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A Guide To Buying And Cooking Onions

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Onions are one of those foods nearly everybody uses. They are essential to flavoring a wide variety of dishes, available in any supermarket, and easy to grow in your own yard.

But even though we all cook with them, many of us don’t know the best way to purchase and store them.

Here are some tips.

 

How to Buy Onions

Don’t just grab some onions and shove them into a plastic grocery bag. Take a moment to look them over – even if they are sold in a prepackaged bag.

They should be firm, without soft spots or dark areas, and should smell onion, not moldy or musty.

How to Buy Onions

 

How to Cook Onions

Know that each type of onion has its own unique flavor and characteristics.

How to Cook Onions

  • Yellow onions are usually the cheapest, and they are a good choice for most cooking.
  • Purple onions are more mild and sweet.
  • White onions are slightly sweeter than yellow onions, but when they are cooked, taste very similar.
  • Pearl onions are particularly sweet and mild.
  • Green onions (also called scallions) are simply young onions, harvested before their bulbs get very large; they are often used raw.
  • Sweet onions (such as Vidalia, Walla Walla, Maui, and Texas Spring) are creamy and mild and also often used raw.

 

How to Store Onions

Store onions in a cool, dry, dark location. If you grow your own, harvest them after the green parts fall down and let them cure in the sun for about a week. Don’t wash before storing; store in a single layer.

Ideal storage temperature for onions is 32 degrees F. to 40 degrees F., but unless you need to store them all winter, keeping them in the pantry will work just fine.

How to Store Onions

Some Other Tips About Onisons

Some Other Tips About Onisons

  • If any onions you’re storing develop green leaves, use them immediately. They will start rotting otherwise. But don’t toss the green tops; use them as you would green onions or scallions.
  • If you think your onions will go bad shortly, or you find a great deal on them at the grocery store, there are two ways to preserve them. One is to use the freezer: Chop or mince the onions, then stick them into a freezer bag and store in the freezer. As you need them, break off chunks and toss them into whatever you’re cooking. (I don’t recommend eating previously frozen onions raw.) Onions are also great dehydrated. Chop them and dehydrate at 135 degrees F.
  • Most cooks compost or throw away the papery skins of onion, but you can also toss them into soups.

 

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