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The Pantry Quiz #39


Do you know?

An onion is an onion is an onion, right? Wrong. To everything there is a season, and that includes onions. I've been making batches of caramelized onions lately, sometimes in the slow cooker, to stir into frittatas and strew on pizzas. Which onions are best for caramelizing: onions planted in the fall and harvested in the spring, or onions planted in spring and harvested in the fall? (Extra credit if you know why.)

Please leave your answer in the comments, and let us know whether you have this ingredient in your pantry.

[Last week's answer: Fresh ginger root.]

You can find most answers to The Pantry Quiz by using the search box at right, at the top of the page, to hunt for clues. Come back next Saturday for the answer to today's quiz question.

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I have to confess, I have no idea about this one. Can't wait to find out though.

fall through winter grown onion. Makes for a harder grown onion?

My best guess is an onion grown over the winter, because it should be sweeter. I know that 'frost-kissed' spinach is sweeter than spring spinach, and it has something to do with the fluid within the plant being more concentrated with sugar during cold weather . . . this is where I get fuzzy . . . the fluid moves more easily with the sugar within it? Protects the cell walls from bursting? I'm guessing at this point.

The onions that carmelize the best are those with a higher natural sugar content, such as those grown in the South and the tropics (ie: Georgia, Texas, Hawaii). They are planted in the fall and harvested in the spring. However, any onion will carmelize if given enough time on a low heat source. May and June are the best times to buy the famous Vidalia onions. They are usually harvested in late April, ealry May.

I would guess onions planted in the fall and harvested in spring, because they would be putting out very little energy, which they store as sugar, through those winter months...

No clue about this one. In my complete ignorance, I didn't even know that there was more than one season for harvesting them. Can't wait to learn the answers.

Onions planted in the spring and harvested in the fall allows the most sun. More sun will develop more sweetness... just like tomatoes.

All onions are not the same; Vidalia is my favorite!

I had no idea about onions other than basic varieties of white, yellow, red, sweet etc
Poor onions - often overlooked as the 'simple cousin' and yet so complex!

As an expat RI that moved to Hawaii there are only 2 seasons in Hawaii (winter Nov to Mar more rain and summer Apr to Oct dryer almost no rain). Average daily temperature is 78 F degrees 365 days, sunny with cooling trade winds. The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation indicates there is a 365 day produce growing cycle in Hawaii. Farm fresh just picked sweet corn on cob is fantastic in Dec! Onions are planted during winter in Hawaii and harvested all summer long. NOTE: Hawaii is the only state that “commercially” grows coffee (also makes coffee syrup), tea (Harrods’s of London sells for $300 USD/oz.), cacao (chocolate best single estate in world), vanilla beans, cinnamon and macadamia nuts.

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