Pearl onions and peas topping a crockpot dish
|Species||Allium ampeloprasum var. sectivum or A. ampeloprasum 'Pearl-Onion Group'|
The pearl onion (Allium ampeloprasum var. sectivum or A. ampeloprasum 'Pearl-Onion Group'), also known as button, baby or silverskin onions in the UK, or creamers in the US, 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, similar to cloves of garlic. In French they are known as oignon grelot. One English-speaking reference also mentions the term petit poireau antillais.
Cultivation and storage
Known small white varieties include Crystal Wax, or White Bermuda. Red varieties are milder in flavour. Pearl onions are ready to harvest from seed in 90 days. They can be stored for up to a month in a cool, dry, dark place.
Because of its uniquely small size 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. It can also be used in stews soups or sautéed (fried) with other vegetables. It can also be used in cocktails such as "martini standing".
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.
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- Fritsch, R.M.; N. Friesen (2002). "Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy". In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah (ed.). Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 0-85199-510-1.
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