Friday, 1 April 2011

The goodlife lab experiment no 2 - Ken'ing yer ingins

OK - a good-lifey-lab experiment time. I know like me you've been losing sleep (!) over the idea of what might happen if you didn't throw away the end of the spring onion you've just chopped. Believe me I've lost days of sleep over it. You know the bit I mean the end bit, which looks like you want to eat it, but if you cook it, oddly it resembles an octopus or something very wierd and everyone leaves them on the side of their plate. I wanted to ken (know) my ingins (onions) - (my grannie was from Dundee and thats how they say the word onion there! Very wierd, I've always thought but it reminds me of her.), so I tried to see what I could do with the end bit. 

Anyway in the good-life-lab - where other curiosities have been pondered - like can I freeze eggs? I decided to have a bash and see what would happen. Purely for the science you understand, nothing to do with those darker nights in the winter when you feel like you're going slightly insane. Ahem, its purely for the science, I tell you. On the understanding that other things will grow if you give them a bit of water like carrot tops - I decided to see if a spring onion would regrow from a stub at the end. If it worked you get free onions and in the winter months (Jan/Feb) they might provide a bit of windowsill grub before even the chives had popped thier heads up and oodles of months before any onion type beast was ready to plant outside.

Time for the experiment, if you chop off the top of a spring onion and plop it into a small 0.5 cm filled glass of water - the answer you've all been waiting for is that they grow! And you can have a cheeky early onion crop from those wierd little octopus things. Fantastic. Quick too, been a week or so since I did these.  And, whilst you're shaking your head thinking, is she for real - unfortunately she is, and she doesn't like throwing anything out - including wierd octopus end onion dangly bits. I didn't study all this stuff to only do it at work, you know - in real life I'm this obsessed about plants and of course eating.
Of course this could have been a one off and a complete fluke (by chance), so I tried it with a few onions and being part scientist/part frugal person/part eco-tree hugger - I also wanted to know how little an end would grow, if it indeed did grow. The answer was even 1-1.5 cm of an end bit would grow and 6 cm would grow too -  all were equally successful.

There you go - grow your own scraps - and tide yourself over until the real ones are up. I've of course not kept these hostage anymore in the manner of lab rats - they are now in a pot on the windowsill and I'm chopping bits off until I can eat stuff outside or they disapprove and look unhappy.
Where on earth do I come up with this stuff? Part of the idea was due to the fact most onions are perennial or biennial. Therefore I gave it a go. You're probably sorry you read now about alien onion growing of end bits - but I found it a bit interesting thinking about it all. I don't like waste, this seemed like something fun to try.

Now I ken my ingens right enough.

16 comments:

  1. A brilliant experiment! .. but do they taste less oniony because they have been growing in water ?

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  2. B-a-g - Good point, but not so far - they taste the same, I only started them in the water to see what might happen - I'll tell you if the flavour improves with composty goodness in their pot!

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  3. Why not? The leeks I buy have had their tops tidied, and if only get around to cooking them days later - the green bits have obviously grown. In the fridge. No water.

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  4. what a fabulous post! i like how your mind works about the onions. i also like your picture at the top ... i'd like to be there.

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  5. Hey there E-Eye I've heard of that but never seen it!

    Journey to scotland - its one of our favourite walks here - we park up the van - unload the bikes/cushions/tea etc and spend a nice afternoon by the coast a few miles from here in Darwin (campervan) just messing about.

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  6. You realize I'm going to have to go through the compost scraps now I've read your post Fay!

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  7. Fab experiment, what fun! :)

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  8. Gotta try this one, :)

    So if I grow spring onions and just keep trimming the tops, they should keep regrowing a while, like chives?

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  9. Hi Fay,
    You certainly know your ingins.Our whole family is from Dundee,Jam,Jute and The Beano and all that.
    What a great fun experiment.I'm going to give it a go.
    Your campervan picture is fabulous,I wish I could just jump into the picture.Its pouring here today.

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  10. I enjoyed your ingins post. Coincidentally I've done a couple of posts in Scots on my Occasional Scotland blog recently - and a mention of your blog too. See if your Dunndonian can crack my Doric.

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  11. What a great experiment. We love our scallions in my house and this is an easy experiment to do. I'll keep you posted.

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  12. Brilliant! Free food from nowt!

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  13. Fantastic! Never again will I throw the end bits on the compost heap. Thank you Fay! Three cheers for Orkney-weather-induced madness ;-)

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  14. This is so funny because I did the same thing this winter. My husband bought a bunch of pearl onions that were really small, and I didn't feel like peeling them. When they started to sprout, I thought why not put them in a bulb vase with stones and see if they produce fresh scallions. Well as you know they did so I have my windowsill harvest. I also leave old onions in the ground year after year and they produce new tops which I continue to harvest---that has been going on for four years. I don't think you are crazy or maybe we are crazy together.

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  15. Thanks for your share! very impressive!

    nolvadex

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  16. Thank you all - I've done this several times now and it really does work - go for it!

    Carolyn - how brilliant - thank you for the share!

    Radapunk- hello!

    Janet - three cheers indeed!

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