The Last of the Onions

I went down to the cellar this morning to restock a few things for the kitchen. When I got to the burlap bag that we store our onions in, I reached in to grab a couple.

Reaching deep into the sack, to my chagrin I found that there were very few left. The harvest of 2021 was running out.

Last year we harvested and cured a good mess of onions. We planted three raised beds, two with New York Early yellow, and the third with Rossa di Milano red onions. I think we got about 20 pounds from each bed. Maybe a little more.

Once dried, trimmed and bagged, we used these onions from the beginning of last September through today. In my experience onions illustrate how home grown tastes better than store bought. Nothing brings tears to your eyes like a freshly chopped New York Early.

We put up quite a bit of produce from our little kitchen garden. Onions are cured and bagged, as is garlic when we grow it. Other vegetables we typically freeze. These include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, Swiss chard, carrots, green beans and rutabaga.

My wife and I have a pretty good system for processing the veggies we freeze. I’ll usually harvest, then she’ll give them a cleaning. From there I usually do the chopping or cutting, and then into the boiling water for blanching. Then an ice bath, and into the freezer bags. Not everything needs to go through this routine. We wash, chop and freeze peppers and cabbage without blanching, and they hold fine.

None of this is exceptionally time consuming; usually a weekend morning here and there throughout the season. Thankfully things come in at different times, and usually very manageable amounts.

Except carrots. We usually end up with a full raised bed that we deal with in one or two sessions. Although my hands hurt after chopping 20-30 pounds of them, our carrots usually last well into the following year.

We also have a pretty good system for the small amount of pickling done each year. My wife runs that show, and I take care of the boiling out in the garage. I set up the canning pot on the turkey burner and have at it. Wife puts up a variety of cucumber pickles, and makes me a few jars of pickled beets. The bread & butter pickles are the best.

So the onions are running out and what’s left may get us through the end of February. A six month supply of home grown onions isn’t bad at all. Perhaps in 2022 they’ll grow larger, and we’ll get a bit further into 2023? It’s going to be fun finding out, and it all starts again in about six weeks.

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