What’s the Difference Between Yellow, White, and Red Onions?

So, What’s the Difference Between Yellow, White, and Red Onions?  All these onions vary slightly in flavor, texture, and color, but can usually be substituted for one another. In terms of cooking, they will all behave the same in the pan.

When buying onions, go for ones that feel heavy and firm in your hand. Avoid soft onions or onions that have a sharp onion odor before peeling. These are indications that the onion is old. Except for sweet onions, all these onions can be stored for several weeks in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard.

Yellow Onions

Walla Walla and Vidalia are the most common kinds of yellow onions. These onions lack the sharp, astringent taste of other onions and really do taste sweet. They are fantastic thinly sliced and served in salads or on top of sandwiches. As a sweet onion, they also range in color from white to yellow and often have a flattened or squashed appearance. Sweet onions tend to be more perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator.

White Onions

These onions tend to have a sharper and more pungent flavor than yellow onions. They also tend to be more tender and have a thinner, more papery skin. They can be cooked just like yellow onions, but we also like them minced and added to raw salsas and chutneys.

Red Onions

With their deep purple outer skin and reddish flesh, these are really the odd-guys out in the onion family. They are fairly similar to yellow onions in flavor, though their layers are slightly less tender and meaty. Red onions are most often used in salads, salsas, and other raw preparations for their color and relatively mild flavor. The lovely red color becomes washed out during cooking. If you find their flavor to astringent for eating raw, try soaking them in water before serving.

 Antioxidant Properties

Overall, red onions contain a higher amount of antioxidant compounds. They are higher in total flavonoids than white onions and yellow onions are considered to be in the middle.

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