Onions Are A Favorite of Many
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Onions are loved by so many that it is estimated that over 450 semi-truck loads of onions are consumed every day. That translates to roughly 20 pounds of fresh and storage type onions per year, per person.
We don’t have to truck in our onions, thanks to them being found at area gardens and local farmers markets. There are spring/summer fresh onions and fall/winter storage onions. Spring/summer fresh onions are available in yellow, red and white throughout the growing season of March through August. Fresh spring/summer onions can be identified by their thin, light-colored skin. Because they have higher water content, they are typically sweeter and milder than storage onions. This higher water content also makes them more susceptible to bruising.
With its delicate taste, the spring/summer onion is an ideal choice for salads and other fresh and lightly-cooked dishes. In fact, cooking onions at too high a temperature, will give a bitter taste.
Fall/winter storage onions are available from August through April. They too are available in yellow, red and white; however the difference between fresh onions and storage onions is in the layers. In fact, according to an old English Rhyme, the thickness of an onion skin can help predict the severity of the winter. Thin skins mean a mild winter is coming while thick skins indicate a rough winter ahead. Storage onions have multiple layers of thick, dark, papery skin. They have an intense flavor and a higher percentage of solids. These are best for savory dishes that require longer cooking times or more flavor.
Onions come in three colors - yellow, white and red, or purple. Yellow onions are full-flavored and are a reliable standby for cooking almost anything. Yellow onions turn a rich, dark brown when cooked and give French Onion Soup its tangy sweet flavor. The red or purple onion is a good choice for fresh uses or in grilling and char-broiling, while white onions are the traditional onion used in classic Mexican cuisine. They have a golden color and sweet flavor when sautéed.
If you understand the two distinctive types of dry onions, buying and storing them is easy. Onions are sold either in pre-packed sacks or in bulk. Buy onions that are heavy for their size with dry, papery skins with no signs of spotting or moistness. If it has a soft spot, pass it up.
Spring/summer onions have a thinner skin and should be firm. Choose onions that are free of cuts and bruises. They should be stored in a well ventilated, cool dry place or refrigerated to sustain their quality. Once cut, either type of onion should be wrapped, refrigerated and used within 4 days.
There is good news for onion lovers. Onions are low in calories yet add wonderful flavor to a wide variety of foods. One medium onion provides 60 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 10 mg sodium, 200 mg potassium, 20 percent RDA of vitamin A and provide dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and other key nutrients.
If you are in the mood for fresh onions, you can find them at the Downtown Gateway Farmers Market located at Jefferson and East 9th Street in Texarkana AR, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
For more information on incorporating vegetables in your meals, contact me at the University of Arkansas Division of Ag in Miller County at 400 Laurel, Suite 215, Texarkana, call me at 779-3609, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get great tips on facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, twitter at @MillerCountyFCS and Instagram millercountyfcs_carlahadley.
Visit the Farmers Market today and purchase fresh onions and cucumbers for this Cucumber and Onion Salad. My secretary loves this recipe.
Cucumber and Onion Salad
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced, unpeeled cucumbers
1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup sucralose (or sugar)
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Toss cucumbers and onions together in medium, glass bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Cover and chill 2 hours; stir several times before serving. Yields: 6-three fourth cup servings.
Tried and True Tip: Mix last four ingredients in a mason jar with lid and seal; shake and then pour onto mixture.
Nutritional information based on sucralose instead of sugar:
Total Calories: 15; Total Fat: 0; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium:100mg; Total Carbohydrate: 3g; Dietary fiber: 0g; Sugars: 2g; Protein: 0g
Exchanges per serving: Free
By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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