Sweet bulb onions look a little bit like green onions and scallions except for one thing – instead of a straight line from green to white or only a very small bulb, bulb onions have an obvious ping pong ball sized bulb at the end.
Scallions, also called green onions, are harvested before the bulb starts to form. Bulb onions are picked after the bulbs are the size seen in the pic on the left.
When selecting bulb onions at the grocers look for onions that do not have soft squishy parts, split bulbs, or discoloration that can come either from age or poor handling during shipping. The greenery above should look freshly picked and be a beautiful deep green nearest the top, fading to light green as it reaches the bulb. Do not buy bulb onions if the greenery is browned or wilting.
Your store may have bulb onions labeled as Spring Bulb Onions. Spring is when they are harvested, so that name makes perfect sense. The name may also vary slightly depending upon which type of onion was planted for harvesting while young.
Both the bulb and greenery are edible.
Whole bulb onions make a lovely bit of drama on the dinner plate after they are grilled, braised, or roasted.
The bulb has a nice mild flavor compared to the slightly more intense greens and is perfect for stews, sauteing, and caramelizing.
To clean, just rinse the whole thing off and pat it dry with either a tea towel or paper towels. Then slice off the rootlets. If a thin outer layer of the bulb wants to come off, that’s fine. Just discard it.
If your recipe just calls for only the bulbs, slice off the green and add it to a compost bin or stock pot.
Some recipes specify that the bulb is to remain whole, others will ask you to cut it in half – just slice the bulb from top to bottom.
That wasn’t hard at all!
Even your super taster child might love these pretty little onions that are just the right size for them. Show them how to select them at the store and prepare them for dinner – or help them to grow a few!
In this recipe for Lamb Loin Chops and Caramelized Sweet Bulb Onions, only the bulb is used after it is sliced in half.