This week's harvest: Sweet Onions
They are sweet enough to be eaten like an apple - it's the fresh or "sweet onion." They might look pretty similar to the storage onions that make you cry and the kids run away, but they aren't designed to hang out for months in your pantry: These sugared layered alliums prefer to be eaten right away.
Impress your friends at your next dinner party with this bit of trivia (Farmer Frank shared this with me). All those "varieties" of sweet onions like the Maui Sweets (Hawaii) and Vidalia (Georgia), etc....are all basically the same seed. Yep, there is some big time marketing and branding in the ag world with regard to sweet onions.
How to eat them? Besides adding them to all of your meals as a flavor sidekick, let's give them star billing. We're going to town with sweet onions as the main part of the meal. Make sure your sweetie (person not food) in your life eats the same meal with you so you can maintain your closeness later on.
When are sweet onions in season?
Harvest is from the middle of April through June. We will enjoy them through August if kept in proper (consistent, cool & dark) storage.
Selecting, storage and preparation tips:
Due to the high sugar and moisture content, you really want to be smart about caring for your unblemished darling sweet onions. Nobody has them lying around anymore, or maybe you do, but you will make your farmer proud if you take the time to make a special hanging storage set up using a pair of panty hose. You carefully slide it down the legs and tie it off between each bulb. As you need your onions, you just cut them off and put them to use. Storing them this way allows air to circulate around the onions and will give them a longer kitchen life. If you don't use this method, don't just pile them in a basket, give them room and think about using them right away.
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Make and freeze or can to top your burgers or this crostini with fresh ricotta - heaven.
Creamy Sweet Onion Balsamic Dressing
Dress your grilled/roasted veggies for a "salad" during our lettuce lull this summer.
Baked Onions with Vinaigrette
Did you catch this on TV this weekend? How soft and sweet and perfect do they look?
Little Onion Tarts
Entertain frugally with these teeny treats.
French Onion Soup with Porcini
This is a gorgeous spin on this dreamy soup with a meat free stock. Don't think you can't eat this in a Phoenix summer, crank up the A/C for a special evening dreaming of France.
These hit the spot on any midweek sandwich or weekend burger.
Jennifer Woods is a local food advocate with over 10 years working in the AZ food industry, and currently works for Crooked Sky Farms, a CSA produce farm based in South Phoenix.