Sunday, 20 March 2011

How to make an Onion Rope - store cured onions for winter

The ancient art of stringing an Onion Rope looks difficult, but follow these simple instructions and you will find it easy. 

Onion mature in early to mid summer. The first sign being when the 'tops go down' -turn yellow and fold over. Approximately 2 to 4 weeks later, the tops will have dried sufficently to pull the bulbs from the bed. 

At this time the onion should be laid out in a single layer to cure - dry out. It doesn't matter if they get a small amount of rain on the bulbs, as this will help the onion skins cure. Excessive rain however can cause staining.

Once cured, strip the excess dry plant material from the bulbs.

These bulbs are 'longkeeper' and will last all winter in storage.

A great way of storing the bulbs for winter is to make an Onion Rope.

Each onion should have the top trimmed to leave a tail of about 10cm (4") long.

Start the Onion Rope by preparing a 'noose' at the end of a length of rope. The rope should be capable of supporting a weight of approximately 20kg (50lb).

Make sure the 'reef knot' can slip freely down the rope.

Next, select three (3) large onions and slip the tops through the noose.

Draw the noose tight around the tops. This becomes the base of the Onion Rope and supports all the other onions that are tied above it.

The onions are placed in a spiral around the rope.

Loop the onion top around the back of the rope.

Bring the top back around and over the onion neck.

Then draw the onion top beneath the onion (clockwise) and out the other side. Now pull downwards to tighten the knot.

The tension on the knot combined with the weight of the onion, holds the bulb in place.

Once the first few onions are secured, it is advisable to hang up the rope so that both hands are free to work. 

Continue to layer bulb after bulb in the same manner in a spiral or whorl around the string.

Pull the tops gently down the rope periodically to keep the rope compact. 

All types of onion; both brown and red, garlic and shallots can be strung in this way.

Here I have added a few red onion that I grew for salads.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou i will be trying this this year