Bulb Vegetables – Onion, Garlic, and Ramps

Bulb Vegetables

Bulb vegetables, which include onions, gralic, and ramps, – all related and members of the lily family – are usually just culinary accents; add in small amounts, and they’ll make a dish come a live with aromatic undertones. When used raw, they add a punch to salads and salsas. But the real magic takes place when they’re cooked; a light sauté will bring out their natural sweetness.

There are many different ways to categorize bulb vegetables, so named because we consume the bulb. “Spring” bulbs, such as scallions and ramps, need refrigeration. Look for greens that are neither limp nor brown, and white bulbs that are firm. “Storage” bulbs are more typically onion like—round, thin-skinned vegetables that can simply be kept out in a dark, dry place. Chives (“kucai” in bahasa Indonesia)  are technically related to onions and garlic but are generally considered to be an herb.

In case you don’t know, the word onion was derived from a Latin word unio meaning large pearl. The old French called it oignon.

Onion /ˈʌn.jən/ 

Based on the picture:

1. Spanish onion 

The most common type of onion in the United States.

Fried Shallot - Bawang Gore
Fried Shallot – Bawang Goreng

2. Shallots

While the French incorporate the shallot into many dishes, it’s also popular throughout southeast Asian cuisine, as in “bawang goreng”, an Indonesian recipe for fried shallots.

3. White onion

This is the onion of choice when making Latin and Central American dishes, especially Mexican food.

4. Garlic

To get garlic that’s sweet and fragrant, either sauté (tumis dengan sedikit minyak) or roast it, but be careful not to burn the garlic, which will result in an acrid smell.

5. Pearl onions

Pearl onions can be creamed, roasted, or glazed (Italians use balsamic vinegar; Middle Easterners apply tamarind). Pickled pearl onions make a great garnish to the classic martini.

6. Red onion

It’s a favorite ingredient in salads. To many palates, red onions have the sharpest flavor in the family, so to soften the taste, chill raw onions in ice water for 20 minutes before serving.

7. Sweet onions

People who like onions but dislike the strong taste, will find sweet onions a good alternative. Some people even consume them raw, like ripe fruit.

8. Ramps

Eaten raw, a ramp tastes strong and more like garlic than scallion, but if cooked, its flavor turns mildly sweet. When serving, try to keep the entire plant intact for a lovely presentation.

9. Scallions

This spring onion’s flavorful bite makes it a popular ingredient in Asian cooking, as exemplified in the classic Korean Seafood Pancake.

10. Cipollini

Its taste is less acrid than that of its relatives, making it ideal for creamed or glazed onions. And because of the cipollinis’ size and shape, they’re easy to cook and serve whole. Try them roasted or grilled on skewers.

I’m a big fan of shallot and garlic. I use at least three cloves of garlic and five cloves of shallot in my cooking. Sometimes I only use garlic when I cook Chinese food. So guys, which of these bulb vegetables do you usually use in your kitchen?


2 thoughts on “Bulb Vegetables – Onion, Garlic, and Ramps

  1. Thank you very much for making this good website. I learn many good things relate to English here. Allow me to save every writing you made to improve my English. 🙂


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