Red onions are a cultivar of an ordinary onion plant. They are mostly used in culinary arts but they can also be used as dye. The name comes from the fact that the skin of the onion is reddish with a white flesh as is the case with any other onion.
The onions are eaten raw or in salads. They can also be stir fried and they add a lot to the dishes made this way. Onions are easy to grow and they are thus produced in Texas in both commercial capacity and in small gardens.
Red Onion Trivia
- There was a myth that onions are poisonous when fried
- They were worshiped a sacred plant in Egypt
- Onions are poisonous for dogs
Red Onion Buying Guide
The first thing to look for is the skin since it will be the best sign the onions are fresh and can be used. The skin should be shiny and slick and without any blemishes all around it. The onions as a whole should feel dry and firm, as well as bit heavy for their size.
Necks of the onions are an important point as well. They should be dry as well and kept tight, meaning that no part of the onion should try to fall apart or seem loose from the whole.
Red Onion Production & Farming in Texas
Texas is the sixth state if the Union, in terms of how much red onions it produces. It amounts to 6 percent of all onions produced in the country with as much as 16.400 acres planted and about 14.000 of those harvested each year. About 92 percent of these are sold fresh and 8 is processed further.
The majority of Texas onions, approximately 55 percent, are grown in the Lower Valley. The balance is produced in the Trans-Pecos, the Winter Garden and South Texas, and the High Plains.
Soil is one of the most important features a farmer needs to provide in order to grow onions. They prefer fertile and well-drained soil. The soil should also be sandy since the plant grows underground. You should avoid acid soils.
Planting mostly depends on the temperature of the soil and therefore overall temperatures. It requires less 95 degrees for fall planting and more than 50 for spring planting. The seeding rate is 2 to 4 pounds raw seed per acre or 10 to 20 pounds coated seed per acre.
Harvesting onions may take between 85 and 210 days starting from the day you’ve planted them. Transplanted onions usually take less time to be harvested.
Onions are a part of the dirty dozen list but they are probably the safest one of them because they have the shortest residual period.
An interesting fact about red onions is that they have come about independently in three different regions in the world and that they’ve been transplanted from those regions across the world. Those regions are Turda in Romania, Tropea in Italy, and Wethersfield, Connecticut within the United States.
In the US, red onions are widely available and they are a vegetable that can be found both in supermarkets and in the farmer’s market sold by farmers directly. The onions are easy to grow and they can be grown successfully in almost any US climate.
Onions are a firm vegetable and their skin is enough protection so there’s no need for them to be handled with too much care and that’s noticeable in the way they are packed. This is done in sacks or in open cardboard boxes.
The onions can be sold by the pound or by the sacks. There are no special considerations in terms of where the onions could be kept as long as the room is dry and slightly darker in order for the onions to remain firm.
Enjoying Red Onions
Preparing red onions is rather simple and the process is pretty much the same regardless of the recipe and how you plan to cook them. You should start with peeling them off and slicing the onions into small and manageable pieces.
Once you’ve done so, you should submerge the onions in the cold water and let them sit for a few minutes while stirring them for a while. You could also soak the onions in lime juice, or lemon juice based on your preferences.
Onions should be stored whole and before peeling. They should be kept in a dry, dark and well ventilated room. That’s why they are mostly kept in pantries, basements and garages and they could be stored that way for weeks.
When they are stored sliced in the fridge, red onions have a shelf life of about 7 to ten days.
There are numerous ways to use onions in salads or as a side dish, but here’s a recipe that using the whole onions and roasting them together with other ingredients.
Halve 2 pounds unpeeled red onions; toss in a large bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika and a pinch each of sugar and salt. Place the onions cut-side down on a baking sheet; roast at 450 degrees until soft and browned, 30 minutes.
The researchers found that the risk of colorectal cancer was 79% lower in those who regularly consumed allium vegetables, such as onions.
Experts do not fully understand the exact mechanism by which some compounds in onions inhibit cancer. Some hypothesize that onions inhibit tumor growth and cell mutation. One cup of chopped onions also provides at least 13.11% of an adult’s recommended daily intake of vitamin C. As an antioxidant, this vitamin helps counter the formation of free radical compounds that have links to cancer.
One review from 2015 found a general relationship between an increased consumption of allium vegetables and a reduced risk of cancer, especially cancers of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
When Are Red Onion in Season in Texas?
To find out when Red Onion are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.