In Season: Onions

by in In Season, August 31, 2009

onions
We take onions for granted because you can find them in the supermarket year round. Freshly picked, however, they’re quite a flavorful treat. From shallots to Vidalias, there’s a variety for just about every savory dish you want to cook up.

What, Where & When?
Onions are one of the oldest foods around. Experts have found evidence that ancient Egyptians cultivated the bulbs to eat and use when burying their dead (they thought the shape and concentric layers represented eternal life). The ancient Greeks, meanwhile, thought they improved physical fitness, and in the Middles Ages, people gave them as gifts or money. These days, onions are one of most commonly grown veggies in the U.S.

Onion, of course, is just a general term for a whole group of veggies. To break it down, there are two main types: round, sturdy “bulb” onions (which come in red, white and yellow) and tender, elongated “bunching” onions (scallions). Other smaller varieties include shallots and pickling onions.

Yellow: These are most commonly used in cooked foods; they have a strong flavor due to their high sulfur content, which mellows when cooked. Spanish onions, which are slightly larger and sweeter, also fall in this category.

White: Also good for cooking, they are less pungent than the yellow ones and have a cleaner, fresher flavor.

Red: Red varieties, the sweetest of the family, work well raw or cooked and add a nice color to dishes.

Scallions: Also called spring onions, they’re typically green and white in color, slender and don’t keep as long. Scallions have a crisp, mild onion taste and work well when sprinkled on a dish as a garnish.

Shallots: Smaller, more delicate and sweet, these onions typically have brown skins with light purple and white flesh. They’re best served lightly sautéed or raw in salad dressings.

Pickling Onions: Many types of smaller onions fall into this category, but any onion can be pickled.

Nutrition Facts
Onions are low in calories (a cup has about 65) but are packed with vitamin C, fiber and energy-producing B-vitamins such as B6 and folate. Onions are also rich in antioxidants — quercetin and phenolic acid, to name a couple. Quercetin helps combat inflammation and some research links it to prevention of lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute says onions in general have moderate protective benefits against cancer.

What To Do With Onions
Whether you like your onions raw or cooked, you first have to cut them. That’s where the watery eyes come in. I find the fresher the onion, the more tears I have to deal with. The crying is brought on by the sulfur that’s released when you slice into the veggie. There are many theories for how to avoid the tears. I’ve heard that lighting a candle nearby will suck up some of the sulfur. Others suggest cutting the onion under water or popping it in the freezer for five minutes first. You can even buy onion-cutting goggles (a little excessive, no?); glasses or contacts, if you happen to wear them, might help some. I haven’t found a sure-fire method myself, but the flavor they add to dishes makes them worth a few tears.

Onions are part of the classic culinary combo “mirepoix” (onion, celery and bell pepper), and they have an aromatic quality that adds a good base flavor to all kinds of dishes, from roasted meats and fish to soups, sauces and casseroles. When I want a more robust flavor, I thinly slice raw red onions and hit them with a bit of fresh lemon juice; the pieces add crispness and heat to salads, sandwiches and wraps. You can also grill, roast or sauté onions for topping burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and salads. The smaller varieties have plenty of great uses, too: chopped shallots in vinaigrette and scallions pieces on top of rice dishes, tacos and guacamole.

Shopping Tip: Choose bulb onions that are round and firm; avoid ones that are bruised or moldy. Once cut, refrigerate in an air-tight container or bag to protect other produce from picking up that distinctive onion odor. Store uncut, bulb onions in a cool, dry place for several months. Keep your scallions in the fridge and use them within a week or two.

TELL US: What is your favorite onion recipe? Any tips on tearless cutting?

More posts from .
Tags:

Similar Posts

More Reasons to Love Cranberries

These red gems are in season for only a short while. Enjoy them while you can!

Comments (42)

  1. I would love to express my gratitude for your variety-heartedness in assist of people that really will need help on your area of attention. Your real commitment to acquiring the communication alongside turned out to generally be remarkably insightful and have the many time enabled folks similar to me to comprehend their pursuits. This warm and pleasant tutorial signifies a complete ton an individual like me and additional extra to my friends. Finest wishes; from all of us of us.

  2. Many swtor credits are the Best. I enjoy just how i’m able to draw them with nearly every little thing. Found on Tuesdays I can are able to university or college previous so i can actually put on items swtor credits along with head. never complications generally there. :) Issues aren’t keen on with regards to it is always that this task before now gives you wrinkles plus Herbal bud exclusive applied these folks Five times. Besides that Provided that they are possess additional grouses.

  3. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this internet site in advance of but immediately after browsing as a result of some of your publish I realized it really is new to me. Anyhow, I am absolutely content I located it and I will be book-marking and checking back often!

  4. I’ve alleged that least 4435801 times. SCK was here

  5. Voice of America (blog)

  6. My partner and I received an enormous amount of pleasure from the weblog publish. We feel which you will delight within this small quote to return the favour. “A fanatic is one particular who can’t change his mind and will not change the topic.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

  7. Mr. Admin, I discovered few problems while opening this web page. Make sure you fix all of them immediatelly.

  8. I just is not planning on buying many of these diablo 3 gold, nonetheless watched these items in the go shopping what been required to buy them. They search wonderful through nearly anything I truly convey with regards to purchase a great deal of flatters. In my view, they can fit perfectly so are very easy to go along. I’ve got a number of issue getting them to aside the remained shoe, though. My hubby and i got these products from my dimensions where they squeeze, thus i sdiablo 3 goldest getting your dimension maybe small amount of more robust. One additional (smallish) criticism since scuffed up quite simply. They cleared up well, but I really have to completely clean these items constantly.

  9. rump says:

    After I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any manner you possibly can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  10. I like the dress but know you would glance fab in both! I cannot believe every thing in the store are going to be 1/2 off! WOW, wish I lived closer because I like The Limited.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>