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Oct 27, 2007 07:43 AM

Onion advice requested

I am looking for Vidalia onions, but can no longer find them locally in NY. But I see "sweet onions" at Fresh Direct and Zabar's - are they similar? Thanks.

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  1. I think they are similar in taste, but Vidalias are from Vidalia Georgia and are only available for a limited time each year. I went to grad school in Atlanta and once went to the Vidalia onion festival...what a hoot!

    1. I use whatever large sweet onions are in season interchangeably. I prefer the sweet onions as well. The large yellow sweet onions often have labels on them, with names like Walla Walla, Vidalia, Texas Sweet, or Maui. I think different growers ship them at different times. I buy them all year in the St. Louis area. They don't store very long, though.

      1. Vidalia onions only have a short season.

        "Sweet onions" can be really similar or not but are the only choice this time of year.

        1. rule of thumb-
          the flatter the onion the sweeter

          1. I think sueatmo is about right. I think that Oso Sweets, Mayan Sweets, And VeriSweets are also probably fairly reliably sweet. As a grower, I can tell you that many shippers ship what ever onion they have and call it a sweet. That confuses consumers. In general, fall-winter onions are not very sweet unless they are imported from the southern hemisphere. Look for the three labels I have listed during the winter period. Vidalias become available in about April.
            Due to high consumer interest, the industry is responding by developing new varieties which will mean true sweet onion availability September through about January. These varieties will be more widely available by next fall. Check with me in September and I will tell you where you can get these truly sweet onions.
            thew's comment about "the flatter the sweeter" is generally true with some exceptions. The new fall sweet onions will not be very flat, though they will be very sweet. Sweet onions also tend to be paler in color.
            One final comment: When eaten raw, true sweet onions are much sweeter than others. But, when cooked, any onion is sweet. The bolder onions may even be sweeter when cooked because they have a higher solids content and therefore a higher sugar content. The "hot" taste components are cooked out of them. The bolder onions will have other more desirable cooking qualities such as firmness. When it comes to cooked onions, I do not understand the sweet onion craze.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jsnyder

              For us sensitive souls, the sweet varieties are much easier on the eyes (when cutting/chopping). And I really don't notice any difference in recipes.