According to the National Onion Association, onions were first grown in and around Iran and Pakistan. However, others argue they were first cultivated near the Mediterranean Sea nearly 5,000 years ago. We get it – onions are so flavorful and nutritious, we’d be clamoring to claim them, as well!
Yellow: Hot-flavored, heat will not vary with size. Good for cooking in any heated dish where subtlety is not an issue. Boilers are excellent for baking, roasting, stewing and boiling.
Red: Sharp, sweet, pungent. Uncooked reds are great additions to salads. When cooked, red onions will lose their red hue.
White: Hot-flavored; sharper, with a clean flavor. White onions are good for cooking in any heated dish and are most commonly used in Mexican cuisine. The first taste is sweet and followed by a sharper flavor. Boilers are good for baking, roasting, stewing, pickling and boiling.
Care & Handling
Good yellow onions should be unblemished, firm to hard, free of cuts and bruises, with short, dry necks and papery outer skins. Good red onions are somewhat crisper with a coarser texture and thick wrapper skins. They are, however, more perishable than white or yellow onions and should have dry necks and be unblemished. Good white onions should be unblemished, firm to hard, free of cuts and bruises, with short, dry necks and papery outer skins.
Fresh onions should be stored in a well-ventilated, cool, dry place, or refrigerated for a short period to sustain their quality. Storage onions are much easier to keep. They can be kept for weeks, or even months, in a cool, dry well-ventilated place, without loss of vitamins or minerals. Don't store them in a sack though; separating onions by storing them in a single layer will ensure a longer storage life. Avoid sunlight as it can cause green sun spots. Onions will freeze at 30.6 F. – Is there a definition of storage onions? How are they identified on store shelves??
Variations in their preparation can change their impact on any dish. Take, for example, a hamburger with onions. A raw, diced storage onion can be added to the raw hamburger patty. The resulting patty will have more texture, and the onion flavor will be sharper, than if the diced onion was first sautéed. Using a yellow storage onion rather than a white will result in a softer flavor. Using a sweet onion would vary this even further. Or you could change the impact by sautéing onion rings until soft; then putting them on top of the hamburger patty. In this version, both yellow and white storage onions would taste sweeter and less pungent. As you can see, the possibilities are numerous. Be sure to use very sharp, high-carbon stainless-steel knives in handling onions. Pure carbon steel will tend to discolor the onions.
Nutrition & Health Benefits:
Today, several hundred varieties of onions grow in temperate climates all around the world and most of them share many of the same nutrients. Traditional onions have lots of vitamin C and B6, as well as folate, potassium and manganese.