Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Worldwide Onion Quality Concerns?


Chris Amirault
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was cooking this weekend quite a bit, and my wife overheard me cursing repeatedly. "Every other onion is a soft mess," I whined. "This has been happening all year long!"

My wife then responded by saying that she heard a story about onion quality dropping worldwide, especially in India. I haven't been able to find anything about this in my morning rush, so I turn to you.

Have your onions been lousy lately? Have others? What's going on? I need my alliums!!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope, not just you. Grocery stores, farmers market, even whole foods, they are all suck. I've returned more than half of the bags I've bought in the last 2 months

Posted from my handheld using the Tapatalk app. Want to use eG Forums on your iPhone, Android or Blackberry? Get started at http://egullet.org/tapatalk

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Same here. I thought maybe they had been exposed to frost in transit. Guess not.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been my experience that red onions are more likely than yellow or white to be soft and beyond their prime even before I have purchased them. Lately, however, bagged yellow onions have been equally disappointing. My last onion purchase was a few days ago, and at that point, only the large, Spanish onions were worth buying. Strange, because these are often of the same mushy quality as the reds. This has been true across the board at all the markets I frequent, even Wegmans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mitch, for me it's not seasonal. I've been careful about buying onions all year long, and even know which farms to buy from in the winter months (it's in Chelsea MA and has a distinctive tag on the red netting bag). And we're not talking about a small change: it's like going from a few bad onions per year to several entire bags being bad.

Having said that, does anyone have any information about this that transcends the anecdotal?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the amount of rain received in onion growing parts of the country this year.

If there is a lot of rain before harvest, or more importantly during the curing stage, they're probably going to rot more quickly and more frequently. I don't believe this is anecdotal.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Red onions are the only ones I haven't been having an issue with. I got home with a sack of yellows the other day that only half were usable. I usually squeeze 2-3 through the bag to make sure and must have picked a bad sample set. I've also had more with the green mold growing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This article from The Packer talks about onions recoverng this year after last year's terrible onion weather, late freeze and poor onion quality. Because onions are in high demand in Mexico, the onions that normally would have been exported to us stayed there to cover the local demand left from a shortage of quality onions.

http://thepacker.com/Texas-onion-shippers-keep-eye-on-Mexico-s-crop/Article.aspx?oid=1309515&fid=PACKER-SPECIAL-SECTIONS&aid=654

I saw other articles that mentioned in passing the dry growth conditions and wet harvest conditions of 2010.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have stopped buying bags of onions (and potatoes) long ago. Typically about a quarter of them are mushy or moldy. I only buy loose onions that I can give a close look at each one. i also carry a good pocket knife and will cut open a sample piece (especially fruits) to see if they are acceptable. I pay more but have less waste. If you go the the market early in the morning you may see the clerks tossing the stuff that has gone bad overnight. I often see them putting the new stuff under the old so it is a good idea to dig deep for the freshest produce.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have stopped buying bags of onions (and potatoes) long ago. Typically about a quarter of them are mushy or moldy. I only buy loose onions that I can give a close look at each one. i also carry a good pocket knife and will cut open a sample piece (especially fruits) to see if they are acceptable. I pay more but have less waste. If you go the the market early in the morning you may see the clerks tossing the stuff that has gone bad overnight. I often see them putting the new stuff under the old so it is a good idea to dig deep for the freshest produce.

All great tips, Paul. Do you cut into every onion you buy? That's been part of the problem for me: my otherwise trusty onion-quality senses, which have been just fine for a few decades, fail me now.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use mostly yellow onions and have been very disappointed lately. I thought my local supermarket was once again cheaping out and buying low quality onions rather than paying the extra two cents to get good quality produce. Guess I was wrong.

The only onion shopping criterion I know of is to select the cleanest, hardest, most perfect looking onions I can find and reject all others. Even then, I have lately brought home too many marginal onions and a couple of real stinkers.

I stopped buying bagged anything - other than those veggies where bagged is the only choice. My market loves to use bulk size bags to get rid of their second quality items.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In reading on the internet about onion quality, packing sites talked about cured and uncured (fresh) garlic and onions. Anyone know what they do to cure an onion?

Also, I've always heard that if you store onions and potatoes together they will both go bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quality problems in California as well. Out of a 3 pound bag of yellows I bought a couple weeks back, I got exactly one I could use in its entirety, and two where I could only salvage half of each. And like all y'all, I thought it was just me.

For me, sweets, reds and whites tend to go bad, or be bad to start with, more frequently than the yellows.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This article from The Packer talks about onions recoverng this year after last year's terrible onion weather, late freeze and poor onion quality. Because onions are in high demand in Mexico, the onions that normally would have been exported to us stayed there to cover the local demand left from a shortage of quality onions.

http://thepacker.com/Texas-onion-shippers-keep-eye-on-Mexico-s-crop/Article.aspx?oid=1309515&fid=PACKER-SPECIAL-SECTIONS&aid=654

I saw other articles that mentioned in passing the dry growth conditions and wet harvest conditions of 2010.

This article explains the poor quality of onions last year, especially on the East Coast (as I read this board).

Regular onions everywhere are scuzzy now because it's the end of that season. Those are the last onions coming out of storage. Fresh spring onions have been in the market here for weeks, and I expect the new crop of regular onions to show up in the market soon.

The quality of onions here has been fine, except for the last month or two, which is normal for us. California, Oregon, & Idaho all grow large crops of onions. As far as I know, those crops had no problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...