Cavasso Onions

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

The foothills of western Friuli, and in particular the corner enclosed between the Meduna and Cosa streams until fifty years ago featured rich and lush crops, including cabbages, shallots, beans, apple trees, pears, potatoes, but above all, onions with a typical red tunic and golden reflections. The latter appears with pinker shades in the Val Cosa area.
Inside these onions, there’s a crunchy and sweet heart, which tastes incredibly good, but not spicy, also when consumed raw.

Cavasso onions used to be highly appreciated in all the surrounding territories, for their golden color with purple speckles, their crunchy consistency, the sweet taste and several beneficial purifying properties.
Their cultivation was very profitable in the past and the women, in late January, sowed them in sheltered soil, transplanted them after a couple of months and eventually harvested them at the end of the summer. After letting the onions rest and dry in the attics of their homes, they would intertwine the stems with marsh grass – called “palut” (which proved particularly resistant and flexible), and made braids with the biggest vegetables. Smaller onions were, instead, intended for conservation in vinegar.

Industrialization, the 1976 earthquake, as well as mass marketing, hardly ever focused on real quality, have drastically reduced the production of this vegetable which was eventually found only in private gardens for personal use.
Nonetheless, thanks to the Red Onion Association of producers from Cavasso Nuovo, (established only a year ago), the tradition of cultivating these red onions is now becoming more popular once again. Some emigrants, who have recently returned to these areas, have proved vital for re-discovering the ancient tradition of this cultivation, along with proper care and selection of the original seeds treasured by the elders for a long time.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Cavasso Nuovo(PN)

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