The red onion of Tropea has been IGP product since 2008, and is a cultivar typical of Tyrrenic Calabria, and in a particular way of the area between Nicotera, Amantea and between Briatico and Capo Vaticano.
The red onion of Tropea: History and tradition
The red onion of Tropea has been cultivated for over 2000 years. It was the Phoenicians and the Greeks, in fact, who introduced the cultivation and the consumption of the onion to the coasts of Calabria. The seed of this onion, in fact, was imported directly from Phoenicia, and immediately found an ideal habitat in this region.
The territory in which the red onion of Tropea thrives is characterized by a stable microclimate, especially in winter, without significant temperature changes thanks to the influence of the sea. For over a century, this food excellence has been particularly appreciated not only in Calabria but also all over Italy and abroad. The name “Di Tropea” is derived from the fact that these red onions used to be brought to the railway station of Tropea, from which they then departed to be marketed.
The characteristics of the red onion of Tropea
The red onion of Tropea comes in three shapes: spinning top, truncated-conical or oval. The shape is linked, respectively, to different flavors: The first is sweet, the second bittersweet, the third of intense flavor. The bulb is usually planted in well-worked and flat soils, fertilized in a traditional way, and is watered in the absence of rain. Generally, all the operations concerning its cultivation are carried out by hand by the farmers according to ancient tradition. The onion is sown in the summer at the end of August and in the first days of September, to be planted between November and February. The harvest – usually between May and June – begins when the leaves are dry. The onion is left on the ground to complete its natural drying. Afterwards, the onions are placed in shelters under special canopies and then selected and intertwined.
The onion is sown in the summer at the end of August and in the first days of September, to be planted between November and February. The harvest – usually between May and June – begins when the leaves are dry. The onion is left on the ground to complete its natural drying. Afterwards, the onions are placed in shelters under special canopies and then selected and intertwined.
Cuisine and Health
The Red of Tropea is appreciated both raw and as an ingredient in dishes and recipes of the Mediterranean cuisine. It is, in fact, particularly used in summer salads, but also in the preparation of the onion tart, typical of the culinary tradition of Tropea. It is ideal for preparing a tasty “soffritto” but also to make excellent pickled onions and to make a saucy jam to be combined with meats and seasoned cheeses.
Furthermore, the nutritional and organoleptic characteristics make it an agri-food product with strong curative qualities. The red onion, in fact, contains a high quantity of glucose, potassium sodium and carotenes, being of course poor in fats. In this sense, it is particularly appreciated for the treatment of intestinal infections, for the prevention of cardiovascular and skin diseases, in the treatment of kidney stones and flu, and it is an antihemorrhagic and a natural diuretic.