Onions are the humble workhorse of the kitchen pantry, adding savory flavor to so many dishes — lunch, breakfast, and dinner. Here’s what you need to know about this incredibly versatile veggie.
Types of Onions
Bermuda and Spanish: yellow or white; mild flavor
Red or Italian: red; mild flavor
Globe: yellow, white, or red: stronger flavor
Pearl: marble-size; white; mild
Maui, Vidalia, and Walla Walla: pale yellow or white; sweet and mild flavor
Green Onions or Scallions: immature onions with white bottoms and green tops; mild flavor
Most onions are available fresh year-round. Some varieties of sweet onion are more seasonal.
Choose firm onions with dry, papery skins. Avoid onions that have brown or soft spots or onions with any emerging sprouts.
Store whole onions in a cool, dry spot that’s out of the sun. Onions can keep for months. For partially used onions, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or in a sealed container, and refrigerate. The onions will keep for several days.
Why does chopping onions cause stinging tears? Slicing through an onion releases sulfuric compounds that sting the eyes. The root end contains the most sulfuric compounds, so chop it last. To reduce the tears, chill onions for 30 minutes.
How to Cut an Onion
1) Slice the top part off the onion. Which end is the top? It’s opposite the root end.
2) Cut the onion in half lengthwise from the root end to the top.
3) Fold back the skin over the root end to expose the onion.
4) Make horizontal cuts:
5) Make vertical cuts:
6) Chop by cutting across the top of the onion:
Now that you have chopped onions, turn them into a dice or mince if you like.
VIDEO: How To Cut Onions
- Fig and Onion Spread
- Old Fashioned Onion Rings
- Sweet Onion Burgers
- More Sweet Onion Recipes
- More Onion Recipes
VIDEO: How to Make French Onion Soup
Watch Chef John apply some American ingenuity to French onion soup — he caramelizes the onions in the oven!
How to Grow Onions
Onions like cool weather, and can be planted and harvested earlier than most garden vegetables. They need sun and fertile, well-draining soil. There are two types of onions: long-day and short-day varieties. Ask the friendly folks at your local garden center which type grows best in your area.