Onions

When I go to the grocery’s onion bin, I usually don’t know what to look for to check if a bulb is fresh. Not wanting to look like a complete noob, I do my best: I smell the onion. Hmm… smells like onion. I shake the onion. Good, no jiggling. I listen to the onion. Quiet, just the way I like my onions. When I get home though and cut into my onion, I usually have to throw it away because then I see that it’s not all that fresh!

Thankfully though, I got a spot in Enderun’s Culinary Foundation Course, conducted by Chef Toby Libarnes so I learned how to properly choose a good fresh onion.

Here’s what you look for:

1. Basic shape. You should know what an Onion looks like now so the shape should generally be that of an onion. If an onion looks like a banana, it’s probably a banana.

2. The outer papery skin should be crisp & dry. Also, there shouldn’t be too much of it. This is a sign that the onion is starting to go bad or, worse, has already gone bad.

3. Avoid mold! Look for signs that mold is starting to form. Drop those onions like they’re hot.

4. Firmness. The onion should be firm. Any softness is an indication of decay inside. Make sure to press the neck and root of the onion as well — they should be firm also.

5. No sprouts. You don’t want no sprouts. A sprout is an onion who can’t get nothing from you. The green shoots are usually very bitter (mapakla in tagalog) and ruins the dish.
Onion - May 3

There you go! Now you should know how to pick perfect onions. Don’t forget to have your onion weighed and priced at the produce section!

Proudly Pinoy,

PS – If you feel I missed anything, please feel free to add a comment in the comment section below!

(This is part of a series on picking fresh produce & other ingredients.)

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