M&P - Red, White, Yellow onions blog

Red, White or Yellow? Which onions to use, when

They all make you cry, but have you ever wondered which onion to use in a particular situation?

You won’t ruin a meal by putting a white onion into your guacamole, but certain dishes definitely taste that little bit better when a little thought is put into your onion choice.

Different types of onions do have a lot in common; they all have that characteristically papery skin which ends up at the back of all of your kitchen cupboards, they can be stored for a long time without refrigeration, they all contain sulphuric compounds which make you cry and they all follow the same flavour progression of pungent while raw to sweet as they cook.

If, however, you can only choose one type of onion to keep around the house, it should be the yellow onion. Yellow onions account for the vast majority of the UK’s onion crop and are the ideal onion for caramelising or using as a base for your soups or sauces.

White onions can be substituted for yellow onions in any situation where you’re cooking the onion but tend to be milder than yellow onions when used raw. This means they are a perfect addition to a salad, salsa or sandwich if you aren’t looking to overpower the dish with onion. Care must be taken, though, when storing white onions, as they don’t tend to last as long as their yellow cousins. White onions are recognisable for their white skin – obviously – but can also be identified by thinner, more papery skin and more tender flesh.

Red onions, though delicious cooked, are best eaten raw, whether that be on a burger, or in a salad or guacamole. If roasted semi-whole, they release a wonderful sweet flavour and add a vibrant splash of colour to any dish – though this colour dulls as it cooks. If you’re the sort of person who finds red onions too astringent to eat raw, some chefs recommend soaking them in water before serving. This soaks away some of the harsh flavour chemicals and can make the onion more palatable.

When buying any onion, you should always take care to pick the freshest available. You can tell if an onion is old if it is soft, or gives off a pungent oniony smell before peeling or chopping. All except sweet onions should be kept in a cool, dark place and can be stored for several weeks – or even up to a couple of months.

M&P Engineering is a world leading UK based manufacturer of food processing equipment, including onion peeling machines, food filling equipment, food depositing machines and sachet filling machines. M&P Engineering boasts over 50 years’ experience designing, manufacturing and supplying food processing machinery and offers a wide range of equipment, such as the inline filler and the multi head depositor.

M&P Engineering’s large onion peeler uses a dry peeling process, resulting in no waste slurry. It can peel, top and tail onions with diameters between 45mm and 115mm using its self-adjusting floating knife assemblies. The peeler uses compressed air to remove the skin, resulting in optimum end-product appearance. The large onion peeler has a raw material input rate of 750kg per hour when working at optimum speeds, but can be adjusted to suit the needs of the processor. M&P Engineering also stock a range of used food processing equipment to suit all budgets.

If you would like to find out more information about M&P Engineering’s large onion peeler, call on +44 (0)161 872 8378 or contact us here.