Red onions have burgundy red skins and red tinged flesh. Spanish type red onions are large and round, while Californian red onions tend to be flatter and milder. They are mild, sweet and juicy and are delicious eaten raw in salads, used as a garnish or added to sandwiches.
What to look for
Choose onions with firm flesh and dry papery outer skin. Avoid those with green shoots or soft spots.
Store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Do not put them in plastic bags; if purchased in plastic, remove as soon as possible. Avoid refrigerating or storing with any food that may absorb their flavour.
How to prepare
Remove skin and root, cut as required; slice, dice, wedge or leave whole. Braising; blanch first. Roasting; skin can be left on when roasted whole. Stuffing; peel, cut off top, scoop out centre to leave 1 cm shell. The release of oil during peeling brings tears to the eyes – there is no guaranteed way of avoiding this. The best advice is to peel and slice quickly. To peel large quantities of pickling onions, top and tail, then cover with boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and remove the skins which will slip off easily.
Ways to eat
Onions can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. In many recipes, onions add flavour and texture. They can be used in soups, braises, stews, pizzas, pies, pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, sauces, chutneys and stir fries.
Boil, microwave, roast, steam, stir fry, braise, stew.