Ark of Taste
Landrace Red Creole Onion
Allium cepa v. Red Creole
Since its heyday at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Red Creole Onion has declined from a standard southern crop onion to a regional backyard variety. Moreover, its place in home gardens since the 1980s has been increasingly supplanted by sweet onion varieties. However, the Red Creole has been of such historical importance that heirloom seed companies feel obliged to maintain seed lines for this variety.
The Red Creole became a standard crop onion in Louisiana in the 1850s and was the first choice field cultivar until the First World War. In 1899, the various experimental stations in the South began making comparative assessments of the profitability of the Creole versus the Bermuda onion, and generally discovered that Bermuda onions generated more money when hand cultivated and harvested. This conclusion marked the decline of the Creole as a crop onion, and heralded its long twentieth century reign as a favorite garden and produce stand allium in the South.
With a clear, spicy-sweet flavor of medium heat, this onion develops a sweet, mellow flavor when caramelized. It is considered by many in the south to be the ideal onion for incorporation with peppers and celery in composite dishes and stews.
The Red Creole Onion is a short day, firm fleshed onion, with modest-sized thick flat bulbs and red coloration. Noteworthy for its vigorous growth under humid, semi-tropical conditions, which makes it an ideal variety for deep south cultivation. Regarded as a hardy onion, it has a long growing season, averaging 110 in Spring/Summer, 220 in Fall Winter. Depending upon growing zone the plant averages from 24 to 36 inches in height. Its drought tolerance, resistant to purple blotch and light frost, as well as its superior keeping qualities after harvest gain it a well-earned reputation as an especially hardy onion.