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Crop of the Week: Green Onions
• Yuma County produces approximately 300 acres of green onions a year valued at more than $3 million.
• Green onions are in the same family as such vegetables as the leek, garlic, chives, shallots and, of course, the bulb onion.
• Green onions are also known as scallions. However, true scallions are identified by the fact that the sides of the base are straight, whereas the green onion is usually slightly curved, showing the beginnings of a bulb. Scallions also tend to be milder.
• Onions are indisputably the most universal seasoning used in cooking.
• Both the white onion bulb and the green stalk of green onions are edible. Used raw, green onions add a bit of texture, color and a milder taste to your cooking than regular onions. They can be added raw to salads or diced and added to soups, salsa and sauces, such as guacamole. They are also delicious grilled whole.
• Eaten more for flavor and enhancing flavor of other foods, raw green onions are better nutritionally than those that are cooked.
• Beyond its flavor, the onion has been touted for its various health and healing benefits.
• Typically, storage life of green onions at 50 degrees is seven to 10 days. Higher temperatures greatly accelerate yellowing and decay of the leaves.
• Believed cultivated since prehistoric times, the onion seems to have originated in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, with references dating back to 3200 B.C., and is one of the oldest crops cultivated by man.
• The compact and modified leaves of the onion form the edible bulb, which is the plant's nutrient storage for the following year's growth.
• The pungency of an onion directly reflects the amount of sulfur in the soil in which it is grown. The sulfur turns into sulfuric acid when in contact with the water in eyes, causing the cook painful tears. The release of sulfur can thus best be prevented by cutting the onions under running tap water or completely under water, though this may not be very practical.
There was an error in last week's crop of the week about the weight of a bale of alfalfa hay. A small bale of Yuma-grown alfalfa weighs between 90 and 100 pounds. We regret the error.
Source: Kurt Nolte is an agriculture agent and Yuma County Cooperative Extension director. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 726-3904.