We're rolling ahead with video: it's time to start showing you all some basic techniques and we'll start with the onion, that pungent bulbous bundle of flavor, so essential to so many cuisines. Watch the video above, then click through for a quick run-down on onion types and the secrets to keeping your eyes dry while you chop.
The onion family is related to the lily. Dry onions, the kind we need these knife skills for (as opposed to green onions, also called scallions which benefit from a different set of moves), come in a range of sizes and colors.
There are white, yellow and red onions. White onions are most often used in Mexican cooking and turn golden yellow when saut&eactue;ed. Yellow onions have a stronger, sweeter flavor and can become quite dark in color when cooked. Yellow onions are the variety often used when caramelizing onions and French Onion Soup. Red onions, are great raw in salads, on burgers, etc., or grilled.
Vidalia onions are among my favorite in terms of flavor. These super-sweet yellow-skinned onions are only available in May and June if you're buying in season. The onions I'm dicing in the video are another variety of yellow onions called Spanish onions, which are one of the most commonly found varieties.
Of course, onions store well in dry, cool, ventilated environments, which is why onions are available year-round. Keep them out of the refrigerator unless they're already chopped. And in that case, you can keep them in a sealed container for about a week.
Also, Nina wrote a post called Five Tips on How to Cut Onions Without Tears which is a great primer on the parts of onion dicing I don't cover in the short clip, like the part about crying. Hint: ignore the old wives' tale about holding a holding a lit match in your mouth while you chop.
• Go to post: Five Tips on How to Cut Onions Without Tears
More How To from The Kitchn
• How to Open a Durian Fruit
• How To Hold Your Knife
• How To Avoid Wasting Food
• How To Find Local Meat
• How To Cook Beans
Republished from article originally posted on April 22, 2008
It's Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by tamalinn.