Potato Onions For Dinner

Dateline: 26 December 2016

My first potato onion harvest. 

Last year was the first year I grew potato onions. I wrote about this unique variety of onion back in April of 2016 (Rediscovering and Restoring the Multiplier Onion). Then, come August, I wrote about my potato onion harvest (These Peasant Onions Are Amazing!). Now, I'd like to take this story a step further and show you how we put the smallest potato onions to good use...

It is something of a family tradition here to have cheese onions (aka, "cheesy onions" or "cheesed onions") for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinner. Cheese onions, if you don't know, are boiled onions covered with a cheese sauce and baked (Here's a Recipe). You can slice up larger onions to make cheese onions, but small onions are preferred.

So, I selected out all the smallest potato onions from my harvest. The onions were harvested four months ago and were still in perfectly good, solid condition. 

The smallest onions from my harvest.

Those are the potato onions I peeled. It was the least I could do, as I'm not much of a cook. I figured that since I was just peeling the onions, and not cutting them up, the "onion gas" would be minimal. I was wrong. 

My eyes were burning pretty bad by the time I finished. It wasn't nearly as bad as the time I made horseradish sauce (My Horseradish Nightmare), but it was bad enough. Potato onions are potent onions!

And here they are, all peeled...

Lovely, peeled potato onions.

Marlene took over from there. I asked her what recipe she used and she told me, "I just have it in my head." Like her mother before her, and probably her mother before her. 

Photographing food well is a real art, and some foods lend themselves to photographs well, but I don't think cheese onions are one of those foods. Nevertheless, I gave it my best shot—before digging in...

Cheese onions on the right, followed (clockwise) by a cucumber-tomato-feta salad, maple-pecan roasted brussels sprouts, and a small piece of steak. Delightful.

You can plant potato onions in the fall (like garlic) or in the spring. I have selected out several of the nicest looking specimens from last year's harvest to plant this coming spring. The beauty of these onions is that you buy some bulbs and plant them once. Then, if you select some of the nicest bulbs for replanting each year, you never have to buy them again. And, though the harvest is a mixed bag of small and medium-small sized onions, the smalls are perfectly suited for making cheese onions.


  1. Hi Herrick, Well I also ordered my Multiplier onions last fall, and I even got them planted on time. Only problem is, that I planted them in the HT without thinking of the consequences of that action! I now have a long row of beautifully growing onions, and if they get too cold thru the rest of the winter, I'll probably have a nice crop of rotten onions in the spring!! I have always been known as a "right clever duck"! Happy New Year!

    1. Everett,

      They seem to be very hardy onions. You might have a crop in the spring. I'm wonderinghow the black plastic bunker cover you have will work with the tiny beds in the summer heat of your tunnel?

    2. Herrick, After realizing just what I did, one of the things I promised myself was that they, or new ones if need be, will be planted outside the Tunnel! Even with both sides rolled up, it still gets pretty hot in there if there is no breeze. Fortunately that doesn't happen very often.

      Just got the two pigs in the freezers. One was 368 pounds and the other was392. Probably got about 350 to 450 pounds of meat, smoked,canned, and frozen. Also realized 18 pints of lard. T'was a pretty good year garden and animal wise. Sigh, time to start all over again! Working on my 30" squares!

    3. Everett,

      I'm impressed with those pigs. You seem to do everything in a big way. Tuckers me out just reading about it. :-)

  2. Hi Herrick; when you're working with onions, have a lit candle close to you; a small votive works. I think maybe it consumes the fumes or maybe the heat lifts them away. Anyway it always works for me.
    Thank you for so much wholesome information through the years. I'm really enjoying reading the "Country Parson" again. It has been many years, but I think he used to be in "Capper's Weekly".
    Blessings and a wonderful new year for you and your family.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Cheryl.
      That trick for onion fumes is new to me. I will definitely give it a try!!

  3. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    I've got to try the multiplier onion! Such re-planting of your everyday purple onion, white, and yellow onions, etc. didn't work out for me. I re-planted the smallest bulbs for the next season. This was a trial a couple years ago. I did that also for my potatoes. I understand they revert back to parental bulbs, seed and do not produce as expected, and lose their immunity against diseases that was natural in parent parents. But, I guess choosing the largest and best to re-plant makes the difference, and using an onion specifically created (by God) for multiplying and replanting is this vegetable's purpose!

    1. I do think they are worth trying. Territorial Seed company on the left coast sells them.

  4. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    Thanks for the recipe! Velveta? I made a sausage breakfast casserole during Christmas that called for velveta, mozzarella, and cheddar. I dispensed with the velveta since it is not really cheese, but is processed oil...yuck. My casserole was welcomed and enjoyed by all, who didn't even miss the velveta! Your meal looks yummy. I'm looking forward to the onion dish!

    1. Uh, no. Not Velveeta. That's funny, Elizabeth. We haven't had Velveta "cheese" in our house in decades. Reminds me of using margarine instead of real butter, which we also haven't consumed in our home in decades. Marlene used a sharp cheddar cheese. Your casserole sounds good!