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Onions

Onions

Onions are more than nature's star tear-jerker. They also happen to be loaded with flavor, making them a sweet and crisp ingredient for all seasons.

Nutritional Highlights

  • The onion is one low calorie veggie. Though it’s packed with flavor, an onion only has about 45 calories in a medium bulb.
  • The onion also contains vitamin C, an essential antioxidant that helps repair body tissue and heal wounds.

History

Even in ancient Egypt, people were captivated by onions' layers upon layers upon layers. Today, we also love these bulbs because they're inexpensive, they keep well in winter and they add flavor and crunch to nearly any dish. No wonder the average American eats about 20 pounds of onions in a year!

Varieties

Onions come in varieties big and small, white or colorful, sweet or tangy. Generally, you can buy three types of onions at the grocery store: spring and summer onions (which are soft and sweet), storage onions (which are firmer and have a perkier taste) and pearl onions (which have white skin and are on the smallish side). Also, look for onions in three colors: yellow (the most common), reddish purple or white.

When are Onions in Season?

Many onion varieties peak in spring or late summer, but overall, you won't have trouble getting your hands on onions at any time of year.

How to Choose Onions

When searching for good onions, it's not too tough to pick out a winner. A ripe onion will feel hard and dry, with crackly, peeling skin on the outside. It'll have a mild but distinct aroma. Avoid onions that have greenish patches or open necks on top, since these may be either underripe or headed for spoilage.

How to Store Onions

The beauty of onions is that they don't need to be stored in the fridge. It's best to keep them in the pantry or another cool, dry, dark place. Just be careful not to store them next to potatoes, since your spuds naturally emit a gas that makes onions go bad.

How to Cook with Onions

There are so many ways to make use of onions that it almost brings a tear to your eye! Onions are good raw, stir-fried, baked, stewed, braised, sautéed or even microwaved. When raw, they'll add a sharp, tangy crunch to salads, burgers and sandwiches. Cooked onions, on the other hand, turn golden brown and have a mild, sweet flavor. To prep your onions, start by peeling away their dry outer skin until you get to flesh that is moist and bright. Next, use a paring knife to slice away the puckered ends of the bulb. Now cut your onion neatly in two. To make large onion slices, set one half on its flat side and chop it with close, parallel slices. To dice, turn your knife 90 degrees and do the same thing again. Quick Tip: Chopping onions will irritate your eyes and have you tearing up. While there's no proven way to spare your eyes, if you're extra sensitive you can try submerging your onions in a sinkful of cold water and carefully chop them there.

Key Measurements

Most recipes will call for onions in slices, sections or cups (chopped or diced).

Substitutions

Besides fresh onions, you can try using leeks, garlic or even a bit of onion powder. If you're worried about onion breath, try chewing a sprig of parsley after your meal.

Onions in Recipes

Start a dinner party off right by surprising your guests with a dish of Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Onions, a warm twist on an old classic.

Next, you can get their mouths watering with an irresistible Healthified French Onion Soup.

And finally, hit 'em with a casserole they can't refuse: Bacon-Caramelized Onion Macaroni and Cheese with Crispy Herb Topping.

Related Recipes

Reviews & Comments

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