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Rödlök från Genova

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Artikelnr. DBO

The Red Genovese onion is a spherical onion, lightly flattened at the poles. It is mainly cultivated in Val Graveglia, in the inland areas of Chiavari, Lavagna and Sestri Levante in eastern Liguria. It is also known by the name of Zerli onion, from the name of a town in the area. The bulb is of medium size and quite sweet. It is very appreciated and is eaten mainly raw or as an ingredient in the savory tarts traditional to this area of Liguria, like the baciocca, made with potatoes and lard.   The harvest is usually done in two phases: cipollotto (young, fresh onion) and in its mature form. This is the result of a traditional cultural practice of seeding a high number of onions per square meter at the time of transplant, then gradually thinning the harvest. In April and May, it is possible to eat the greens of the onion, leaving the bulb to mature in the soil to be collected in June or July, at which point it can be harvested for cooking.   The onion was considered an excessively nutrient-draining crop, so much so that in some land lease contracts it was listed as a prohibited crop. This was because of the use of fertilizers that did not include nitrogen, and for this reason it should be preceded in fields by a legume crop. Today, while it is appreciated in its production zone, it is little known in neighboring areas. Therefore, many are unaware of its unique culinary properties and do not seek the variety out compared to other types of red onions, or give any economic reason to encourage farmers to cultivate this variety.