Wednesday’s in the Know: Introducing 33 Varieties of Onions (and Counting)
However strong onions ultimate impact (think tears) onions can have, they also can provide a delicious sweet finish. It’s understanding the varieties and how to best utilize each variety that can ultimately take ordinary to extraordinary levels! With over 33 varieties, some of which you may need to do some searching for, there really is no excuse not to utilize them in your weekly menu rotation. To understand just what these 33 varieties are and the best ways to use each and every one of them, Saveur Magazine has an incredible write up in their onion guide, which I have shared below. Pictures by Todd Coleman
- Pearl onions: come in many colors and varieties; great for boiling and pickling.
- Bianco di Maggio: Italian heirloom cipolline with white, sweet flesh.
- Thai shallots: More demure than European varieties, Thai shallots are great for spice pastes.
- Yellow storage onions: Also known as common onions, are workhorses of the kitchen.
- Tropea lunga: Italy's famed zest tropea Lunga turn fragrant and luscious when grilled.
- Torpedo onions: Best grilled or pickled, tender fresh torpedo onions, have a concentrated sweetness.
- Owas: Teardrop-shaped owas are slightly spicy and excellent for sauce bases.
- Creole onions: Baby red Creole onions are so named because of their surprising spice.
- Mayan sweets: Mayan sweets are fresh, juicy mild onions available in the States in fall and winter.
10. Texas sweets: Texas sweets are descendants of Bermuda onions, brought here in 1898.
11. Cipolline onions: Cipolline onions are flat Italian varieties that turn buttery when roasted.
12. Candy hybrid: The super sweet candy hybrid is the ideal dried onion for caramelizing.
13. Red Bull onions: Large Red Bull onions keep longer than most dry onions and have a muted spice.
14. Inca sweet: Inca sweet is a mellow variety from Peru sold fresh in the States during the winter.
15. French gray shallots: French gray shallots are coveted by chefs for their creamy texture and refined flavor. Use them in vinaigrettes.
16. Walla Wallas: Insanely sweet Walla Wallas are available in the summer from Washington State; you can eat them like apples.
17. Siskiyou onion: The sweet Siskiyou onion is harvested in the Pacific Northwest, sold fresh in summer, and is best raw.
18. Turbo onions: Small, spicy turbo onions are a new storage variety with great heat.
19. Stuttgarters: Stuttgarters are classic dried yellow cooking onions often grown as pearls.
20. Copras: Late-season copras are surprisingly juicy and large for storage onions.
21. Wethersfields: Heirloom red Wethersfields were grown by Thomas Jefferson, who loved their sweetness.
22. White granex: White granex is a cousin of Vidalia, a popular sweet onion from the South.
23. Australian browns: Since the 1880s, Australian browns have been prized for their pungent flesh, which is flavorful when cooked.
24. Red baron: Red baron is a smallish, popular red storage onion with pronounced sharpness.
25. Maui onions: Maui onions grow on the dormant Haleakala volcano; they're ideal raw.
26. Red zeppelin: Red zeppelin are intensely oniony for reds; a popular hybrid for storage.
27. Red burgermeisters: Red burgermeisters were bred to be sandwich onions. Sweet, with great crunch.
28. Paris silver-skins: Often harvested young, Paris silver-skins are white, crisp, mild, and great for pickling.
29. French shallots: French shallots have more spice and heat than Asian varieties. Excellent for sauces.
30. Crystal white wax: Crystal white wax is a mild, common pearl that retains its shape when cooked.
31. Jet set: Jet set is a spicy small yellow onion that arrives early in the season.
32. Flat of Italy: Flat of Italy are heirloom Italian cipolline, ideal for roasting.
33. Giant red hamburger: Giant red hamburger is an aptly named variety that's sweet and juicy and big as a bun.
I couldn’t have summarized those better myself! Now that you have a new list of 33 onions to keep your eye out for, I hope that you have fun playing around with them and hopefully, find a few favorites!
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