Onions, anyone?

This past weekend was onion harvesting time here at BeerCat Brewing Farm (I think that should be our new name – or maybe just BeerCat Farm – given the amount of time we spend growing things versus brewing things).

And in true DreadBrewer fashion, we planted, oh, a million onions when a fraction of that many would suffice. Well, more like 200-225 onions rather than a million, but honestly, how many onions can a family of 4 go through in a reasonable amount of time? Especially when none of us particularly cares for raw onions?

If you grow your own onions, you will know your onions are ready for harvest when the tops start to flop over:

This is just one of our two beds of onions. We planted a lot of onions. 

This is just one of our two beds of onions. We planted a lot of onions.

Prior to harvesting, we consulted our many books on vegetable gardening and got many different answers regarding how to best harvest onions. Trim the roots, don’t trim the roots, brush the dirt off, don’t brush the dirt, do it in the morning, do it later in the day…. you get the idea. Ultimately, we decided we would gently brush off a little dirt, trim the roots, and do it whenever we had a chance (read: the girls were napping or actually entertaining themselves without whining).

This is the point at which I started to become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of onions.

This is the point at which I started to become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of onions.

After you harvest your onions and brush them (or don’t) and trim the roots (or don’t), they need to be put in a reasonably dry, reasonably cool place with good airflow to cure for storage. Some of the books recommended doing so out in the garden, but as one book actually written for the hot summers in the South pointed out, those recommendations are for onions grown in far more temperate and forgiving climes than ours. So we repurposed our new seed starting rack as our new onion drying rack.

Yep, That's a lot of onions.

Yep, That’s a lot of onions.

We then set up an assortment of fans to try and keep air flowing across the onions. The garage is less than ideal in terms of humidity and temperature, so we’re hoping that a constant stream of air will remedy that.

Just one of four rows

Just one of four shelves of onions

And we actually still have 20 or so onions out in the garden that we haven’t harvested yet. Their tops hadn’t fallen over yet, so we left them in situ and figure we’ll harvest them over the next few days to use fresh and to give away to neighbors and coworkers.

I’ve started perusing online recipes to try and find some new things to do with our bounty. We cook a lot of things with onions in them but have very few recipes that either showcase onions or use them in an appreciable quantity. I’m sure I’ll give onion soup a go soon, as well as trying my hand at homemade baked onion rings. However, if any of you has a killer recipe with onions – lots and lots of onions – please share. Otherwise we may have to ding-dong-ditch with onions instead of zucchini this year.

My main concern now, actually, isn’t even using up all of these onions. It’s figuring out where to put the 150 heads of garlic we need to harvest and dry in the next week or so. I don’t suppose any of you has a spare garage and a couple of box fans you’re not using, do you?

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