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Onions, Mild Storage

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Preview of Onion, Mild Storage

Available

January 1 - December 31

Harvest Period

September 1 - November 12

Onions have long been identified as medicines in ancient cultures and have enjoyed a reputation as a health food. It is believed that onions originated in central Asia and were being cultivated there over 5000 years ago. Onions would have appealed to our ancestors as they were less perishable than other fresh plant foods, were easy to grow and transport, and could be dried for later use – all factors that continue to make the onion so appealing in the modern kitchen.

What to Look For

There are generally two types of large, globe-shaped onions – mild and storage. The former class includes those that are grown in warm weather climates and have characteristic mild or sweet tastes such as Vidalia. Storage onions are grown in cooler climates and are left to dry for several months after harvesting. They generally have a more pungent flavour and are usually named by their color: white, yellow or red.

Any fresh onion is likely to be identified by a firmness that almost makes it seem to burst out of its dry, crisp, papery skin.

Cleaning and Preparation

To peel onions, first trim the ends and cut in half through the root. The skins will then peel off easily. Place half an onion face down on the cutting board and make a series of parallel cuts.  Rotate the onion 90 degrees and cut again across the grain several times.  The onion will fall apart in small dice.

Storage

Onions should be stored at room temperature in a well ventilated container away from bright light. Onions with more pungent flavours such as yellow cooking onions can be stored longer than the sweeter onions and should last at least one month.

To freeze, peel, chop or slice onions. No blanching is necessary.  Simply pack into freezer bags or containers and store for 3-6 months in the freezer.

Nutritional Information

Onions are very rich in chromium (a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin), vitamin C, folic acid, B6, B1 and quercitin. They are a good source of sulphides that may lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

1 cup of chopped onion has 67 calories, 0.1g fat, 16g carbohydrate, 2.2g fibre and 1.5g protein

How to Use

It might be easier to discuss how not to use onions!  They are likely the most ubiquitous vegetable across different cultures and cuisines.  Chopped and sautéed in butter, oil, or stock, onions form the basis for a wide variety of appetizers, soups and entrees.  The longer and slower the cooking time, the more mellow and sweet is the flavour of the onion.  For crispy, fried onions, the heat should be high and the cooking time quick.

Varieties

Popular varieties of cooking onions (yellowskins) are Trapp's No. 8, Hustler, Norstar, Copra, Prince, Fortress, Hamlet and Corona.