What Substitutes Are There For Vidalia Onions?
Onions have a unique ability to be sweet, savory, pungent and aromatic all at the same time. Much like celery, they don’t add much to dishes in terms of nutrition (or calories). But they do add so much in the way of flavor that even people who purport not to like onions would miss them if they were left out of certain recipes. Most folks wouldn’t snack on a raw onion the way they would an apple or a carrot, but when it comes to cooking, onions are as integral as eggs or butter. They may even as important as pots and pans!
Fun Fact: People have been eating and cooking with onions since the Bronze Age. The earliest known onion harvest dates back to 5000 BC!
How Sweet it Is
If you prefer a milder onion flavor, sweet onions are the way to go. Larger and slightly flatter than yellow onions, sweet onions have lighter, more translucent skins and contain more sugar than yellow onions, making them good for caramelizing. Their larger size and sweeter flavor make them ideal for making onion rings. A nice, thick slice of sweet onion can also add wonderful flavor to a hamburger or sandwich. In salads, sweet onions add onion flavor without overpowering the rest of the ingredients.
Fun Fact: Worried about onion breath after eating a dish with onions in it? Follow the meal up by munching on a sprig of parsley to take care of it!
Sweet Georgia Onions
Some of the world’s sweetest onions (like Pittman & Davis’s Sweet Georgia Onions) are grown in Georgia. Their sweetness is due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which they’re grown. In fact, a sweet onion can only be called a Vidalia Onion if it was grown in one of twenty specific counties designated by the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986. (Named for the city where it was first discovered, the Vidalia onion was named Georgia’s official state vegetable in 1990.) So, while all Vidalia Onions are sweet onions, not all sweet onions are Vidalia Onions.
Fun Fact: It’s the sulfuric compounds in onions that cause us to tear up when we cut them. Because their grown in soil that’s lower in sulfur, sweet onions can be less irritating than other varieties.
Substitutes for Vidalia Onions
There are many other types of sweet onions available, including Walla-Walla (after the city in Washington State) and Texas Sweets, and these can easily be used in any recipe calling for Vidalia Onions. For big sweet onion flavor, you can find Texas sweet onions for sale at Pittman & Davis. While it may seems strange to buy onions online, it’s the easiest way to get Texas sweet onions, and the National Sweet Onion Challenge Blue Ribbon Raw Texas 1015 Sweet Onion has as crisp, sweet flavor that will bring your steaks and hamburgers to life.
Fun Fact: Texas 1015 onions are so-named because they are planned in mid-October (i.e. on or around October 15th).
A Gift of…Onions?!
While it may at first seem like an odd idea to send onion gift boxes to friends and family members for holidays or other special occasions, think again. For one thing, onions last awhile when stored properly. And as stated above, they’re a cooking staple – your recipient is sure to use every last one, and probably sooner rather than later. So check out Pittman & Davis’s own gourmet onion offerings…you may find you want to get yourself a box or two as well!
Fun Fact: During the Middle Ages, onions were an acceptable form of currency! They were used to pay the rent and as tender for goods and services. And yes, they made great gifts back then, too!