Silver skins have been grown in the Netherlands for over 100 years.
Our country is the largest producer worldwide of these beautiful
Nowadays, silver skins are mainly grown mechanically, but 100 years
ago horse and cart were still used for sowing. Any other work was
done manually – spudding out weeds, harvesting the onions and also
peeling them. To preserve the silver skins longer they were covered
in brine and kept in old oak whisky barrels.
A proper description of the harvest in bygone days is available
in the book “Merijntje Gijzens Jeugd” (Youth of Merijntje Gijzen)
by A.M. de Jong: “the onions were pulled up and scratched out, then
twisted of the stems and thrown in a basket …. full baskets were
emptied on the harvested parts of the field… the onions were rubbed
on the dry soil with flat hands, until all skins had disappeared.
And the bulbs turned white and shiny like silver...”