Endlessly versatile, onions contain a complex mix of sugars and aromatic compounds that have made them a foundation of flavor in cuisines the world over. Pungent when raw, they become sweeter when cooked. The yellow onion is the most widely available variety, but red onions and sweet varieties, such as Vidalia and Maui, are milder in flavor. In April, we look forward to spring onions, which are actually immature onions pulled before the bulbs are fully formed. Spot them by looking for their long, green, edible stalks; use them in everything from fresh salads to creamy soups.
HOW TO BUY
When shopping for spring onions, look for glossy bulbs and firm, bright green leaves. When looking for mature varieties, choose firm onions with shiny, tissue-thin skin. Avoid any discoloration or soft wet spots.
HOW TO STORE
Store onions in a cool, dry space away from sunlight, preferably laid out and not piled on top of one another. Store spring onions loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
HOW TO PREPARE
To quickly dice an onion, slice off the onion stem and cut in half lengthwise. Peel off the papery outer layers and slice horizontally toward the root but not all the way through. Turn the onion and slice vertically, then make slices crosswise to dice.