Like the Holy Roman Empire, which was neither holy nor Roman, Egyptian walking onions are not from Egypt and they don’t walk, but they are onions.

Egyptians - Photo: Unsplash - Jeremy Bezanger

This variety is thought to be a a hybrid between the Welsh Onion, Allium fistulosum, and the common onion, Allium cepa.

These crazy, perennial onions are a versatile addition to the home garden. Not only will they catch your eye with their contorted growing style, they will offer the first green onions in late winter, scallions in early spring and by late summer you will be harvesting their top sets for pickling and canning. They are easily propagated by dividing clumps in the early spring from the mother plants, planting the top sets in the fall or by letting the plant “walk”. In the fall, the hollow stalks supporting the top sets fall to the ground planting themselves close to the mother plants. This unusual “walking” motion is where the onion gets its name.

Egyptian walking onions grow in full sun and prefer loamy sand or sandy loam soil. Just like all onions, they do not grow in wet or extremely heavy soils. The bulblets of the Egyptian walking onion can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be pickled or sliced into salads. The smaller onion blades on the plant can be used like chives, but the bulb of the parent plant is tough-skinned and pungent.

One way to use this peculiar onion plant, is to break off the bulblets from the tops of the stalk and pickle them. If you love pickled garlic, you will simply love pickled onions.To pickle them, break off all the tops you have, once they get their purplish covering.

  1. Collect about 2 pounds of the Egyptian onion tops.
  2. In a stainless steel pot, combine equal parts white vinegar and water (for 2 pounds of onions, you need about 5 cups total)
  3. Add 1/4 cup pickling salt and bring to a boil for 1 minute, or until salt dissolves. Reduce heat, cover and keep hot until ready to fill jars.
  4. In 4 pint jars, add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 dried chili pepper to each jar, fill with peeled onions and pour hot mixture over all, until covered.
  5. Seal and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Let the onions cure about 2 weeks for best flavor

Walking Onions in your garden! BHG Editor Doug Jimerson talks about these easy onions.

Plants can be ordered online from The Egyptian Walking Onion website.