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All About Sweet Onions

How to Buy, Store & Use Sweet Onions

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Sweet onions are low in sulfur and thus lack the high-pungency factor common in other onions. Learn what they are, where to find them, and how to use them here.

What Are Sweet Onions?

Sweet onions don't necessarily have more sugar in them than other onions (although some do). The reasons they taste so sweet is they have less sulfur and thus less pungency than other onions which makes you able to taste all the sugar naturally in all onions.

Sweet Onions Seasons

Different sweet onion varieties have slightly different seasons, but in general they are available in spring and summer. Look for these varieties:
  • Maui Onions, May through December
  • Texas Sweets, March through June
  • Vidalia Sweets, April through June
  • Walla Walla Sweets, June through August

How to Choose Sweet Onions

Sweet onions have thinner skins than other onions, are juicier than other onions, and don't keep in storage as long as other onions. For these reasons look for sweet onions that feel heavy for their size and without any bruises or blemishes so they keep as well as possible.

How to Store Sweet Onions

Sweet onions in good shape will keep for a week or two at room temperature. For longer storage keep them in an open paper bag in a cool, dark place. You can put them in the crisper drawer of a fridge in a paper bag or on layers of newspaper. Never keep them wrapped in plastic, since their juicy nature makes them susceptible to rot and mold.

How to Use Sweet Onions

Since sweet onions aren't as pungent as other onions, they can't really be used in place of them as aromatics in recipes. Their sweet, mild flavor, however, make them perfect for using raw in salads and relishes or chopped as a garnish. Sweet onions are also lovely when turned into onion rings. For more ideas see 10 Ways to Use Sweet Onions.
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