The onion, with the scientific name Allium cepa , is one of the most important consumption bulbs in the world. It is a food with a high fiber content, which also offers a low caloric value and an important antioxidant effect. Thanks to these characteristics and its intense and special flavor, it has gained an irreplaceable niche in gastronomy around the world. Precisely because of its success, there are currently a large number of varieties of onions .
If you want to learn more about the different types of onion , their names, characteristics, properties and photos to differentiate them, join us in this curious article.
Red or purple onion
Also called purple onion according to the particular tone of the specific crop, this is one of the onion varieties that stands out strongly for its striking color, which is maintained both inside and on the skin. It is a variety with a high antioxidant capacity and a high degree of conservation, with a lower water content than the most common onions .
It is large, with a slight spicy flavor and a sweet touch, and is grown in summer and spring. Its favorite consumption is fresh.
French onion or shallot
The French onion , also known as shallot , is actually a different species from the traditional onion, very popular in French cuisine. They are smaller and elongated , with purple tones on the inside.
In the kitchen they are sweet, smooth and very aromatic, offering an experience halfway between that of onion and garlic. Many recipes of French origin use shallots instead of onions, as they add a more complex flavor.
The white onion is a spring onion , traditionally harvested before fully ripening. Currently it can be had all season, although they have little storage capacity, spoiling earlier than other varieties.
It is especially recommended for consumption raw, thanks to its mild flavor and crunchy texture. For this reason, it is the queen of salads, although other recipes that need a quick cooking, such as pizzas, also appreciate it.
Yellow onion, one of the most common types of onion
It is what is known as the common onion in a large number of countries. Thanks to its low water content, its storage capacity is quite large, and can be stored for several months even without refrigeration.
The yellow onion is used mainly for cooking, although it can also be eaten fresh. Depending on the point at which it has been collected, its flavor is more or less spicy, although in the warm months it is always milder.
The vidalia onion owes its name to the town in the state of Georgia, in the USA. It is grown in soils poor in sulfur, so its flavor is much milder. In fact, it is considered one of the sweetest types of onions to plant. It is distributed throughout the year, but its peak of the season is between April and September, that is, in the warm months.
Its consumption is recommended especially for those who suffer from gas or flatulence, since its low sulfur content causes them to cause them to a much lesser degree than other varieties. In some countries it is sold under the sweet onion label . It is easy to confuse, since its appearance is quite similar to that of the yellow onion, although somewhat flatter.
Calçot is a type of tender onion , with a little pronounced bulb, whose popularity has made it a symbol of Catalan gastronomy. It is considered a delicacy in many regions, and goes through a process of development and replanting.
Its production respects the seasonality, being consumed habitually from November, when the cold arrives. Its consumption gives rise to the so-called calçotades , in which people gather to roast the calçots on coals and eat them with their most typical sauces, salvitxada and romesco.
The chive is not an incompletely ripened onion as many believe, but a different species of the Allium family, Allium fistulosum . It is also commonly called scallion or Chinese onion .
They are of small size, white and elongated bulb, this being the main characteristic that distinguishes their appearance from that of chives, which are very similar otherwise. It is a widely used ingredient in some Asian cuisines, with a milder flavor than onion but more intense than chives.
This species of the onion family is commonly used as an aromatic herb because of its stem. Chives are usually eaten raw or fresh and its flavor is reminiscent of onion, but it is softer, so it is common to add it to salads, soups or other dishes, such as baked meat and fish.
Its most popular use is in French and Spanish cuisine, where it is used in countless ways, one of the most common being its mixture with butter to form a sauce for grilled meats.
Ptujski Lük, one of the lesser known types of onions
This variety of onion comes from Slovenia, from the Ptujsko polje area . It is a variety whose production in that area is protected as a PGI. Its appearance is flat, with a reddish brown skin and white pulp. It is very fragrant, with a mild flavor and stands out for its quick cooking.