SCIENTIFIC NAME

Allium cepa (bulb onions)

CLASSIFICATION

Vegetable

SEASON

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

About

For something that we all use and love there can be a great deal of confusion over which onion to use for what and what they are called? What some would call spring onions, others would call shallots, while a shallot to others is a small cured intense flavoured brown onion. There are basically green onions (eg spring onions, which are harvested prior to maturity, and usually the green stalk is used) and cured onions which are harvested and dried (to give the papery skin on the outside) and are either red, white or brown.

Onions are grown all over Australia but are quite sensitive to environmental conditions, so volumes and availability will change as often as the weather. Onions are cured and stored, which enables us to enjoy WA production nearly all year through, although some product is imported from the USA if we run out.

Cured onions: choose onions that are clean, well shaped, have no opening at the neck and feature crisp, dry outer skins. Some red and white cured onions are sold as peeled onions, their skin removed. Just make sure they are firm and not split, with no signs of dehydration/skin wrinkling.

Green onions: choose onions that are firm and have skin intact and no wilting of the green stems.

Dry onions should be stored in a cool, dark place (preferably away from moisture and light) and should last for between 2-3 weeks. Peeled (or skinned) onions should be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag and should last for up to 1 week. Green onions (eg spring onions) should also be stored in the fridge and will last for 3-4 days.

Normally the things that make you cry should be avoided! But onions are the exception. There has been a lot of research into how to grow an onion that won’t make you cry and there are many milder varieties available now. However, the same things that make you cry also give the onion it’s flavour which we love and enjoy. Can you imagine a BBQ without the smell of cooking onions?

Slicing onions under running water will help prevent the contact of the vapour with your eyes, or look for milder varieties.

The important thing about onions, is not to panic about which type to use! They vary greatly in flavour intensity no matter if they are cured or green and no matter the colour, so unless they are specifically being sold as a mild onion variety, it’s a bit of a lucky dip. However, if you’re using them for cooking and want a mild flavour, cook them for a long time over a slow mild heat and this will reduce the intensity of the flavour. If you’re using them for salads, slice them very finely and use a little less if you think the onion you have purchased is a little strong.

Normally the things that make you cry should be avoided! But onions are the exception. There has been a lot of research into how to grow an onion that won’t make you cry and there are many milder varieties available now. However, the same things that make you cry also give the onion it’s flavour which we love and enjoy. Can you imagine a BBQ without the smell of cooking onions?

Slicing onions under running water will help prevent the contact of the vapour with your eyes, or look for milder varieties.

The important thing about onions, is not to panic about which type to use! They vary greatly in flavour intensity no matter if they are cured or green and no matter the colour, so unless they are specifically being sold as a mild onion variety, it’s a bit of a lucky dip. However, if you’re using them for cooking and want a mild flavour, cook them for a long time over a slow mild heat and this will reduce the intensity of the flavour. If you’re using them for salads, slice them very finely and use a little less if you think the onion you have purchased is a little strong.

Onions are high in Vitamin C and are a good source of fibre and folic acid.

Source: NUTTAB 2010(Food Standards Australia New Zealand); The University of New South Wales; Professor Heather Greenfield and co-workers at the University of New South Wales; Tables of composition of Australian Aboriginal Foods (J Brand-Miller, KW James and PMA Maggiore).

BROWN ONIONS
Nutrient Value per 100 g
Proximates
Energy, including dietary fibre 127 kJ
Moisture 90.1 g
Protein 1.7 g
Nitrogen 0.28 g
Fat 0.1 g
Ash 0.4 g
Dietary fibre 2.1 g
Fructose 1.1 g
Glucose 2.2 g
Sucrose 1.4 g
Total sugars 4.6 g
Starch 0 g
Available carbohydrate, without sugar alcohols 4.6 g
Available carbohydrate, with sugar alcohols 4.6 g
Organic Acids
Malic acid 0.1 g
Citric acid 0.1 g
Minerals
Calcium (Ca) 23 mg
Chromium (Cr) 0.7 mg
Copper (Cu) 0.042 mg
Iodine (I) 0.5 ug
Iron (Fe) 0.37 mg
Magnesium (Mg) 9 mg
Manganese (Mn) 0.125 mg
Molybdenum (Mo) 1.9 mg
Nickel (Ni) 4 mg
Phosphorus (P) 39 mg
Potassium (K) 163 mg
Selenium 0 ug
Sodium (Na) 11 mg
Zinc (Zn) 0.18 mg
Vitamins
Thiamin (B1) 0.032 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.022 mg
Niacin (B3) 0.32 mg
Niacin Equivalents 0.71 mg
Alpha carotene 22 ug
Beta carotene 0 ug
Cryptoxanthin 0 ug
Beta carotene equivalents 11 ug
Retinol equivalents 2 ug
Vitamin C 8 mg