It’s no surprise that onions have layers...
But did you know that there are layers to how to use onions?
Image by Nick Fewings
Unless you’re familiar with the different types of onions that grace our grocery aisles, you may be surprised to learn that there are so many kinds! Even though some may look incredibly similar, most onion varieties have very different characteristics. Onions come in so many different colors, shapes, sizes, and even flavors! You’re probably familiar with some of these different types of onions, but are you familiar with how they can best be used?
It may not seem important at first, but knowing the properties that each type of onion has can help you know the best ways to utilize each of their unique flavors! Consider this a guide to understanding the different types of onions and the best ways to make the most out of these interesting root vegetables!
Image by Mayu Ken
Sweet onions come in several varieties, including Vidalia, Maui, and Walla Walla. In fact, if the name of an onion variety starts with the word “sweet,” it is considered a sweet onion! These onions differ from the other types of onion in that they are much more mild and sweet than the sharp taste that usually characterizes onions. What gives them their sweet personality is that sweet onions are packed full of water and have much less sulfur than other types of onions.
Sweet onions are great for a number of dishes, but particularly anything fried. Onion rings and blooming onions are some great dish options, but roasted dishes such as gratins and roasted vegetable medleys work well too. Since sweet onions are filled with a decent amount of water, they are able to be cooked to achieve that perfect onion crisp!
Image by Epicurious
Similar to sweet onions, white onions are on the softer and more mild side of the onion flavor spectrum. However, they offer more of a sharp zing than the sweet varieties. White onions have layers of thin, papery skin that protects the crunchy root core and sport a milky white color.
White onions offer a delicious crunch which makes them perfect for garnishing dishes or being served raw. Examples of where white onion flavors will shine are salsas, chilis, and a zesty stir-fry!
Image by Thomas Martinsen
Red onions, despite their namesake, feature a warm burgundy color, making them a particularly beautiful addition to the dishes they accompany. These colorful onions have much more kick than their other onion contemporaries, and are enjoyed in a variety of different dishes. Red onions are delightedly served raw in salads, guacamole, sandwiches, and as a garnish. They can also be pickled and are preferable for grilling, as well!
Image by Lars Blankers
Yellow onions can be considered the standard when it comes to onions for cooking. These reliable roots are characterized by a soft yellow, papery skin that can be used for more than just a coat for the onion’s bulb! These onion skins can be boiled in hot water to create a soft yellow dye for fabrics like homemade paper and yarn! In fact, all types of onion skin can be used for this fun and creative DIY project!
Yellow onions are high in starch, making them better able to withstand heat exposure. In turn, yellow onions are ideal for baking, roasting, sauteeing, and caramalizing! Enjoy the sharp taste of yellow onions in meat roasts, braised meat dishes, sauces, soups, stews, and so much more!
Image by Burhan Rexhepi
Shallots are the adorable and flavorful sibling of traditional onions. These offer a mild and much more subtle taste and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, including raw, and sauteed. We recommend using shallots in homemade vinaigrettes, egg casseroles, and as a garnish!
Now that we’ve gone over some of the properties of the most popular types of onions, you can show off your culinary skills and use them to their full potential!
We hope you enjoy this article for An Easy Guide to Onions! If you tried incorporating these things into your regular routine, make sure to let us know! For more recipes, follow us on social media and make sure to check out our weekly blog posts where we share our new favorite recipes and must-know facts about food and living a healthy lifestyle! Check out the other meal options Mealfit provides such as our Weekly Specials, Individual Meals, and other Meals by the Pound.