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Gardening in America
Winter Onions
by Nancy Fletcher


Winter OnionsHealth in the pioneer days was the goal, especially in colder regions of America. Out of the way living with only small clusters of communities spread out over wide areas were not conducive to exchange of produce, especially during the coldest months. Shipping fresh fruit and vegetables was not practical in the country districts. For this reason the provincial family found ways to grow and preserve fresh foods during these nonproductive times.

One way to grow vegetables late in the fall and early in the spring is with mulch which is what I, in my lazy half hearted gardening do on the most limited scale. This is to speak of what we call Winter onions, which are actually Egyptian onions forming bulbils or small bulbs at the top of the seed stalk in late summer.

Winter OnionsSince we live on hard packed clay soil, not what grows underground plants well, there must be a determined effort here to mulch, mulch, mulch. At this time I chaff to think my father engineered vast areas of prairie producing massive amounts of prairie hay and I'm having to constantly beg for farmers thrown off unwanted bales. Nevertheless, pride in my pocket, I listen to our community "party line" and grab up any offer for someone needing to clean out their loft of old hay or I raid any sacks of raked up leaves I can carry home. This is all at the raised eyebrow of my electronic engineer-educated husband.

The necessity to dig out a bed instead of raising it comes from the fact that all the water runs completely off this hill. Onions need drainage but this is a little much, they also need moisture.

If a bed is properly set, holding loose rich soil which is watered at intervals a great reward will meet one's efforts with early, early, pungent "winter onions" so early in the spring it seems to be actually winter. Onions are high in vitamin C, a vitamin necessary for connective tissue. They also have sulfur. The green is rich in other vitamins, A and E. They also are high in chlorophyll which is an anti-oxidant and good for folks with diabetes. In addition, they are just really delicious.

Set the tiny bulbs just under the soil and cover well with mulch. Water occasionally if it is very dry.

Here is a good recipe:

Pioneer Onion Gravy
Chop up the tops of green onions for one cup.
In a skillet melt 2 Tablespoons' butter
Stir in 1 Tablespoon flour
Add 1 cup milk
teaspoon salt
1/4 t. pepper

Cook until boiling and thickened stirring constantly, add 1 cup chopped green onion tops, cook for a couple of minutes more. Serve over toast in the morning or with mashed potatoes at dinner.

Yogurt & Green Onion Topping

Chop: A hand full of green onion tops
Add: to 2 cups plain yogurt

Use this to top baked potatoes.
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Green Onion and Green Pea Salad

1 can of green peas
8 slices bread and butter pickles
1/8 cup pickle juice
hand full of freshly cut green onion tops
1 tomatoe or red bell pepper
1 Tablespoon lime juice or 1/2 lime
Ranch Salad Dressing
lettuce

    Pour green peas in a bowl. Chop up green onion top and add to the peas.
Mince bread and butter pickles and add them to salad. Add 1/8 cup pickle juice from the jar.
Squeeze lime juice over this and stir.
Pour as much Ranch Salad Dressing over as you like. Serve on a lettuce leaf and garnish
with a thin slice of tomatoe or red bell pepper if you have it.

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Green Onion Dip

1 container cottage cheese
A large handful of freshly cut green onions
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 lime

Cut up green onions and put in the bottom of your blender. Place cottage cheese in the blender with them
Add 1 teaspoon lemon pepper and juice of 1/2 lime.  Blend until onions are thoroughly mixed with cottage cheese. Serve in a colorful bowl on a large platter with chips around the bowl.

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Salmon Patties with Green onion tarter sauce

1 can Salmon
1 slice bread or more as needed
1 egg
Mix the above very well. I even will beat this to pack the ingredients together.
3 Tablesppons olive oil for frying skillet
Spray skillet liberally with Pam or something like it

In a bowl mix the Salmon, juice and all, with 1 slice of bread and one egg. Mixture is better to be a little moist rather than too dry.  Make this into patties and place in a very hot skillet sprayed with the Pam and into which you have poured about three tablespoons olive oil. While these are lightly browning on both sides, make tartar sauce.

Tartar Sauce

Mix together:
1 Cup sweet relish
1 1/2 Cup Mayonaise or salad dressing
1 Cup of green onion tops you have finely minced with cooking shears
Juice of one Lemon

Serve Salmon patties on a large platter surrounded by slices of lemon. Place the tarter sauce in a bowl in the middle of the platter with a spoon so everyone can serve their own as they like it.
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Scrambled eggs, Tomatoes and Green Onions

As many eggs as you hav
e people
1 can diced tomatoes, thoroughly drained in a collander
A handfull of chopped green onions
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika (a Tablesspoon for us, maybe a teaspoon for you)
Bottle of Tabasco sauce for the table

Whip eggs well in a bowl, add the chopped green onions, salt and pepper to taste and paprika.
When scrambling eggs be sure you have sprayed the skillet liberally with Pam. Allow the eggs to set up a little before you turn them to scramble. The less you whip them after they are in the skillet the fluffier they will be. Aftr the eggs have cooked add the tomatoes and stir lightly. If you don't care for tomatoes in your eggs you can leave them out.


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