Spring gardening is that time of the year when good planning can result in bountiful harvests for months to come. Selecting a variety of edibles assures that many different lessons in the art of raising food will be learned as the days lengthen into the light-filled calendrical gems that shout, “Summer’s here!” Foods like the potato onion reward the gardener with yields that outperform every other vegetable except for tomatoes that are grown on stakes.
What does it do?
Onion enthusiasts tend to develop fewer cases of certain cancers owing to the presence of quercetin, a potent antioxidant that is capable of suppressing the proliferation of malignant cells. Laboratory studies also point to quercetin’s effective anti-inflammatory properties (for pain management), and its ability to treat fibromyalgia. Like its cousins in the onion family, the potato onion also helps reduce cholesterol, it protects the nerves and the cardiovascular system and it gives a welcomed boost to the immune system.
About the herb
Potato onions are in no way related to potatoes. In fact, they are closer to the shallot than they are to other onions. The name probably comes from the fact that this hardy perennial proliferates so easily just below the surface, not unlike the potato. Also known as the multiplier onion, the potato onion was very popular until the turn of the last century when onions that were more easily farmed by emerging mechanical means became the focus of commercial farming endeavors. Because this onion multiplies so effortlessly (one bulb soon becomes 6 or 8!), it is making a comeback among savvy gardeners. Because the bulbs store so well, and because the potato onion rarely produces seeds (and, thus, is grown by planting the hardy bulbs as opposed to being raised by seeds), it is one garden crop that is guaranteed to bring success to any novice or seasoned green thumb.
Enjoy the potato onion in your fresh, raw garden salad, or as a spicy enhancement to almost any dish that reaches your table. If your gardening space is limited, plant the potato onion for an endless supply of this snappy tasting vegetable. If your taste buds favors green onions, the potato onion can be grown in containers—even during the colder seasons of the year—to produce the fresh greens.