5 Types of Onions

Have you ever pulled up a recipe that just calls for “1 chopped onion” and not had a clue what type of onion to buy and use? Here’s a quick guide to get you up to speed on 5 of the most common varieties of onions and their optimal uses:


Yellow Onion: If the recipe doesn’t specify, go with a yellow onion. Yellow onions have a yellow papery outer layer, and are white inside. They have a sharp, somewhat spicy flavor raw, but caramelize well and become sweet because of their high sugar content. It is the high sulfur content in yellow onions that makes you cry when chopping!

White Onion: These are the largest in the onion family, have a lot of water in them making them super crunchy, and they are not very sweet. White onions are typically used in Mexican cooking.

Red Onion: These are relatively mild, best eaten raw in guacamole, salsa, on hamburgers, or in a salad. They add color and crunch!

Sweet Onion: These are best for roasted veggie dishes and making onion rings! Also a great choice for French onion soup since it’s so sweet!

Shallot: The mildest of the 5 varieties listed here. These are good in soups, vinaigrettes and egg bakes.


A few more fun facts about onions:

  • Scallions and green onions are the same thing.

  • When buying an onion, choose one that isn’t too potent, with a dry, flaky outer skin.

  • Onions store best in cool, dark, well-ventilated areas.

  • When sautéing onions, use low or medium heat since high heat will make them taste bitter!

  • Refrigerate an onion for about a half hour before cutting to reduce the sulfur/crying effect

Sources:
  •   http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/276714.php
  •   http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/06/differences-between-onions-yellow-red-vidalia-what-are-ramps-shallots-how-to-cook-with-onions-guide.html

    Stefanie Hathaway
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2016
    Email the author! stefanie@dvo.com


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