July 7, 2012
Onions come in many varieties, but in the united states they are primarily indexed by color: red, white, and yellow. However, onions are labeled “sweet” when they have a higher water and lower sulfur content. This results in a lower pungency for which onions are well-renowned.
All onions have typically the same sugars present. The simple sugar fructose is responsible for any sweetness present, and fructans like inulin comprise the other quantity of digestible carbohydrates present. Fructans are [usually short] polymers of fructose that have been shown to have added health benefits beyond their caloric contribution.
Vidalia onions are especially sweet, but not because they are a different variety. They are grown in especially sulfur-poor soils of Vidalia, Georgia after which they are named. Attempts to reproduce these onions elsewhere has met limited success. As such (and because of subsequent legislation), “Vidalia onions” have a specific season, but all other onion types can be purchased year-round.
The Walla Walla sweet onion is another sweet onion produced in the U.S. named after its area of cultivation.
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