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Why did I just soak my onions?

GDSinPA Jan 24, 2007 06:10 PM

I just made a fantastic recipe I found on the web for a mango avacado salsa. It also included red onion, garlic, and cilantro.

The instructions actually called for 1/2 cup of red onion, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes.


  1. Tartinet Feb 16, 2007 05:14 AM

    When I want to use raw onion in a salad, I soak the slices in a mixture of vinegar, water, and salt. I'd guess it's about two cups of water, a third of a cup of vinegar (whatever cheap vinegar I have around), and a teaspoon of salt. I let them soak for twenty minutes or so, and then rinse them well. Be careful, though—once I forgot about them, and left them soaking for a few hours. They were inedibly salty.

    1. a
      another_adam Feb 10, 2007 07:22 PM

      for applications where citrus or extra salt would are not desired, soaking in milk is also sometimes said to take away some bite while helping them stay crisp. (This seems to be common in japan, but i've heard some u.s. cooks recommend it too)

      1. Sam Fujisaka Feb 10, 2007 06:33 PM

        Soak onions to be able to easily peel away just the outer layers that should be removed.

        1. TonyO Feb 10, 2007 05:04 PM

          And some say they are easier to cut that way (also having a piece of bread on your mouth) to fight the tear reaction.

          1. paulj Feb 10, 2007 05:02 PM

            The use of salt, or salt water can cut the bite of the onions even more. Lightly pickled red onions are a common garnish in Latin American cooking. They retain the crispness of the onion, while turning a lovely pink. Combining them with chiles gives them a different kind of bite.

            1. d
              Displaced California Foodie Feb 10, 2007 02:29 PM

              GDS in PA:Can you please provide the link for the mango avocado salsa?
              Thank you!

              1. g
                GDSinPA Jan 27, 2007 07:40 PM

                Thanks folks - that all makes sense. Should be useful as I do make a few recipes regularly where I might want to moderate the strength of the onions.

                1. j
                  JudiAU Jan 26, 2007 05:11 AM

                  As others have said, they take some of the bite out. It it can also remove the "old onion" taste from your mouth and reduce stomach upset.

                  1. bolivianita Jan 25, 2007 06:23 PM

                    I love to add onion to my garden salad but they often have too much bite. A quick rinse and then a soak in redwine vinegar, a pinch of fresh nutmeg, and a pinch of salt makes them taste wonderful.

                    1. galleygirl Jan 25, 2007 10:27 AM

                      Here is the recipe with all its bells and whistles,
                      but all you really need is the watermelon, the feta, and the onions in lime juice, with a sprinkle of EVOO...

                      1. galleygirl Jan 24, 2007 06:15 PM

                        Red onions tends to, uh, stay with me a long time. To make them even sweeter, taking out more of the bite, I'd add some lime juice to the water, or soak them in lime juice; fresh. Perfect for a salsa. So sweet you could eat them straight.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: galleygirl
                          Kagey Jan 25, 2007 06:02 AM

                          This is a great suggestion. Red onions sliced very finely and marinated in lime juice are gorgeous. They also go great in Nigella's watermelon, feta, and black olive salad.

                          1. re: Kagey
                            galleygirl Jan 25, 2007 07:38 AM

                            That recipe gave me the idea, and I've ben doing it all the time since them. The red onions marinated in lime there are really what makes the recipe...

                            1. re: Kagey
                              lollya Jan 25, 2007 08:41 AM

                              that salad sounds divine! is there a special recipe, or just combine the above?

                              1. re: lollya
                                Kagey Jan 26, 2007 05:09 AM


                                this is the original recipe.

                          2. jenniebnyc Jan 24, 2007 06:11 PM

                            it takes out some of the bite. i do this with a lot of dishes that call for raw onions...mostly with white onions though not red as the red are pretty mild already

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