Produce Spotlight on Onions
Onions, part of the allium family, grow underneath soil. They have thin, papery layers on the outside and many layers inside. Onions have vitamins B and C, fiber, and antioxidants and help support healthy digestion.
Shopping for Onions
Choose firm onions with dry, papery skins, free of gray or black mold. Avoid bruised or sprouting onions. Massachusetts-grown onions are available from July through November. Whole onions, onion powder and flakes, and frozen chopped onions are available in stores year-round.
Yellow – most common and least costly onions; become sweeter with cooking.
White – sharper flavor than yellow onions.
Red – sweeter and with more balanced flavor than yellow or white onions. Use raw or to add color.
Vidalia – sweet, mild flavor raw or cooked
Storage and Preparation
- Store unwashed yellow, white, and red onions in an open container or bag that allows for airflow and in a cool, dark area away from potatoes. For best quality, use within 6 weeks.
- Store unwashed Vidalia onions wrapped in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.
- To prepare onion, cut off the stem and root, remove the papery outer skin, cut onion in half, and lay each side on the flat side to slice from the top. Refrigerate peeled or cut onions in a sealed container or wrapped tightly in plastic. Use within 2 weeks.
- Freeze chopped onions in individual freezer bags or freeze individual pieces on a tray and transfer to a container. To use, remove what you need. Use in cooked dishes within 8 months.
- Add sliced or chopped raw onions to salads, sandwiches, and salsas.
- Sauté chopped onions in oil until tender (3 to 5 minutes). With longer cooking, onions brown and caramelize. Add to any dish.
- Toss onion quarters with oil and spices and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast at 425º F for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Onion powder adds flavor without adding salt.
1 medium onion =
1 cup chopped =
1 tablespoon onion powder
Using Locally Grown Produce
For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/ nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.