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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
What other plant stores their food in a bulb, but an onion. They have been grown and
used by humans for well over 4,000 years beyond the beginnings of written history.
Egyptians believed onions had strength producing powers and therefore were fed to
the individuals who built the pyramids.
Onions play an important part in our culinary experiences. They are really good in
cooked dishes, especially those that need strong flavors. They are added to many common
dishes, including casseroles, quiche, pasta sauces, soups, stews, and pizza. They
are also baked, fried, caramelized, sautéed, and creamed.
Let’s explore seven of my favorites. Yellow onions are golden brown with a papery
skin. They are best used in a recipe which calls for cooked onions. When sautéed,
they turn a dark brown color, which makes them an excellent choice for caramelizing.
They are considered by many to be the standard onion. They have a high sulfur content
that makes them too strong (for many) to eat. The sulfur is also what makes you cry
Red onions, sometimes called purple, has purple, red skin and white rings of flesh
They range in medium to large in size. The flavor is mild and sweet. The texture is
crisp. They are good to eat raw and add color to dishes. They can also be grilled
or lightly cooked with other foods.
White onions are globe shaped with white flesh and white skin. They are sweeter than
yellow onions. Yet, white onions can be used in place of yellow onions in a recipe.
This variety has a clean, sharp flavor and firm texture. They can add a sweet flavor
to other foods and can also be eaten raw. They are great as slices on a hamburger,
chopped for hot dogs, or used for onion rings. White onions are good in heated dishes,
sautéed or as a side dish.
Vidalia onions are not yellow onions. There is a difference. They are from Vidalia
Georgia, and are mildly sweet in flavor. They are great in salad, relish or as a garnish.
They have a yellow to tan outer skin and white flesh. They will be marketed as a Vidalia
onion and are available fresh from April to June. If stored in a cool dry place, they
can last up to 6 months.
Pearl onions are a mild, sweet flavored onion with a crisp texture. Pearl onions are
actually young onions. They are available as white, red, or yellow onions. This variety
of storage onion is often roasted with meat, or added to soups, stews and vegetable
dishes. Sometimes due to their size, pearl onions are hard to peel. To make it easier,
use a paring knife and cut off the tip of the onion opposite the root end. Cook in
boiling water 2 minutes. Drain. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Gently squeeze
each onion at root end. The onion will pop right out of its skin, then slice off any
Shallots are a lot like garlic except the bulbs are attached at the roots. They are
pear-shaped bulbs that grow in a cluster. It has a light flesh with some purple or
green and it has a mild flavor. Shallots should not be browned. Browning them causes
them to become bitter. Grate shallots instead of mincing or finely dicing. If a recipe
calls for minced shallot, grate only half the amount of minced shallot. If you have
a recipe that calls for a shallot and you don’t have one, you can likely substitute
another type of onion.
Garlic, yes garlic, belongs to the onion family. It can be found in white, pink or
purple varieties. When used, raw, garlic is slightly bitter. But when sautéed or baked,
it becomes mild and sweet. If you do not have fresh garlic, you can substitute garlic
powder using one eighth teaspoon garlic powder to one medium fresh clove of garlic.
Garlic salt should be used sparingly as it contains salt.
Now that you know more about onions, why not make onion rings to go with that hamburger
you are making. I mean, who doesn’t love onion rings? Sometimes you don’t want all
the calories and fat that come from deep frying so this easy recipe for Oven Baked
Onion Rings is just what you need.
Oven Baked Onion Rings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices, separated
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line shallow baking sheet with foil. Brush foil with
oil. Stir bread crumbs, flour and salt together and spread on large plate. In a bowl,
beat the egg slightly. Dip onion slice in egg and press into bread crumb mixture,
turning to coat both sides. Place breaded onion rings in a single layer on the pan
and bake for 15 minutes. Turn over and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden
brown and crispy.For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.