One of the most versatile vegetables that you can have in the kitchen is the onion. It tastes delicious in a variety of meals, and there are multiple types of onions to spice up the flavor of any meal.
Whether you’re making a soup, salad, omelets, or stir fry, onions will help you improve the dish one way or another. Onions come from the Allium family of veggies, including chives, garlic, and leeks.
There is plenty to learn about onions, so you should consider growing them this summer if you are a farmer looking to experiment with a valuable crop. Read on to discover the five types of onions you should be selling this growing season.
If you go to any farmer’s market in the United States, chances are you will see someone selling Spanish onions, one of the most common onion types in the country. You can identify a Spanish onion by its round shape, relatively sweet flavor, and brown, brittle skin.
Spanish onions are essentially yellow onions grown in soil with low amounts of sulfur, and they’re the best cooking option when you’re not sure which type of onion you should use. If you sauté a Spanish onion, the taste will become milder, and the color turns nearly translucent. For this reason, caramelizing Spanish onions is a fantastic idea!
Spanish onions are also relatively easy to grow, making them one of the more popular varieties. However, they need plenty of sunshine, so you should only grow them during the summer unless you live in an area with a more temperate climate.
To start, plant each of your onions four inches apart and keep the soil moist. You will know it’s time to harvest them when the bulbs start falling over and turning brown. Remember to cut off the tops before putting your Spanish onions into storage. This onion variety doesn’t last as long in storage as other types due to its higher water and sugar content.
Also known as scallions, green onions are a delicious addition to noodle and seafood recipes. Many people prefer to use green onions for preparing Mexican and Asian cuisine.
Since they aren’t as pungent as other types of onions, green onions prove one of the most versatile kinds out there, and you can enjoy them raw or cooked. Some recommended dishes for green onions are braised recipes, stir-fries, and stews.
You should know that green onions grow in clusters, and each one has an extended white neck with green, tubular leaves. Green onions are one of the easiest types to grow because you can place them in a shallow pot and grow them from your windowsill or plant them in your garden. You can harvest green onions with scissors by cutting off the leaves but be sure to only snip about a third of each leaf at one time.
This trimming allows new growth to flourish, giving you a continuous harvest to fill up your onion sack
. If you want an economic crop that will help you make a profit at the farmer’s market, you can’t go wrong with green onions.
Sweet onions are another fantastic choice for any recipe requiring raw onions. Some of the most popular sweet onions include Maui onions, Walla Walla onions, and Vidalia onions.
These onions are most practical when used as a garnish or cut up into salads and relishes. If you’re cooking onion rings, sweet onions are the perfect type to put in your deep frier, thanks to their delicate balance of sweetness and a mild taste.
When you’re growing them, make sure to keep your sulfur levels under control as you would with Spanish onions. To do this, avoid using sulfur-heavy fertilizers and opt for a nitrogen-based solution instead. In addition, sweet onions require plenty of water and are heavy feeders, so be sure to water them a decent amount and apply fertilizer regularly while you grow them.
These onions take a little longer than other types to grow, but they are worthwhile because they sell well and taste amazing.
Selling red onions helps you appeal to consumers who prefer a spicier crop. They are easily identifiable due to their reddish-purple hue and are a delectable choice for grilling and pickling.
Red onions pair well with leafy greens such as kale and arugula, making them a great salad companion or sandwich topper. French onion soup generally calls for yellow or white onions, but you can craft a spicier and more flavorful version by using red onions.
For this onion type, use an organic fertilizer so your crops can get off to a great start, and make sure that it’s underneath your planting furrow. Onion farmers refer to this process as “banding,” which allows young onions to access the necessary nutrients for growing at their roots.
Regardless of which type of onion you grow, these crops need plenty of sun and soil with adequate drainage to avoid drowning or rot. The pH of the soil should be somewhere between 6.0 and 6.8 for red onions. You have to dig out these onions when they’re ready to harvest, so don’t be afraid of getting dirty if you want to sell this kind!
White onions are an additional choice for salads, Mexican food, and soups for a more subtle flavor. Tacos and guacamole are great dishes for white onions because the subtle sweetness of these plants works well in the flavorful mix of either.
This onion type also benefits the flavor of whatever meat you or your customers pair them with. White onions have papery skin and suit caramelization well. You should know a few tips if you want to grow white onions properly.
First, remember to plant them earlier in the season so they don’t suffer from damaging frost later in the year. You also want to keep your soil moist and space out your onions for ideal growing conditions. Finally, don’t hesitate to use mulch to help your onions grow.
Overall, onions are fabulous for selling thanks to their flavor and accessibility. Now that you know the five types of onions you should be selling, prepare your soil for this lucrative crop!