University of Arizona Navajo County Cooperative Extension
This morning I was cleaning out my produce bowl – you know the one that sits on your counter with onions, apples, bananas, and whatever random vegetable that don’t need refrigeration? (We really shouldn’t put them all together because they will go bad faster – but that will be something to talk about later!) Anyway, back to my onions …
What to do with them? Do you throw them out? Grandma is whispering in my ear “Waste not want not.” Usually I peel them, save what is good, then chop and freeze them. BUT, since I have regrown green onions from the trimmed root ends, why can’t I do the same with onions? I did a little Pinterest research and found several articles that say it can be done. So, this is what I did …
Cutting the Onion
Start by cutting along the edge of the onion. Carefully! Don’t cut off the root end. See that bulb looking thing there in the middle? That is what we will be saving.
Now just keep cutting around the onion until that bulb is free. Set the pieces of onion aside to chop later, and the peels can go in your “garbage bowl” to go out to the compost pile later.
I got a little deep on this one – you can see the green of the stem, but it should be fine. I hope!
I could leave this whole and plant it that way but when you look at the first picture, you can see that there are at least three sprouts per onion! That will be 15 onions!!!
Start by peeling back that papery layer at the top of the bulb so you can see the sprouts easier. That will also make it easier to pull the sprouts apart. Gently. You want to leave part of the roots attached to each little bulb/shoot. So that they will be able to regrow.
Prepare for transplanting
We can’t plant these bulbs in the garden right now. They probably would not survive.
You need to place the bulbs into a bowl of water and leave it until the roots start to grow. Once the roots have developed, transplant the bulb into the garden or a container full of good potting soil.
I wound up with 16 bulbs to plant out of the 5 sprouted onions. That doesn’t sound like all that much, but this week’s Walmart ad has white sweet onions at 3 pounds for $3.49. That is about what I had sprouting on my counter. I would not throw $3.00 in the trash so salvaging them is a good idea. BUT if I plant 16 bulbs and harvest them later … figuring 5 onions are 3 pounds – that will give me 3 bags of onions. Multiply that by 3.49 – that will be $10.47 at today’s prices. All the news right now is telling us that grocery prices are going to be increasing. Who knows how much my sprouted onions will be worth in August!