Like a hint of onion in your cooking or salads? The easiest onions to grow and use in the Southwest are the wildly popular and prolific multiplier onions called I’itoi onions (Allium cepa). Pronounced “e-e-toy” these onions are simple to grow and delightful to use.

These are so easy to grow!
Where to Find Them

I’itoi onions are shared around Southern Arizona by gardeners. They are also sold through Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S). NS/S says that the ones they offer . . . “resemble the wild onions harvested on I’itoi Mountain, also known as Baboquivari Mountain, by Tohono O’odham people. The name I’itoi is signifies the Elder Brother.” I’itoi is defined to European culture as the “creator deity” in Tohono O’odham lore.

Nerd Note

Botanical studies place the I’itoi onion among a very old line of clumping onions brought to the Southwest by Jesuit missionaries sometime in the 1700’s.  These studies conclude that this onion is not necessarily a New World native.

I’itoi onions are related to shallots.
Tasty Onions

Whatever their botanical heritage, I’itoi onions are eagerly sought out by chefs for their mild shallot-like bulbs and slightly spicy greens. Their mildly peppery flavor pairs well with Southwestern cuisine. They are very easy to cultivate and in the low and middle desert, as reported on Savor Sister Jacqueline Soule’s website: this week – here.

I’itoi onion scones plus mesquite scones all ready for sale.

I’itoi Onion Scones

Makes 12.

Hard to double this well, but you can make two batches in a row while you have everything out.

all purpose flour or alternative – 2 cups *
baking powder – 1 tablespoon
baking soda – 1 teaspoon
salt – 1 teaspoon
I’itoi onion fresh green tops (chopped small) – about ½ cup
chilled soft goat cheese – ¼ cup
optionally similar soft cows milk cheese, like queso fresco
chilled half & half or whole milk – 1/3-cup
egg – 1 large or extra large (great with a duck egg!)

* What’s with the amounts after the ingredients?!
Sorry but Google gets all kinds of upset if we have two “sentences” in a row starting the same – with a “1” for example. It is frustrating indeed.



Preheat oven to 375.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add cheese and I’itoi onions and fold together.
Beat liquid and egg to in small bowl.
Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients and mix gently until dough forms.
Knead until firm but do not overwork.
Divide dough in half.
On lightly floured surface, flatten each piece into a 3/4-inch thick round wad of dough. Traditional – cut each large round into six wedges.
Place scones on cookie sheet with baking parchment or lightly sprayed with cooking oil.
Bake until tops are golden, about 25 minutes.

Serve with real butter.

Scones are traditionally made as almost triangular wedges.


soule-gardening-southwestIf you live in Southeastern Arizona, visit Savorist Monica King on Saturdays at the Arivaca Farmers Market, or come to one of Savorist Jacqueline Soule‘s free lectures. We try to mention both on our Facebook page. We both have copies of “Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today (Tierra del Sol Institute Press).” This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there we will get a few pennies. (Uncle Smokey is a hermit curmudgeon and doesn’t make public appearances.)
© Article copyright Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. You can use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit, plus you must include a link back to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.

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