The Red onion is classified as a spring/summer variety because of its thin protective layer whereas storage onions have multiple protective layers allowing them greater time to be stored and less opportunity for bruising. Red onions are “red” but actually have a burgundy colored, paper sheath protecting the ruby and white ringed flesh. Each layer surface contains anthocyanins – chemicals giving the onion its red color. (You’ll also find them in other fruits and vegetables). They are the antioxidant flavonoids protecting and promoting the body’s health.
The flavor of the red onion ranges from sweet to pungent depending on its age, the particular variety, and how much sulfur was in the growing soil. Sometimes due to color tones it can be hard to distinguish between purple onions and red onions.
Nutritionally speaking, red onions have high polyphenol content (micronutrients evident in the prevention of degenerative diseases), and also include a rich concentration of flavonoid polyphenols: quercetin believed to have antioxidant qualities as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
Red onions are a great accompaniment for salads, in main dishes, and in chutneys and salsas. The usual rule of thumb is to use red onions for appearance, as in salads, and white or green onions for flavor. When cooking with red onions, the red color usually disappears once they are cooked.
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