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Vidalia® onions are medium to large in size with a globular, flattened, squat shape, narrowing at the stem and root ends and widening around the middle. The bulb is encased in a pale copper-gold to light yellow, thin parchment-like skin. The dry and flaky skin protects the firm, white, and juicy flesh and within the flesh, there are many thin, layered rings. Vidalia® onions are crisp and tender with a mild, sweet flavor.
Vidalia® onions are available in the mid-spring through late summer.
Vidalia® onions, botanically classified as Allium cepa, are one of the sweetest varieties available on the market today and are members of the Amaryllidaceae family. Discovered in the early 1930s, the name Vidalia® is a legally-registered title assigned to specific seed varieties grown in approved areas near Vidalia, Georgia. There are only a few seed varieties approved by the Georgia Agricultural Commission, and the most-used variety is the yellow granex. Each year, the Georgia Department of Agriculture sets an official pack date to mark the beginning of the Vidalia® onion season and no onion sold before that pack date can be labeled as a “Vidalia.” Vidalia® onions are favored by chefs and home cooks for their versatility in culinary applications and for their sweet, mild flavor.
Vidalia® onions are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and B6, potassium, and manganese.
Vidalia® onions are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as grilling, roasting, frying, sautéing, and braising. When used fresh, the onions can be sliced and tossed into salads, layered in burgers, wraps, and sandwiches, or minced into salsa or dips. The onions can also be caramelized, adding a deep, rich sweetness to any dish, grilled for pulled pork sandwiches, or slow-cooked with stews, mashed potatoes, or casseroles. Vidalia® onions can add sweetness to desserts, served with heirloom tomatoes in a simple salad with an oil-and-vinegar dressing, mixed into creamy pasta, boiled in French onion soup, fried into rings, or used as a pizza topping. Vidalia® onions pair well with yogurt-based dips, curry powder, honey, chives, pears, mango, ginger, asparagus, goat cheese, meats such as pork, beef, poultry, and fish. The bulbs will keep 1-2 months when wrapped in a paper towel and stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Vidalia® onions were officially named the state vegetable of Georgia in 1990 due to their national fame. The variety’s delicate sweetness and mild flavor are attributed to the growing region's mild climate, sandy and low sulfuric soil, and farming practices. The onions are also hand planted and hand harvested each season as the farmers take great pride in their hometown variety. A Vidalia® onion festival was created in 1978 in Vidalia, Georgia to celebrate the cash crop and this festival is still celebrated today each spring.
Vidalia® onions were first discovered and cultivated during the Great Depression in 1931 by Moses Coleman in Toombs County Georgia. After gaining popularity through word of mouth at a farmers’ market in Vidalia, Georgia, the onions began to appear in commercial supermarkets in the 1950s and 1960s. Due to the variety’s popularity, in 1986 legislation was passed that officially registered the Vidalia® onion name and defined the twenty-county growing region in Georgia per the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Today Vidalia® onions are found at farmers markets and specialty grocers across the United States and are also sometimes found in select markets in Europe and Canada.
Recipes that include Vidalia® Onions. One is easiest, three is harder.