Pearl onion

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Pearl onions and peas topping a crockpot dish

The "true" pearl onion (A. ampeloprasum var. sectivum or A. ampeloprasum 'Pearl-Onion Group')[1] is a close relative of the leek (A. ampeloprasum var. porrum), and may be distinguished from common onions by having only a single storage leaf,[2] similar to cloves of garlic. They are cultivated mostly in Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy; usually in home gardens, although formerly on a commercial scale. They are mostly used for pickling.[3]

However, the majority of onions grown for pickling are common onions (A. cepa).[4] They are grown to a small size suitable for pickling by planting at a high density.[5]

Because of its uniquely diminutive appearance and a taste sweeter than that of a common onion, it has also been used in dishes ranging from mid-20th-century American casserole dishes such as succotash to sweetly flavored onion relishes in Indian cuisine. A pearl onion will take up to two years to become sufficiently sweet for sale (such is the main reason it is less popular in America than other onions).[citation needed] Pearl onions are, however, a staple to the cuisine of Northern Europe, especially Sweden.[citation needed]

Larry Wall's yearly serious State of the Onion speeches about advancements in Perl programming, an allusion to the many layers of the language, are named as a pun both on the pearl onion and the US presidents' State of the Union addresses.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fritsch, R.M.; N. Friesen (2002). "Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy". In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah. Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 0-85199-510-1. 
  2. ^ AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center. "Onion cultivation". Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Hanelt, Peter (2001). "Alliaceae". In P. Hanelt. Mansfeld's Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops (except ornamentals). Berlin: Spring-Verlag. p. 2266. ISBN 3-540-41017-1. 
  4. ^ Fritsch, R.M.; N. Friesen (2002). "Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy". In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah. Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 0-85199-510-1. 
  5. ^ Brewster, James L. (1994). Onions and other vegetable alliums (1st ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 212. ISBN 0-85198-753-2.