iran, but this time I ate some fresh. They are surprisingly mild tasting and I used them fried in an omelette. 
Below the pictures is a Norwegian article on the persian shallot which I wrote in 2021.

Please download this Norwegian article on persian shallots:

Download (PDF, 1.41MB)

Some odds and ends this week in Malvik

  1. The best of vegetables ready to harvest this week: blanched sea kale (Crambe maritima), blanched lovage (Levisticum officinale) and nettles (Urtica dioica)! Delicious.
  2. IT’S DANDINOODLE TIME HERE IN MALVIK: one of the year’s many highlights!
    This is by far my earliest dandelion to come into growth in March. It was sent to me as seed from the Alps in Switzerland, following a talk I gave there and was supposed to be similar to the moss-leaved dandelion but the leaves weren’t similar at all. These are from one plant! I’m trying to fine out which species it is…

    3. Allium paradoxum var paradoxum isn’t a plant you’ll want in your garden as this form has bulbils which can spread invasively. I was sent this 20 years ago from a garden in Sweden as Allium triquetrum but it wasn’t that one. I never considered either of these invasive Alliums as hardy enough to be a problem here and this one has slowly colonised the space around my oldest Hablitzia tamnoides. With warmer winters I have started more aggressive harvesting of this one.I now harvest both the young leaves, the tops, in particular the bulbils to keep it under control. They are delicious both raw in mixed salads and cooked.

Snow onions


Various Allium species are the hardiest of edible plants either staying green all winter (e.g., Allium cernuum and Allium carinatum) or sprouting very early and able to withstand some frost. With a minimum forecast of -6C tomorrow after a very mild March, it will be interesting to see whether any of these early shooters are damaged. Here are a selection of pictures of Alliums and other early spring shoots in this weeks snow.

Harvesting midwinter nodding onions

Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk) is hardy more or less anywhere people live and stays green all winter here. It’s been mild with snow coming and going for several weeks and there’s no frost in the soil. I dug up a clump yesterday to use in the kitchen and replanted a few. Some were used in a salad and others will be used in any dishes with onion in the next couple of weeks (Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean pasta with green sauce….anything really).