• clairhenderson

Know your Onions

So how much does an onion cost? Where does it come from?

They're under a £1 right? They are essential, cheap, and not exactly exotic. Or are they?

Believe it or not, due to the unfriendly-to-onion weather in the UK this time last time year, many of the onions in our shops at the moment are being flown in from New Zealand.

It's a small thing for the end consumer. A few extra pence, and a different label, but if you try to be conscious of food miles, you may want to rethink your onions. The UK currently has a major onion shortage. Yup, you heard me right. It's big news for British onion farmers and it's big for onion bulk buyers (supermarkets, markets) as imported onions are currently three times the cost of what British onions would usually be at this time of year. But of course it's not going to hit the headlines when it costs a negligible amount for the consumer and we are so used to eating things from around the world.

However, if you have the time and interest, it's a great time to explore more homegrown alternatives to save the airmiles.

Here are a few ideas:

CHIVES (left): Easily grown in flower beds or pots, and they look pretty too. Adds an oniony flavour and a nice colour to things like omelettes, and salads when not too much cooking is required. Chive butter is also a great alternative to garlic butter.

SHALLOTS: Traditionally harvested in the UK on the longest day of the year, so plenty around at the moment. A sweeter onion alternative, lots of varieties with beautiful flavours, great in things like risotto, roasted vegetables, stuffing and meatballs.

LEEKS: Not many British ones left now - but you can still buy them closer to home than New Zealand! Great for things that need cooking for longer. Stews, chillies and even curries can benefit from a leek or two.

SPRING ONIONS: They are getting bigger now and can be a particularly good alternative in terms of size! Like chives, these are great in lighter dishes like cheesy pasta dishes, on pizza or stir fries!

Every little helps!! :)

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