All year round.
Storage and Handling
Store in a cool dark place. If cut refrigerate. Handle all fresh produce with care and wash before eating.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped onions and during the Middle Ages they were used as currency. Onions have been grown in New Zealand since it was first colonized. In 1923, Pukekohe growers developed the PLK (Pukekohe Long Keeper) and today their special is brown onions which have exceptional storage qualities.
- There is hardly a savoury dish that doesn’t include onions or one of its relatives - white and red onions, garlic, chives, shallots, spring onions and leeks (members of the onion family vary enormously in shape, size, colour, texture and intensity of flavour)
- Onions, have also been used as medicines
- New Zealand's top onion growing area is Pukekohe, south of Auckland
- Main Crop Onions: These are the most commonly available onions and are in the shops all year round. They are strongly flavoured, firm onions with layers of golden brown paper skins and white flesh. The most common varieties are Pukekohe Long Keeper and Pukekohe Early Long Keeper
- Pickling Onions: These are simply small main crop onions. They have a strong pungent flavour. They are available all year round, but at their best for pickling about March
- Red onions: These are easily recognised by their burgundy red skins and red tinged flesh. Spanish type red onions are large and round, while Californian red onions tend to be flatter and milder. They are most readily available in January - August
- Sweet Mild Onions: These look similar to main crop onions but with lighter golden skins. They are generally larger and flatter with a milder flavour. They are available in very limited quantities all year round, although the local season is December until May
- White Onions: White onions have a dry papery skin and perfectly white flesh, with a sharp medium flavour. They are available in limited quantities with some of the supply being imported
- Shallots: Sized roughly the same or slightly larger than pickling onions, with a skin colour which ranges from coppery yellow to reddish brown. The bulbs are either elongated or oval and are formed in several clusters or bulblets. The two most commonly grown varieties are Mikor, which is oval with a mild flavour, and Jermor, which is more elongated with a spicier flavour. Shallots are available from Feb to July with most plentiful supply over the late summer months
- Plant in February to August
- Onions can be bought as seedlings and then put straight into a garden bed
- Bulbs should sit on the surface of the soil – do not cover
- Onions mature in about six to eight months
Onions are a source of vitamin B6.
You will find the full Nutrition Information Panel on the New Zealand Food Composition Data website. This website is owned jointly by Plant & Food Research and the Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health. This website holds the most comprehensive collection of high-quality nutrient data for New Zealand foods. The Database is managed and maintained by dedicated Plant & Food Research staff.