One of my very favorite crops is Egyptian Walking Onions. They are also known as Tree Onions, Top Onions, Winter Onions, or Perennial Onions. Whatever you call them, these onions are the perfect survival crop! Walking onions are simple to grow and, once established, never need to be planted again. It doesn’t take very many of these to provide all the onion flavor you could possibly need.
Green onions are a great source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese. If that isn’t enough they are a fairly good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper. They would make a flavorful addition to dried food storage items such as rice and beans.
I like to dry these mildly flavored onions to use during the cold winter months. The process is incredibly simple. Wash, slice thinly, and dry. Use a dehydrator if you wish, but they dry very nicely in an unused vehicle in the sun.
Dried Walking Onions
Egyptian Walking Onions are a fabulous basic necessity for every survival garden. The tops are eaten like a green onion and provide a wonderful mild onion flavor fresh and cooked. The onion resembles a shallot and the entire plant can be eaten. However, if you only harvest the top these onions will grow back year after year. They reseed themselves by a cluster of bulbs that grow at the top called a top set. The top set is heavy and eventually pulls the stem down, conveniently reseeding all on its own. In our garden, we can begin harvesting these as early as late February (Zone 5).
A small patch of these onions is all you need to provide delicious onion flavor and spice up basic recipes. They grow back year after year, even when neglected and abused.
We harvested these walking onions by cutting them fairly close to the base of the plant. We usually pick a few stalks just before cooking, but today we are going to dry some for use this winter.
Walking onions grow very fast. This is the growth in only 7 days - 6-8 inches. Can you see why it is such a great food for a survival garden?
The onion stalks are washed, thinly sliced and placed on a dryer tray. Air flow is critical to good drying. We actually place these trays in an unused vehicle that sits in the sun. The onions dry at a lower temperature in 3-4 days depending on the weather. Onions must be dry enough to snap when bent.
I like to heat the onion flakes for just a few minutes in a 200 degree oven. This is just my personal preference to make sure that any microorganisms don't stand a chance of contaminating my food or harming my family. I prefer to store the onions in glass jars after they have cooled. An oxygen absorber will extend the shelf life of dehydrated foods.
Onion powder can be made by placing the flakes in a coffee grinder. A food processor will not create the really fine powder, but will create tiny pieces. I like to have a little onion powder on hand to add to a few recipes. The shelf life of onion powder will be less than onion flakes. Larger pieces stay fresh longer.
I prefer to store the onion flakes and powder in glass jars. They provide a true oxygen barrier and preserve the flavor nicely. Light is damaging to food products so we store these jars in a dark store room until ready for use. These walking onion flakes are stored in recycled glass peanut butter jars. You might also try vacuum sealing them.