Types of Onions and How to Use Them
The more you cook it, the more you realize how often onions come in handy. Let's learn more about this vegetable, as it is a staple for home cooks.
Interesting fact: Onions make you cry because of their sulfur content. This is what gives them their flavor, but it's also what gives them their bite. It's a trendy vegetable - that's for sure. There are several types of onions, and you can use most of them in a similar way, but they all have their pros and cons.
If you have to choose one type of onion to buy, yellow onions are the most versatile. They taste best when caramelized, and you can sauté them with (or without) garlic as the base for several dishes. However, when they're raw they can be overpowering, so leave your burger toppings to the white onions to do. You can also grill and roast yellow onions.
As you may have guessed, sweet onions are very sweet. They contain less sulfur than other varieties, so they don't pack as much of a punch. They also have a slightly different shape - flatter and more oval than round.
While not as sweet as sweet onions, red onions do swing on the sweeter side of the spectrum because they contain more sugar. They taste great in potato salad and empanadas. They are a key topping on barbecue pizza as well. They are arguably the easiest onions to eat raw. But if you want to cook a red onion, then try it.
Of all the onions, it stands up to grilling the best. The sugar also makes them a suitable candidate for caramelization, although it tastes slightly different from yellow onions.
Although they're pungent and they still make you weep when you cut them open, they're much easier to eat raw than yellow onions. Vidalia onions are actually a white onion, although they are mistaken for sweet onions.
Long, thin and green, shallots look completely different from other members of the onion family. They are more fragile and don't caramelize. You can sauté them, but that's not their strong suit, and you don't want to leave them under direct heat for too long.
They make a nice raw garnish on pasta and rice, and they are delicious when mixed with other salad greens.
These brightly colored miniature onions have a sweet, mild flavor. You can find them in red, white and golden varieties. They are perfect for adding them to peeled and whole soups and stews, baking or pickling. The biggest challenge is to peel the pearl onions. Cut the end tips, then blanch them in hot water for 30 seconds, then shock them in cold water to get the skins off easily.
Onions are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. They also have a few antioxidants, especially red onions. Onions also have antibacterial properties. A special benefit of onions is that they contain a lot of flavor and nutrients without increasing the calorie content.
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