Onions may give you something to cry about when you’re dicing and slicing the bulbs, but the tears you cry should always be for happiness and health. This vegetable comes in many varieties, each with its own flavor and texture, making each one good for particular dishes. However, all provide health-benefiting antioxidants and vitamins B1, B6, and C!
The yellow onion is the most common onion people use because it becomes sweeter the longer you cook it, making it amazing for stir-fry dishes, onion rings, and French onion soup. I find that yellow onions, thinly sliced up, provide a powerful onion flavor for sandwiches and salads. Eating them regularly gives the body dietary fiber necessary for promoting digestive health and provides quercetin, a crucial nutrient for heart health. To pick the best yellow onions, make sure they are free from dark-brown spots and are firm in texture with a rich yellow color.
Red onions are sweet in flavor with a deep-red, purplish color, which makes them perfect for eating raw on salads, in sandwiches, and as is. Many people enjoy grilling them with meat or vegetable kabobs too. I really enjoy roasting and serving them up over steaks or burgers. Red onions contain high amounts of allicin and chromium, which are antioxidants that prevent, reduce and relieve inflammation in the body while acting as natural antihistamines to fight off allergy symptoms. To pick the best red onion, look for deep-red, purplish skin and firmness.
White onions have a mild onion flavor, making them wonderful for raw salads, sauces, and Mexican cuisine dishes. When cooked, they caramelize into sweet tenderness, which makes them great for all kinds of dishes. This particular onion contains antibacterial properties, and many people use them to help fight the common cold, the flu and ear infections. To find the one with the best flavor and texture, I recommend making sure they are free from brownness and mushiness and have a strong, white color and firm texture to ensure crispness.
Cipollini Onions are bulbs of the grape hyacinth and taste like onions. The flesh is a slight yellowish color and the skins are thin and papery. These are sweeter onions, having more residual sugar than garden-variety white or yellow onions, but not as much as shallots. Cipollinis are small and flat and the shape lends them well to roasting. They can be used as an appetizer or vegetable.
Shallots are considered members of the onion family, but are smaller than onions and look more like garlic. Inside, they are sectioned into cloves like garlic. Shallots are strong, rich-tasting and reminiscent of both onions and garlic.
Green onions or scallions are milder tasting than large bulb onions. They are small, with a not fully developed white bulb end with long green stalks. Both parts can be eaten. People often eat them raw and they can enhance a number of different recipes.
Leeks are root vegetables that look similar to onions. They are much milder but their taste is like onions but not overpowering. The leek is related to both the garlic and the onion with broad, flat, dark green leaves that wrap tightly around each other.
As one of the premier fruit and vegetable markets in the Metro Detroit area, Nino’s carries fresh onions, imported from Georgia, and California, at different times throughout the year. In fact, we carry many different varieties, including sweet, red, white, green and knob onions, just to mention a few.
Stop into Nino’s today for your pick of fresh onions, and be sure to try them out in the delicious recipes below! And if you need some additional information checkout Chef Pete’s blog.