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Onion

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Onion Basics

Onions boost flavor and add antioxidants for cell and tissue health.

Three onions, one red, two yellow.

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  • Choose whole onions that are firm and heavy for their size, and have no scent. Look for a dry, papery outer skin. Avoid cut, bruised or sprouting onions. 
  • Yellow onions usually cost the least. Use them for cooking since the flavor becomes sweeter when cooked. Use sweet onions and red onions when you need a mild raw flavor or bright color. 
  • Onion powder adds flavor when cooking. Choose onion powder over onion salt to help reduce the salt in your diet.

Types of Onions

Yellow onions 
  • Are most common. 
  • They store well. 
White onions 
  • Are usually sharper in flavor. 
Red onions 
  • Are somewhat mild in flavor. 
  • Their red skin adds color to dishes. 
Sweet onions 
  • Have a mild flavor even when raw. 
  • They don't store as long.
Green onions (scallions) 
  • Are mild in flavor. 
  • Both the bulb and the green tops are eaten.
Chives 
  • Are thin green stems with a mild onion flavor. 
  • Use them fresh or dried.
Leeks 
  • Have a mild onion flavor and can be used raw or cooked.
Store Well Waste Less
  • Store whole onions in a cool, dark, dry place in an open bowl or bag for several weeks. They need air around them to slow spoilage. 
  • Refrigerate peeled or cut onions in sealed containers or wrapped tightly. Use within 1 to 2 weeks. 
  • Refrigerate green onions (scallions) and use within 1 to 2 weeks. 
  • Freeze extra onions (raw or cooked) to prevent waste. Chop the onions and sauté if desired. 
  • Freeze an amount to be used at one time in individual freezersafe containers or bags.
  • Freeze individual pieces on a tray and transfer to a freezer-safe container. To use, remove just what you need and return to the freezer. Use within 6 to 8 months in cooked dishes.

Cooking with Onions

Any type of onion can be used in most recipes.

Sautéed Onions

Roasted Onions

No Tears!

  • Chill onions before chopping - 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 10 minutes in the freezer. 
  • Use a very sharp knife. 
  • Start cutting at the stem end.

Kids Can!

When kids help make healthy food, they are more likely to try it. Show kids how to: 

  • snip green onions or chives with kitchen scissors. 
  • put onions in the refrigerator before cutting. 
  • toss onions with oil and seasonings and arrange on the pan for roasting.
medium onion = 1 cup chopped onion = 1 Tablespoon onion powder
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