While onions may have a reputation for their pungent aroma, they certainly pack a punch when it comes to flavour – raw or cooked.
They are among the most common staple foods found in kitchens across the globe. Why? They are an essential base for so many great, flavourful meals from Indian to Canadian cuisine and are so incredibly diverse. Onions can be a key ingredient in a soup, Greek salad or a decadent chip dip. The limit is your own gastronomic imagination!
Storage onions have dry, papery skin and vary in size, shape and flavour. Varieties include: large white and red, yellow cooking onions, and sweet Spanish and Vidalia, to name a few. The smaller onions include the pearl onion (terrific for stews) and the shallot, which makes for a fabulous vinaigrette.
How to Pick Onions:
They should always feel firm without any sprouts popping out the top and no powdery patches or black spots – that’s mould!
How to Store Onions:
Find a cool dark place where they can chill out on their own with lots of ventilation. Many of us keep them stored with potatoes; but believe it or not, potatoes decrease the lifespan of onions, causing them to rot prematurely. So stash them separately and try keeping the onions in a single layer.
If you have leftover onions already cut, the best way to store them is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in your refrigerator.
How to Prepare Onions:
Many of you have probably tried a multitude of techniques to cut back on the tear factor that these guys seem to produce. Here’s a trick that really seems to work and it’s very simple. Place your onion in the freezer for 20 minutes before it hits the chopping block. A sharp knife will also help keep those tears at bay!
If you want to chop like a pro, here’s a simple guide:
- Cut both the top and root off the onion and then cut the onion in half and peel off the papery skin.
- Place the cut side down on the cutting board.
- Now that your onion is in a stable position, you can slice, dice, chop quarter or mince, depending on what you’re making!
If you happen to have a lot to chop, pick out the larger ones and half the number of onions you need. Less chopping is always a bonus!
One medium onion = ¾ to 1 cup when chopped
Kary’s Onion Tips:
- The odour from the onion does seem to be a lingering one. If you find your cutting board smelling slightly like onion even after cleaning it well, give it a good scrub with baking soda and water.
- Try grating an onion into your burger meat. As the burgers cook, the onion will add moisture and flavour.
- To mellow the flavour of sliced raw onion, run it under cold running water. This is a great trick for salsa, salad’s and hot dog toppings.
What Do Onions go well with?
Onions taste great sautéed in butter and also go well with bacon, bread, cheese, cream, milk, garlic, oil, pepper, thyme, mushrooms, beef, beets, cucumbers and herbs such as dill, sage, mint, and parsley.