Besides the budding trees, singing birds and backyard grilling, spring is the perfect time — especially when you’re looking for how to use sweet onions.
Spring is simply the BEST time for onions. They deliver a little sweet with your savory, a little fresh with your meals and a lot of crunch and flavor.
Spring onions are a yellow variety of onion, but they are special. They are grown in areas with less sulphur content in the soil, such as Vidalia, Ga., or the Walla Walla Valley in Washington. That means they soak up the water and come out of the ground so sweet, you can bite into them like an apple.
Sweet onions have a short shelf life, but they are versatile
This also is the time when you’ll see spring onions in the supermarket. You may notice they are a little more expensive, especially next to their counterparts: red, yellow and white onions. Trust us, they’re worth that extra few pennies per pound!
Sweet onions come in many varieties. The season started with the harvest of Texas 105s, then Vidalias out of Georgia. Walla Walla Sweet Onions harvest in mid-June through August, followed by Sweetie Sweets out of Nevada, Maui Sweets out of Hawaii, and finally, Yensis onions, from Alaska.
According to Jan Roberts-Dominguez, author of The Onion Book, “Walla Walla Sweets are a versatile commodity to work with. One could easily graze on them weekly and never be forced to prepare them the same way twice. I love them baked, grilled, gently sautéed, stir-fried and perhaps the most popular of all, grilled.”
That’s why we call the Onion “Nature’s Ninja.” It’s a master of disguise with a wealth of flavor and an abundance of cancer- and disease-fighting properties.
Sweet Onions need a gentle touch on the stove
Roberts-Dominguez suggests that because of their “gentle nature,” sweet onions are best suited for “less robust concoctions. This is where it shines.
“Long, slow cooking in butter turns a pile of crisp, raw rings into a decadent platter of caramelized … paradise, fit to accompany your finest sizzling sirloin,” she writes. “Baking or barbecuing them whole — with a small well hollowed out of the top for a dollop of herbed butter — is another way to take advantage of their dramatic size and delicate flavor. For a classic French treat, there’s soubise, a mountain of sliced onions, and a little bit of rice, cream and Gruyere cheese. The result, after an hour and a half in a slow oven, is smashing.”
She recommends it is best to serve sweet onions in ways that “complement its crunchy texture and delicate flavor.” Cooked too long, these onions tend to turn to mush.
Try this handy sweet onion guide from FineCooking.com
Try Nature’s Ninja’s many sweet onion recipes, and we think you’ll find this is a special onion that deserves the high praise it gets all over the country. Slice one up for your backyard grill today! See our sweet onion recipes here