Vidalia Onions – Spring Sweetness
The Vidalia Onion is certainly unique in all the world. Usually available beginning in May, Vidalia’s have a higher water content which makes them more tender than most onions. They are also low in calories and don’t have the “burn” of your average onion – some even believe it is an aid in digestion.
The sweetness comes from a sugar content that is comparable to that of an apple! A mild, succulent onion that is less overpowering than yellow onions makes them and ideal addition to early spring salads. Just sliced, they are delicious raw on hamburgers, added alongside your steak, or just eaten raw. Other choices may be to caramelize or fry them. Whatever your choice, don’t miss out on them as they are not available year-round.
Back in 1931 Moses Coleman, a farmer in Toombs County, Georgia discovered that the onion bulbs that normally had a sharp flavor when planted, turned to sweet in his fields that were low on sulfur. It was a struggle to sell the onions at first, but he persevered and was able to sell them for $3.50/50#bag – a big price for those days. Other local farmers thought Coleman had found a gold mine. They began to follow his lead and soon after were also producing the sweet, mild onion. After the local store started selling “those sweet onions from Vidalia” word began to spread and the rest is history. In 1990 the Vidalia onion was named Georgia’s official state vegetable.
Buying & Storing Vidalias
Look for a firm texture with an unblemished outer skin. Some early spring onions may even have a green stalks shooting out.
When storing sweet onions you need to remember that they’re more susceptible to bruising and nicks. Keep them in a cool, dry environment that allows for adequate air circulation. A nifty tip: take a clean pair of old sheer pantyhose, place an onion in the toe and tie a small knot after it, then drop in another, make the knot, and continue until you’ve filled the leg of the hose. Hang them in the cool, dry area like mentioned above. When you need an onion just cut below a knot – works great!
If storing onions in the refrigerator, wrap each one separately in a paper towel. This will help absorb moisture, ensure adequate air circulation and will keep them for several weeks.