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Tosca onions are elongated, torpedo-shaped bulbs that weigh around 5 ounces. Each bulb grows in a single clove and ranges from 12 to 17 centimeters in length. Their shiny, parchment-like skin is light-gold to tan in color. The flesh of the Tosca onion is creamy white, juice and pungent. Tosca onions offer a mildly sweet flavor with hints of nuttiness, likened as a blend between the flavor of a white onion and a shallot.
Tosca onions are available throughout the fall and winter months.
Tosca onions, botanically classified as Allium cepa, are considered a European specialty onion. They are a winter variety, storing well throughout the winter months.
Tosca onions contain vitamins A, C and B, as well as the essential minerals of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
Tosca onions may be consumed either raw or cooked. They impart a shallot-like sweetness and depth of flavor to soups, stocks, broths and sauces, and may be used in place of most other onions in recipes. Flavor pairings include mushrooms, red wine, and herbs such as parsley, sorrel and thyme. To use Tosca onions, score the skin across the length of the bulb, and peel it off before chopping. Their shape works well for lots of symmetrical slices. Store Tosca onions in a cool, dry place where they are good for up to 2 months.
Onions are presumably a prehistoric crop and believed to have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. The Romans frequently utilized onions, including bringing them on their travels, using them to cure vision loss, insomnia, heal mouth sores and toothaches, and lumbago. In Europe, onions were considered one of three staple vegetables in the Middle Ages, alongside beans and cabbage. There, onions were often recommended to treat headaches, snakebites, and hair loss, and could be used as payment for rent or presented at weddings as a gift.
Tosca onions seeds are sold throughout Europe, though their exact origin is unclear. Because their bulbs are long and thin, they are an ideal variety for growing in gardens with limited space.