The Q&A Archives: Can I Eat Onions from Last Year's Crop

Question: Last year I did not do a fall cleaning of my garden. I grew a Walla-Walla type pnions last year (they were great!) and the ones that I didn't eat (or pull out in the fall) now appear to be growing rapidly with fresh green stalks. They survived through a mild frost, but this was a fairly warm winter here in Portland, Oregon. On some, the top of outer skin looks wrinkled, but on others they look full and healthy. Are they, or will they be edible? Should I dig them out and start over?

Answer: Your onions are perfectly safe to eat. You can harvest now before they bolt (send up a flowering stalk). If onions are allowed to bolt, they will redirect all of their energy into producing a flower instead of maintaining a bulb.

A day or two before harvesting, bend the foliage down to ground level to stop additional leaf growth. When harvesting, lay the onions out in the sun to help them dry, or lay them out on racks in a protected area if the weather is rainy. When the leaves are completely yellow you can cut them off, leaving an inch or two of stem attached to the bulb. Walla Walla's don't keep too long, so plan to enjoy them within a few weeks of harvest.

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