Fruit for children

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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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A classic vegetable – brown, red and white
and green

Not many people would say onions are their favourite food, but most cooks can’t imagine cooking without these versatile vegetables – at least in Europe. The most frequently used is the brown “household” onion. Raw, it tastes tangy and peppery; gentle frying in a pan makes the taste milder. It’s used in sauces and gravies for meat, fish and pasta and to flavour curries, risottos, salads and egg dishes. Bigger onions can be filled with anything from meat and rice to cheese and nuts. Other uses include onion tarts and quiches, and the classic onion soup.

Different colours, different tastes

Red onions taste milder and sweeter than their brown relatives. They look and taste good especially in salads. Gourmets choose red onions for soups, marinades and to flavour yoghurt and soft cheese dishes. Shallots have a fine, spicy flavour. Considered something special, they are often used to flavour fine marinades and sauces, especially for fish. Spring onions are eaten while they’re still young and slim. Use the whole length of a spring onion – from the white base to he green leaves – in salads and in wok dishes and stir fries where everything is cooked only briefly.

Then there are the huge white onions, popular especially in southern Europe. You might have to find a specialist source if you live further north. These big onions have a mild, sweet aroma and they’re used in pale sauces, but also for grilling and stewing. They taste wonderful filled.

Buying, choosing and storage

As always when buying vegetables, quality is of prime importance. Fresh onions are firm, dry and the outer layers have a sheen. Don’t buy onions which are already growing green shoots or have dark, soggy patches. Fresh spring onions are bright green and crisp. Onions are best stored in a cool, dark, dry place where they are exposed to dry air. Don’t pack them in closed containers or bags, otherwise they may start to sprout. Correctly stored, brown onions will keep up to six months, white onions for several weeks. Red onions and spring onions are best stored in the vegetable drawer of your fridge and eaten within a week.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de