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Onion is one of the core vegetables and is a must of your storecupboard ingredients. There are two general types: mild flavoured, or pungent; and tow shapes: globe and elongated. Popular varieties include the large Spanish varieties and Italian reds. Small-sized varieties are suitable for pickling onions. Green onions are young onions and include leeks, shallots, chives and scallions or spring onions.

  • Italian Red Onions: red onions are oblong is shape, mild tasting and often sweet. Red onions have an attractive colour and can be used raw as a garnish, but can become bitter if left out too long in the air after cutting. Rubbing with sumach reduces the tendency to bitterness and softens red onions.
  • Scallions or spring onions are used regularly in salads and in stir fries.
  • Shallots are used regularly in France, where their stronger taste is popular. Shallots can be coloured from grey through to pink, or golden-brown.
  • Yellow Onion: yellow onions are mild and keep well. Yellow onions can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, braised, fried and used in many dishes from curries through to stews.

Further Reading

Dowell, P., Bailey, A. (1980) The Book of Ingredients, Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0718119150.