Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to buy Onions

I love eating onions, superhot, sweets, yellows, whites, reds, I enjoy them all. There are so many varieties of onions, I will cover the most popular varieties in this post.

First, the difference in appearance between a sweet onion and a hot onion. It's so easy once you know, all round onions are hot varieties and all flat onions (flat top/bottom) are sweet varieties.

The onion business is very scandalous with unscrupulous growers and retailers charging premium prices for fake sweet onions. How many times have you purchased a supposedly "sweet" onion only to find out you were swindled. Normally sweet onions are stickered by the growers or packers so you the consumers and the cashiers can identify them. If they're stickered and hot blame the grower, if there not stickered and hot blame the retailer.

Extremely profitable a retailer can make $25 - $60 profit off one 50lb sack of sweet onions. Add another $15 profit if they're fake. Wow is right!

Sweet Onions are all varieties of Spanish onions. Usually nicknamed after their growing region. The most popular varieties are Walla Wallas from Walla Walla, Washington; Vidalias from Vidalia, Georgia; Texas 1015's from Texas State; Maui Sweets from Maui, Hawaii. These growers fiercely protect their brands and it's not wise for retailers to mislabel their onions. Walla Wallas have very inconsistent quality, because of poor quality standards, it is very common to get bad, rotten onions. I always have problems with onions from this region, but there are still a few good packers out there.

Sweet onions rot at the tops on the inside so when buying make sure you push firmly on the tops and there's no softness, dampness, mold or black marks.

Red onions are my favorite and the same applies to these and whites too. Flat onions are sweet and round onions are hot. Reds normally start to decay on their sides and will start off with a kind of round transparent spot, while whites rot from the inside on their tops and sides, make sure you press firmly on the entire surface of the onion.

Yellow onions are the staple of the industry. Small/medium sized onions store better and are winter keepers, jumbo and colossal size onions can usually store for about a month. If you buy onions by the sack make sure you hang (on a nail) them somewhere dry and they will last for months.

If anyone would like any information on shallots, please leave a comment.


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