And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Onions. The 5th Food Group

I love onions. I love garlic, too, but onions are my first love. I will eat them raw, fried, baked, deep fried with delicious beer batter on them.

Onions go with everything (well, with the exception of the pb&j). I have had wonderful lunches made with nothing more than a thick slice of bread, a hunk of cheese, and a slice of onion. I like 'em in my taters, I like 'em in my beans. I eat onions with my brussel sprouts (try it, it's great!), and on cabbage. I fry 'em up and put 'em on steak, I slice 'em raw and stick 'em on my burgers. Onions are fabulous!

Every year, we fill at least one 8x10 raised bed with onions. We don't have great success, either because I don't water enough, or the season is too short, or we buy the wrong kind of sets, or... well, I dunno. I just know we rarely get the big, tasty onions of my dreams. Every year I swear I am going to buy some onion seeds and try them that way, and every year I forget, or don't have the $$ in the gardening fund, or... something.

Great successes or not, I do love growing my own onions. Even when the harvest is just a bunch of bitty little onions good only for peeling and throwing in the crock pot with a roast, I get endless enjoyment out of weeding the onion beds. As my hands brush against the tops, they release that heavenly mild onion scent, and my hands smell like onions for the rest of the day. I like the way the tops are so tall and proud. I like the firm feeling of them against my skin. I love the harvest, when gardening turns into a treasure hunt. I love the fun of digging my hands through the dirt, sifting it to find the onion. I love the anticipation of guessing if each onion will be large or small, if it will smell strongly or be sweet.

I love the way the house smells after onion harvest. I love that I can walk in the front door and know that there is a bucket or bag of onions sitting next to the counter in the kitchen that I grew myself. I love the thought of little mesh bags of onions (or, even better, braided chains of onions!) hanging from the ceiling in my kitchen. It hasn't happened yet, as they seem to prefer paper bags in the back room, but the fantasy is probably more fun, anyway.

I think this year I am going to transplant some of my dad's wild onions. They are tiny, but indestructible, and I never have the high expectations for them that I seem to have for store bought sets. I like it that the wild onions are tiny, and I love that when you walk by they smell so wonderful.

Someday, I hope that my little in town lot will be a "tame-wild" world of edibles. I imagine walking through my yard, and feeling as if I had walked into an enchanted forest of raspberries, blueberries, plum and apple trees all mixed together with beautiful flowers and lush foliage. I imagine wandering the yard and picking flowers to decorate the table at the same time I harvest fruits and veggies to serve on it.

Well, it's a nice fantasy, anyway...

~and that's all I have to say about that~

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