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Old 08-09-2006, 02:36 PM   #1
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Question Onion problem

I cut into an onion this morning and it was so strong it almost took my breath away, it was a yellow one. Are the white onions milder in odor and taste? Do you use a different onion for a certain recipe? Would you use the same one for slicing, to put on a burger as you would use in chili or in a salad? I am never sure which one to buy. Thanks for any help you can give me.

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Old 08-09-2006, 02:43 PM   #2
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It all depends. There are many different onions and they all have varying levels of heat. I like to buy sweet yellow onions (Vadallia or something similar) for things like putting on top of burgers, but I like hot white ones for dicing and putting on top of chili. It is really personal preference though. There is no right or wrong. Try a few different kinds so you know what they taste like and then use the ones you like.
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Old 08-09-2006, 02:53 PM   #3
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i personally like the red onions for burgers, and use white sweet ones for cooking
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoAnn L.
I cut into an onion this morning and it was so strong it almost took my breath away, it was a yellow one. Are the white onions milder in odor and taste? Do you use a different onion for a certain recipe? Would you use the same one for slicing, to put on a burger as you would use in chili or in a salad? I am never sure which one to buy. Thanks for any help you can give me.

While different types of onions differ in sharpness of their flavor, age can also play a part.

Most supermarkets offer a variety of onions. They all work in recipes but offer slightly different flavor profiles. Buy a few and experiment.
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:17 PM   #5
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Have found that yellow onions do vary significantly in 'sharpness', maybe that is an appropriate term.

We just buy them in the markets and find a great variability in them.

Guess it may just vary with the conditions of the soil they are grown in, the amount of water they get, who knows.

But if we want a less pungent onion, for slices on burgers for example, will go for the Vidalias or similar sweet onions.
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:21 PM   #6
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yellow onions are generally the strongest. some are labled NEW YORK BOLD, a very strong onion, great for braising in broth and butter and serving as a veg because it really sweetens under heat.

White onions tend to be milder, red onions sweeter, sweet onions (wala wala, vidalia, texas sweets) are the sweetest for serving raw. Pearl onions can also be quite sharp raw.
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Old 08-09-2006, 03:47 PM   #7
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I like all kinds of onions, but generally buy Vidalia and regular yellow onions, which seem sweeter than they used to. My impression is that older onions tend to be stronger, but that's just a guess.

A bigger problem for me is cutting into an onion and finding that one or more of the inner layers has gone bad -- by that I mean that it's turned an off color, kind of translucent and somewhat slimy, starting to rot. I always toss the whole thing. This has become much more common in the last few years, maybe because the onions are coming from farther away or are just older by the time they get to market than they used to be. So now I always check the ends of each onion carefully when I'm in the market -- if either the root end or more commonly the top is at all soft, I toss it back and pick another.
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Old 08-09-2006, 05:36 PM   #8
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It's interesting to see the varieties of onions available in the US.... we don't have named varieties like Vidalia etc.

We have sweet Spanish onions that are less pungent and great in salads. We have red onions which I use in salads and in things like onion marmalade. We also have the bog-standard onions with brown skins which I tend to use in stews, casseroles and if I'm making fried onions.

If I want a less pungent onion, I tend to use shallots or leeks.
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Old 08-09-2006, 05:58 PM   #9
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I always keep the yellow Spanish onions on hand because they are good keepers and I like them for cooking. I also usually have a couple of sweet onions on hand for using fresh or caramelizing.
Sometimes I buy the red onions if I'm planning a special salad where I need the color, and in the winter I like to get the little boiling onions to use in soups or stews.
I really don't use the white onions, except for the little boilers...the ones I've had are awfully strong.

I'd like to try some shallots one of these days...they're quite pricey here, but I've heard they are very good.
I love leeks, and buy them whenever I get a chance.
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Old 08-10-2006, 02:32 AM   #10
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shallots are very handy too if you only need a little bit of onion to cook...i just hate to halve an onion and chuck it away or leave it for another day (which then dries up and i have to chuck it away anyway).

to be honest, i only notice the taste of the onion i'm using when it's eaten raw or almost raw (like in burgers or salads) or when i need to caramelize it...but for sauteing and stew purposes, i don't really notice the difference in the end product
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