Ingredient Spotlight: Vidalia Onions

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We snatch up these sweet onions any time we see them at the market. Do you know where they're grown? And what the town's official mascot is named? Read on...

Vidalia onions were originally grown in Georgia, in the town of Vidalia. They weren't bred to be sweeter than normal onions, but a combination of the soil and climate produced an onion that had less bite and a more sugary finish. According to the Official Vidalia Onion website, Piggly Wiggly grocery stores eventually began carrying vidalias, which spread them across the South and eventually the country.

We've know Southerners who claim you can eat them raw, just like an apple, but we think that's stretching it. They are, however, great for onion rings, chopped raw in a salad, or baked with butter until they're soft and served as a side dish.

Georgia has claimed rights to the name vidalia (it's also the state vegetable), which means official vidalias are only grown in certain parts of that state. But you can find them in groceries everywhere—we bought one the other day in New York.

As for the mascot of Vidalia? His name is Yumion.

• Visit the Official Vidalia Onion Website

What do you do with vidalia onions?

Related: Video: How to Dice an Onion

(Image: Flickr member quinn.anya, licensed for use under Creative Commons)