Onion is one of the oldest vegetables we know. It is an important part of Slovenian cuisine since almost every Slovenian recipe starts with frying some unions. Here we will present to you a very special onion from an eastern part of Slovenia that is unique to this geographical region: Ptujski lük.
Slovenian name of this particular kind of onion is Ptujski lük. Ptujski means that is from Ptuj, which is the oldest city in Slovenia. This area has been populated already in the Stone Age and the city Ptuj developed from a Roman military port. The word lük is an old regional name for onion. Inhabitants of this area are producing this particular type of onion for more than 200 years! In the old times, so-called lükarji were selling them from door to door. Although this profession is long gone, people still celebrate the tradition by organizing a special celebration once a year – Lükarski praznik. This celebration happens in the end of August and brings together producers and lovers of Ptujski lük. Visitors can buy onions for storage or enjoy delicious traditional dishes prepared with Ptujski lük.
It is important to know that Ptujski lük is an autochthonous variety and has a status of protected geographical indication. Therefore, farmers produce Ptujski lük only in the dedicated area of the municipality of Ptuj. In fact, at the moment there are only five certified producers of this onion spreading over five hectares of the land. All of these onions are ecological, handpicked and hand-packed. You can recognise Ptujski lük by its characteristic heart shape and red-white color of the onion meat. This onion is famous for its sharpness so prepare that it will make you cry.
Ptujski lük is an aromatic, sharp and mildly sweet onion. Since it dissolves very fast and does not get brown easily, it is prefect for cooking goulash and meat based sauces. You can also eat it raw in a salad or in a cheese spread. Ptujski lük is also very good for preparing the onion bread. The characteristic taste of this onion will make any recipe super delicious. Just make sure to store these onions in a dark, dry and airy place.
Ptujski lük is particularly rich in vitamins and minerals. Onions are as a natural antibiotics and diuretics perfect for home remedies. Onion tea is for example very good for easing cough and common cold. Moreover, people use onions it also for treating insect bites and for easing digestion problems. So, to keep your immune system boosted make sure to eat at least one Ptujski lük per day.
Now that you know this first geographically protected vegetable in Slovenia, make sure to search for Ptujski lük at your local farmers market or supermarket. If you are lucky, you will find onions braided together in a beautiful wreath. The tradition of braiding onions is another typical thing of this geographical area.