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Buying, preparing and storing Onion

Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep. - Carl Sandburg

Red OnionsONION appreciated both as a vegetable and as a condiment in Chinese food,Yellow Onions in addition to having many medicinal properties. With a characteristic of strong flavor and odor, the onion is made up of numerous concentric layers of fleshy, juicy whitish leaves, which are covered by several outer layers of paper-thin skin. Spanish onions are among the mildest, while white onions are mild and sweet, and red onions are the sweetest. Certain varieties known as scallions, green onions, or spring onions are often sold fresh in bunches.

Select onions that are firm, heavy for their size with dry, papery skins that show no signs of spotting or moistness Avoid onions with sign of sprouting or mold and soft spots. Onions stored in a well-ventilated cool, dry place will keep for up to two months. Once cut, wrap the onion tightly, refrigerate and use within four days

Avoid preparing onions too far in advance, since they tend to lose their juice when cut, and it is absorbed by countertops and wooden cutting surfaces.

1)  Peel the onion. 

2)  Cut off the end of the onion end with the small roots sticking out. 

3)  Cut (from top to the root) the onion in half from and place one of the halves with the flat side down.

4) Holding your knife parallel to the cutting surface, make a few horizontal cuts toward the root end without cutting all the way through. The distance between each horizontal cut is determined by the size of the dice desired.

5) Make several vertical cuts through the top. Remember to never make a cut that would break through the end root of the onion. The onion will come apart if you cut through the root. Again, the distance between each vertical cut is determined by the size of the dice desired.

6)  With the onion still in one piece, cut the onion from the head toward the root to make perfect dices!

Preparing onions can be a teary business as the result of sulfurous contents released which is irritating to the eyes. Here are a few hints to help reduce the tears:

•  Use a very sharp knife and keep your face as far away from the onion as possible, by standing up while cutting it, for example.

•  Cool the onion for 1 hour in the refrigerator or 15 minutes in the freezer before cutting it, to reduce the effect of the enzyme.

•  Wear something over the eyes ­ such as goggles or eyeglasses ­ to avoid direct contact with the irritating substance.

•  Cut the onion under a stream of cold water; this dissolves the irritating molecules.

Tips : To remove the odor of onion from the hands, rub them with lemon juice or vinegar.

5 medium onions = 1 pound = 2 cups chopped = 3 cups sliced

1 small onion = 1/3 cup = 1 teaspoon onion powder


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Last Modified: 11/28/11.