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The only guide to cooking with onions you’ll ever need (INFOGRAPHIC)

It’s easy to take onions for granted. But given how often we use them, maybe we shouldn’t be so cavalier with this all-important root vegetable.

Most people just walk through the onion section and grab the first onion they see. But onions are subtly different. Using the right onion can make a dish sing, but the wrong one can destroy it — too-sweet onions unable to stand up to the strong flavors of the dish or overly pungent ones destroying the balance of subtle flavors.

Next time you go to the store, spend a little more time in the produce section to make sure you get the right onion for the task at hand. For each recipe, you want to consider how the onion’s flavor will play with the other ingredients in your dish. Will it balance otherwise pungent flavors? Get lost in the shuffle? Or make the recipe better than the sum of its parts? Keep this infographic handy next time you’re shopping, and you’ll always know exactly which onion you should choose.

a guide to cooking with onions

Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

Bonus tips

  • There are too many varieties of onions to cover in one infographic, but when presented with an onion you’re not familiar with, look up the flavor profile online to decide what it’s best suited for.
  • When buying onions, look up the selection process (which onions are best), the best way to store them and how long they last — all of this varies by variety.
  • Some onions should never be stored in the refrigerator before they’re cut. Sweet onions are more suited to refrigerator storage.
  • Always use medium heat when cooking onions unless increasing pungency is your goal.
  • Use lemon juice or rub your hands on stainless steel to remove the scent from your fingers.
  • Reduce the effect of tearing when cutting pungent onions by placing a piece of bread between your lips and leaving the stem end intact as much as possible.
  • To get rid of onion breath, chew fresh parsley or a citrus peel.

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