Grocery Guides

Yellow Onions – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce



Aug 9, 2021

What are yellow onions?

Yellow onions are most recognized for their copper-colored and flaky outer skin. The inside of a yellow onion will usually be pale yellow, light green, or white in color.

In comparison to white onions, yellow onions contain more sulfur content which creates a more complex flavor. Yellow onions still have your typical potent ‘onion’ bite but have a sweet note that becomes more dominant the longer it is cooked.

Where do yellow onions originate from?

In general, onions are thought to be one of the oldest vegetables as they have been grown and consumed for over 5,000 years. Although the exact origination is debated, yellow onions are believed to have originated from Asia and were then spread throughout the world through colonizers and traders.

What is the nutritional value of yellow onions?

One standard yellow onion typically contains:

  • 45 calories
  • 0g of total fat
  • 12g of total carbohydrates
  • 3g of fiber (equates to about 3% of a person’s Daily Value (DV))
  • 1g of protein
  • 5mg of sodium
  • 40mg of calcium (4% of DV)
  • 0.3mg of iron (4% of DV)

Yellow onions provide a good source of vitamin C and small amounts of folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin A. The vitamin C amount decreases when exposed to heat, light, or air. To gain the optimal amount of vitamin C, wait to cut your onions until right before use, and consume them lightly cooked or raw.

How are yellow onions grown?

Onions can be grown from any stage: as a seed, from a seedling, or from dormant bulbs. It should be noted that if you are planting onion from seeds, the process adds a year to the overall growth and harvesting periods. Most gardeners plant onion sets (or small bulbs) to gain harvest in the same planting year.

The green onion stems will usually be ready for harvest in about two and a half to three weeks of planting. However, the onions bulbs will take longer to grow, approximately 100 days or more, to reach their full maturity.

Onions are often planted during the spring or fall. They will grow well in raised beds or raised rows that are at least four inches in height. Onions need rich soil and require a consistent watering schedule. If you are growing onions from small bulbs, give them about an inch of water per week. Be sure to keep your growing area free of weeds. Onions grow shallow roots and don’t develop well if they have to compete against growing weeds.

Onions are ready for harvest when their green top flops over. When this happens, the entire bulb (including the top) is ready to be pulled from the soil and is temporarily stored in a dark place for several weeks to dry. Once completely dry, the onions can be transported indoors to a cool, dark area for storage. An important tip when lifting mature onions to dry, remove the roots from the soil. If you forget to remove the roots, the onions might grow again and become watery in texture and flavor.

When are yellow onions in season?

Yellow onions are available at grocery stores throughout the year, but they are in their peak season during the spring and fall. See what other fresh produce is currently in season near you.

What should I look for when buying yellow onions?

Yellow onions have a copper, paper-like outer skin that is thicker than white onions. When choosing yellow onions at the store, feel the onions and ensure they are firm, heavy, and have no soft spots or discoloration.

If you are looking to have your groceries conveniently delivered, you can easily shop for yellow onions and more via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to notify your Instacart shopper about any preferences or specific directions on how to choose the best products.

How to store yellow onions

It is best not to store whole yellow onions in the fridge. Onions absorb moisture at a fast rate, and if there is too much humidity in the air or if temperatures are too high, the onions may start to spoil. They are best stored in a cool, dry, and dark area in an open basket, mesh bag, or even pantyhose if you have whole onions. Onions will last about a month if there is proper air circulation.

If you have chopped or sliced yellow onions and need to store them for later use, then it is acceptable to store your onions in the fridge. Sliced or chopped onions can be stored in a container or plastic bag and last in the fridge for about 7-10 days.

How to tell if yellow onions are bad

You can tell a yellow onion is going bad by its color. If you notice any dark spots or molding, that is a sure-fire sign that your onions have started to rot. A change in texture is another indicator of spoilage. Fresh onions should be firm and crisp. Spoiled onions will become mushy in texture. Keep an eye out for any sprouting. If a yellow onion develops sprouts, that is an indicator that it is time to replace your yellow onions with new ones.

What can I substitute for yellow onions?

Yellow onions can easily be substituted for any other onion variety. White and red onions are similar in size and texture. Although very different in appearance and texture, green onions offer a nice bite and a bit of freshness. You can choose alternatives like chives, leeks, garlic, or ramps (a vegetable that looks like a scallion but tastes like a cross between onions and garlic). For more out-of-the-box substitutes, check out other tasty root vegetables.

Start cooking with yellow onions

Yellow onions are a popular variety of onions. They have a distinct bite but also have a sweet note that becomes sweeter the longer they are cooked. Try adding yellow onions to your next culinary adventure by picking up some at your local grocery store or having your groceries conveniently delivered via Instacart.

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