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Onions come in many varieties,  commonly referred to as brown, white and red.

Brown onions which have a brown or almost yellow skin and creamy flesh are usually strongly flavoured and are suitable for cooking. This is the most widely used onion. With its pungent aroma and strong flavour it is a good all-round onion. Choose firm, blemish-free onions and avoid any that have green shoots.

Red onions, sometimes called (incorrectly) Spanish Onions have purplish red skin and white flesh tinged with red. These onions tend to be medium to large in size and can have a mild to sweet flavour, but after being stored for short time can become quite pungent. They are often consumed raw, grilled or lightly cooked with other foods, or added as colour to salads. They tend to lose their redness when cooked.

White onions, are considered to be the strongest in flavour after brown onions. On average the Australian consumer buys less white and more brown and red onions. The varieties vary in size, skin characteristics and flavour.

Growing Regions

Onions are grown all around Australia.

Onions are planted throughout the year depending on the region and climatic conditions although the usual planting period starts in February in the lower latitudes eg Lockyer Valley through to early spring in Western Australia.

Selecting Tips

Choose onions that are clean, well shaped, have no opening at the neck and feature crisp, dry outer skins. Avoid those that are sprouting or have signs of mould. In addition, onions of inferior quality often have soft spots, moisture at their neck, and dark patches, which may all be indications of decay.

Onions should not be store in the refrigerator because of its high moisture atmosphere, Onions keep best in a cool, dry place, perhaps a pantry or a low cupboard away from excessive heat or light. Plenty of air circulation is beneficial to prevent spoilage. Avoid storing them under a sink where excessive dampness will hasten their demise. It’s common practice to store onions and potatoes together but not an ideal one. Potatoes have a great deal of moisture and give off a gas that causes onions to spoil more quickly. Stored carefully, onions can keep for several weeks.

Health Benefits

Onions are a good source of vitamin C, B3 (niacin) and calcium.