Yellow or white onions? I have never been clear on which onions are best for which recipe. Is one kind better for baking or on fresh salads? What's the difference? - Samantha H., Schertz, Texas
Onions are divided into two groups - green and dry. The green-onion group includes chives, scallions, leeks and shallots. The dry-onion group includes many types of round onions with brittle outer skins.
Both groups are used in cooking. Here's a quick list to help you out in the kitchen and the produce aisle:
Yellow "globe" onions have a strong, tangy flavor and usually are more than 2 inches around. They are the "old standby" for cooking and turn dark brown when cooked. This is the onion you will find in French onion soup recipes.
Jumbo Spanish onions are yellow-skinned, round, slightly sweet and mild in flavor. They are often sauteed in Mexican cuisine.
Bermuda onions can be round or semi-flat, and are mild and sweet. They can be white or yellow and are great on sandwiches or sliced for salads.
Red onions are used mostly for grilling and charbroiling, and for other fresh-to-the-table preparations.
Another interesting onion is the Vidalia, which is a small, white, sweet onion that is best for salads and sandwiches (where a stronger onion might be overpowering). Another of my favorites is the Sweet Texas 1015, which is a supersweet onion that's delicious in casseroles, pizza and pasta dishes, or even eaten raw. - Heloise
Here's an easy salt-substitute recipe that keeps well in a clean spice jar, if stored in a cool, dry place. Combine 5 teaspoons onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed. - Heloise
If you are planning to store a refrigerator or freezer for a short time, you must clean it thoroughly first. Then place fresh coffee grounds, baking soda or charcoal in a couple of old, clean socks and put them inside each compartment before storing. This will help neutralize any stale odors while the unit is closed up. - Heloise
BROWSE BEFORE BUYING
I often get special offers in the mail to order cookbooks at a discounted price. Before ordering, I go to a local superstore or bookstore that carries that book and browse through it. That way, I can make sure the book is one that I would be interested in, and I am not wasting money on something I would not use once I have ordered it. - Anne Akin, Texarkana, Texas
The thin, lightweight produce bags are always so hard to open. I've solved this by wetting my finger on a moist surface where the fruits and vegetables are displayed (from the ones that get sprayed periodically). The ends of those thin produce bags will open with no problem with a damp finger. - Peggy B., Spokane, Wash.
I find that plastic net onion bags make great scrubbers and can be thrown out when icky. - Claire in Alabama