Onions are a super food because of their high nutrient content. Red ones are the most nutrient dense. Yellow is the 2nd runner up. White onions contain the least amount of good stuff like quercetin and other antioxidants.
Get Good Taste AND Nutrients
Indeed some of the sweet white onions with their high water content are truly delicious. BUT, you can get higher nutrient value and still have great taste with some of the early yellow onions like Texas Legend. (Dixondale offers them.) It’s a short day variety but with proper curing will last 3 to 4 months. (I’ve had it keep 5 months.)
Even then, I still want home grown onions in my diet through at least the end of the year as I await the next growing season. Thus, an onion with long storage capacity is a must have for me.
For years I grew Copra as my storage onion to take me through December. Over the past few years it’s become a very popular onion and I see it offered more than any other for long term storage. That doesn’t mean that other varieties won’t store as well, it just means that it’s become popular and that’s what’s offered.
I’m trying to get away from it totally because it’s a hybrid. This year might be the year I’ve found the varieties that will replace Copra in my garden.
Why not hybrids?
Because studies show that hybrids of most any vegetable can’t hold a candle to nutrient high open pollinated varieties (grown properly).
As I’ve discussed in previous posts, most of that is due to hybrids being bred for traits like storage and increased production rather than nutrient value.
Studies also attest to a dramatic decline in nutrient content in most store bought vegetables and fruits. That can be due to the way they’re grown (soil, fertilizer, etc.). And of course, hybrids are more prevalent in commercial growing because they’re bred for traits that help the grower make more money. (They produce more and/or store better.)
As always, if we want the most nutrient dense food we can obtain, we’ll have to take responsibility and do a bit of looking around. It’s not always easy to find what we want. Thus, I thought what I found this year might also help you in your search.
Most (but not all) of the long keepers (6 to 8 months) seem to be long day onions.
In other words, those that start forming a bulb when daylight reaches 14 to 16 hours.
Not a problem for me here in zone 7, but finding a long keeper could be more difficult if you live in the south.
A quick way to find out what day length onions you can grow is to just visit the Dixondale site and check their map. Here’s the url: http://www.dixondalefarms.com/category/onion_plants
A Short Day Long Keeper
Red Creole is a short day red onion (very high nutrient content) that is said to keep 6 to 7 months. I saw it on the Dixondale site.
An Intermediate Long Keeper
Australian Brown is said to store 7 months. I saw seed available at Sustainable Seed Co. Probably available many more places.
3 Long Day Long Keepers
My friend and reader, Jack in New Jersey, introduced me to Clear Dawn. He sent me samples from his crop in the summer of 2015 and they were GORGEOUS!
I tried to get seed last year but was unsuccessful.
Seed for this onion will be available at Fedco after they release their 2017 catalog in December.
They describe it as being “the best open-pollinated storage onion, — slightly smaller than Copra with thicker necks, darker bronze skins and the same great storage capacity.” Jack’s was NOT smaller than Copra, but larger.
New York Early Onion
Fedco states that it is a “superior strain of Early Yellow Globe selected for storage until early spring.”
Available also from High Mowing Seed Company. And by the way, High Mowing has a new website and has not worked out the problems at this writing. To get to the vegetables they offer you have to click on the small 3 bars at the top left of the page; then click vegetables and then onions.
Dakota Tears Onion
Fedco description states these onions were more than 20 years in the making. From an early April start they’ll mature in September and can keep until the following May under good storage conditions.
Also available immediately from High Mowing Seed Company.
If you’ve found a long storage variety that you’ve had success growing please add your valuable input in the comments area.
Also, please let me know if you’ve found this post helpful.
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