Usually, a recipe calls for “diced onion,” but seldom specifies exactly which type of onion to use. Some use the onion we are most familiar with, (or use the one mom tells us to when we call to ask!) but different onions can actually make a lot of difference in your meal. Check out the list below and see if you are already using the right onions for your meals…and see if you can tell the difference!
Yellow Onions have the strongest flavor. They are great in soups, stews, sauces, and roast well. If you’ve got a stew that needs to simmer for hours on end, this onion will hold up the best. Due to its high sugar content, yellow onions carmalize well. They are sometimes referred to as “brown onions” because of their skins, but once you cut into them, the yellow color is visible. Economically, this onion is the cheapest because it is the most popular.
Sweet Onions have a fairly strong flavor, and are best used for frying. You might spot this onion in the supermarket named after the region it was grown: Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Bermuda onions, for example. High is sugar (less than yellow onions), these are also good for carmelizing. This onion will not last as long on your kitchen counter because it contains more water than other onions.
Red Onions have a mild flavor, which is why they are used raw in salads or as toppings. They slice thinner than others and pickle easily. They are easier to grill than other onions, but they will not carmelize due to a low sugar content.
White Onions have a strong flavor with thinner layers. They are used raw in dishes that need a strong flavor but a crisp bite, such as in salsa or as a pizza topping.
Did you know these distinctions already, or did you learn something new?
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