Red onions are small to medium in size, averaging 10-15 centimeters in diameter, and are round to slightly oval in shape. The bulb is wrapped in red-purple thin, papery, parchment-like skin that is delicate and easily flakes off when touched. Underneath the skin, there is a burgundy wine-colored sheath that protects the flesh, and the dark purple flesh is firm, crisp, and coarse with many layers of white and purple rings. Red onions are crunchy, pungent, sweet, and slightly spicy when raw and when cooked their flavor lessens and grows mildly sweeter. The intensity of the pungent flavor varies depending on age, particular variety, and the amount of sulfur in the growing soil or the fertilizer used.
Red onions contain vitamin C, fiber, iron, and calcium. They also have a high polyphenol and flavonoid content, including a large amount of quercetin, which provides antioxidant properties that contribute to overall health, and sulfur, which promotes anti-inflammatory processes within the body.
Red onions are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as grilling, roasting, braising, caramelizing, and pickling. The coarse-textured onions are heavily utilized as a sandwich onion and can be layered on burgers, wraps, gyros, and paninis. The onions can also be chopped and tossed into leafy green salads, minced into salsa or guacamole, or pickled in red wine vinegar and layered on tacos, pizza, and fried rice. In addition to fresh preparations, Red onions can be grilled for a smoky flavor. Red onions pair well with eggs, avocados, olive oil, nuts, grilled meats, melting and fresh cheeses, acidic ingredients such as citrus, vinegar, and tomatoes, vibrant herbs including basil, cilantro, parsley, and tarragon and warming spices including cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and star anise. The bulbs will keep 1-2 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place with good air circulation. When sliced, Red onions will keep 7-10 days when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.