Allium ampeloprasum L.
Also known as button or baby onion (UK) or Creamers (USA)
Pearl onion is a small, globe-shaped onion, often pickled, used as a garnish, served as an appetizer or in cocktails.
It is a cultivated variety of the wild leek Allium ampeloprasum. Other cultivated varieties of the wild leek in order of importance are: Leek, Elephant Garlic, and Kurrat.
What does pearl onion look like?
Pearl onion is a very small onion with a mild flavour and is often pickled or used in appetizers or as a garnish.
The onions are small in size, (0.5-4cm in diameter) and are sold loose or in small netted bags. They are available in white, red and gold varieties and have a sweet, mild flavour.
Pearl onion is mainly cultivated in Germany, The Netherlands, and Italy; usually in home gardens, although formerly, on a commercial scale.
Culinary Use of Pearl Onion
Pearl onions are a staple to the cuisine of Northern Europe, especially Sweden. They are mild and sweet, and are delicious eaten whole.
They can be roasted, glazed, braised or sautéed. They can also be used in stews, soups, braises, and gratins.
They are mostly used for pickling but can also be creamed and used as a side dish.
How to Buy Pearl Onions
- Look for Pearl onions that are firm, heavy for their size and have dry, papery skins.
- Avoid any signs of moisture, green shoots or dark spots.
- Once cut, tightly wrap any unused onion in a cling wrap, refrigerate and use within four days.
How to Peel Pearl Onions
How to Store Pearl Onions
Store whole Pearl onions in a cool, dry, dark place with good air circulation for up to two months.