Wipe away those tears! One way to avoid tearing up is to cut them under running water, or while submerged in a basin of water. Onions not only provide flavor; they also provide health-promoting phytochemicals as well as nutrients!
How to Select
Look for firm onions, with no soft spots, damp or moldy patches. Choose from the following, according to your recipe: White onion: medium to large in shape, with a white papery skin and evenly white flesh. They have a strong flavor and are good for stuffing or baking; only use raw in salads if you want an assertive onion flavor. Yellow/brown onion: a good all-purpose onion, with a light golden skin and yellow flesh. Spanish onion: has a similarly colored skin to a yellow/brown onion, but is usually bigger, as well as sweeter and milder - good for omelettes, salsas and stir-fries. Red onion: varies in size, but has a distinctive red/purple skin, and the edge of each of its white rings is tinged with red. The flavor is mild and quite sweet. Good for salads, marinades, salsas and roasts.
How to Store
Depending on their condition when purchased, dry onions will keep for several months. Store them in a cool, dry place (not the fridge as they will go soft). Once cut, wrap them up in the fridge and use within two or three days. Spring onions can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
How to Prepare
First slice off the top of the onion (leave the root on for the moment), then remove the papery skin and any brown outer layers. To chop the onion, cut in half from top to bottom. Put the cut side down and make a number of horizontal cuts towards, but not quite reaching, the root. Then make as many vertical cuts through the onion, again not quite reaching the root. Holding the onion very firmly and with the knife blade at right angles to the first set of cuts that you made, slice down vertically - the onion will fall away in small pieces as you go. Continue cutting until you reach the root, which you can now discard. To slice, trim the root off, then cut in slices moving from the root end towards the top. Leave as slices or separate each one out into rings. All onions are best prepared just before you use them.