Onions are a part of the Allium family (same as with garlic, scallions and chives). Onions are used as an ingredient to different kinds of dishes everywhere. There are different kinds of onion species that varies in size, shape, color, the region where it grows and flavor. In today’s post, we have gathered some of the widely used and most popular types of onions.
Different Types Of Onions
Onions are versatile in nature, it can offer unique and exciting flavors to your dishes. You can either fry or sauté, boil. roast, beef or roast, either way it’ll make your dish come alive. Not only that, you can used onions raw by adding them to your salads. Listed below are the different types of onions and each of their uses. Read on this article for more details of each types of onions.
Yellow onions are also known for as Brown onions. Yellow Onions have a strong and powerful flavor, although not as strong and powerful as white onions. They are the most common type of onions used in the United States and in grocery stores everywhere.
Yellows onions are sometimes mistaken as Spanish onions, although Yellow onion is much larger and a little sweeter.
Yellow onion are used generally in different varieties of recipes and cuisines.
Red Onions are also known for as Purple Onions. Typically has a sweet and mild taste. They have a purplish to reddish skin with a touch of white flesh.
Red Onion is best used when raw and can be a great addition to your salad salsa and can be used as toppings to sandwiches and burgers.
Red Onions can also be used for in different dishes, however the flavor of red onions is not as strong as when the onions are cooked.
White onions are name as such because of the color of its skin along with its white flesh. Basically, white onions are all white.
White have a strong and pungent flavor. It is used in different cuisines and dishes that generally requires a stronger onion taste. It’s flavor is intense and best used when cooked but can also be eaten raw to add to your salsa.
Sweet onions have different varieties such as Vidalia onions, Walla Walla Onions and Maui onions.
Sweet onions, as the name presents itself, has a sweet flavor. Most of the time, people do not like onions because of its strong and pungent flavor, but sweet onions are different. Maui onions are the sweetest amongst the rest of sweet onions.
These types of onions used best when caramelized and can be done in sauté and stews as well. Often, because of its sweetness, people tend to eat them raw and biting them. Its like biting an apple.
These type of onion is most commonly used for as Onion rings.
Some of Scallions alternative names are Green onions, spring onions, Chinese onions, Bunching onions and Welsh onions.
If you notice in the grocery stores or supermarkets, Scallions are usually packed in bundles. Characteristics of these types of onions includes green leaves that are long and round that is basically attached to a small bulb that can either be plump or narrow. Sometimes the bulb is white or purple, the color can vary depending on the time when it was harvested.
Used mostly on East Asian dishes because of its flavorful and savory fresh bite taste.
Scallions and green onions are of the same variety, however, with spring onion is of different name. Although they have the same characteristics, spring onions are actually called immature storage of onions such as the yellow onions and the red onions.
Also called Gray shallots or Red Shallots. It has a brown skin that usually resembles that of a small red onions, and sometimes looks like green onions. Although Shallots is not actually a true onion, it is still considered to be a type of onion.
Shallots have a delicate and mild onion flavor and is used mostly in making recipes for sauces, dressings and dips. They are also commonly used in French dishes as well especially when making French onion soup.
Pearl Onions are also called Button Onion, Baby Onions or White Cocktail Onion.
These are small onion that can either be seen as white, red or yellow. Pearl Onions have a mild and sweet and delicate taste.
One good thing about using Pearl onions is that because they are so small that you don’t even need to chop them. You can simply peel it off and use it as a whole.
You can use Pearl Onions in different cooking methods: Creamed, glazed, stewed or roasted. Most of the time, the pickled ones are a great garnish to add to your martini.
Leeks typically looks like scallions but both are completely different. Leek can be easily distinguished because of its dark green leaves on it upper portion that tends to be rough. Most of the time the dark green leaves are not used, but some would use them to add to their stock pot dish.
Generally, leeks are usually harvest in a sandy soil therefore you need to cut the leeks first and then wash them twice. This is to completely remove the sand or dirt that usually gets through and are left on its leaves.
Leeks are versatile in nature, this means that they can be used in different recipes and goes well with meats, stews and soups.
Ramps are also called Wild leeks, Tennessee truffles, Ail de bois and Ramson
A native from the North America, Ramps are spring onions that can be eaten starting from the top to its leaves and stems. Basically, you can eat the whole thing.
Most of the time eaten raw as an added ingredient to pesto. It has a pungent taste, much more alike like garlic than that of a scallion. But when ramps are cooked, its taste usually turns mild sweeter flavor.
Cipolline is also called Cipollini Onion or Italian pearl onions. Cipolline Onion are small, flattened and squat shaped onions with a thin skin. Its skin is sometimes yellow that usually resembles that of a sweet onions, but there can be red skins as well.
Best use as a side dish for glazed onions. And since they are relatively small, Cipolline onions are easy to prepare and can be serve whole without the need to chop them. You can either roast, grilled Cipolline onions.
Boiling onions may look like pearl onions because of its size, however boiling onions are quite larger than pearl onion. It is characterized as round and the size is just about 1 inch in diameter.
Boiling onions have a very mild taste, although not recommended to be eaten raw as they are not mild enough. Can be used to as an added ingredients to stews and soups.
Bermuda Onions are large onions (either be yellow, white or color red) that is best used for baking and stuffing. It has a sweet flavor but not as sweet as to overlap the taste of other ingredients in the dish.
Bermuda onions are sometimes used as an alternative or substitute when Spanish onions and Shallots are not available.
These are usually eaten raw and added to salads and sandwiches.
Since Onions are a part of the Allium family including garlic and chives, Garlic can still be considered as part of the onion family. In the grocery stores or supermarkets, garlic are sold as a whole, pre-sliced packed or minced packed, others are already peeled cloves packed.
The scent of a garlic is not as strong when unpeeled compared to as when its cloves has been sliced, smashed and or pressed that’s when the release of its strong odor.
Tips when cooking onions
- Choose onions that has firm bulb. Avoid those with mild, soft spots and or bruises on its appearance.
- There should be no limps not brown discoloration on green onions. If the tip of the green onions are dry, simply trim at least 1.4 to an inch from the top before beginning to slice the stem and its bulb.
- There are different types of onions which are classified as storage bulbs and springs bulbs. The former are characterized as round with thin skin. An example of storage onions are Spanish onions, White onion, and Sweet onion. Storage bulbs should be placed in a dark and dry place.
- Do not store onions in plastic bags, moisture can be trapped and onion does not goes well in high humidity settings.
- Spring Bulbs such as ramps and scallions needs to be placed in a refrigerator. This will help the onions stays fresh. Make sure to wrap the onions in paper towels and then put it on a resealable plastic storage bag.
- Slicing onion can make everyone cry, to prevent this you can either freeze the onion or you can wear googles.
When an onion is sliced, it will released a compound such as Lachrymator. When the compound is released, this form of sulfuric acid can irritate the nerves on our eyes which are the lacrimal gland causing us to tear.
Onion are rich in antioxidant compounds, good for the heart, supports good bone and gut health and works as an antibacterial.
Onions have compounds such as organic sulfurs that give health benefits such as reducing the cholesterol levels in the body, helps break down clots in the blood, it can also help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and prevents stroke.
Eating onions raw is better than eating it cooked. Raw onion have more sulfur compounds than cooked onions.
Heating the onions especially on high heat usually make the onions taste bitter. To prevent this, make sure to sauté using low or medium heat only.
Peeled onions that are kept as whole and chopped or sliced should be placed in a refrigerated with a temperature of at least 40°F or below.