Farmers Market Find: Onion Blossoms

Every week, our author will highlight an ingredient that's at its peak at area farmers markets. Learn to choose the best produce, where to store it, and—most importantly—how to use it.

Onion blossoms look a lot like dandelions and have a mild onion-like flavor. Photograph by Phoebe Connelly

The ingredient: Onion blossoms. These green-and-white dandelion-like flowers come out in late spring. Farmers cut them off the tops of onion plants to encourage growth in the bulb underground. The flavor is similar to an onion, but milder. They should be available for two or three more weeks.

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What to look for when buying them: The more open the buds are, the more mature the blossoms. Each head of buds is initially covered in an onion-skin like wrapper, which sheds to reveal a cluster of green-veined blossoms. As with decorative flowers, they should look fresh-cut and not wilted.

What to do when you get home: Cut off the bottom half of the stalks, and store the blossoms in glass of water at the front of the fridge or on the counter. Change the water when it becomes cloudy.

How to use them: You can eat the whole plant, but the stalks can be a little fibrous. We added the blossoms to scrambled eggs (one head of buds for every two eggs). They added a delicious bite to cottage cheese, piled on a baguette with strawberries.

Ben Gilligan, the co-owner and chef of Room 11, suggested frying the blossoms in a tempura batter made with chickpea flour. Flash frying them—for about 1 minute in 375-degree oil—tempers some of the sharp flavor.

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