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6 Onion Secrets You Need to Know Now (PHOTOS)

chopping onionA lot of people don't like onions, period. They don't like chopping them, don't like cooking them, and they definitely don't like eating them. And who can blame you for not being a fan? Onions are kind of tricky. They release fumes that make you cry, they bite back, and sometimes they just seem to rudely take up space in your dish without really contributing anything yummy. It makes you wonder, why do we even bother with this vegetable?

Well, the truth is, onions are among the most misunderstood and abused foods out there. It's not them, it's us. We're not treating onions right! Here are 6 tips for cooking onions that could change how you feel about them. As for bad breath from eating onions, well, that one's still on you.

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1DON'T Just Toss Raw Onions Into Your Salad

We see this all the time: Thin slices of red or sweet onion in a salad. No matter how thinly you slice it, though, it gives off too much of the wrong kind of heat. Ecchhh! No likey. I tend to pick them out. It doesn't have to be this way, though.


2DO Marinate Onions in Salad Dressing

Here's a handy tip I just learned from celeb chef Gail Simmons: Marinate your onions in salad dressing before you add them to your salad. It's easy. When you go to make your salad, start by chopping or slicing your onions and then pour a vinegar or citrus-based dressing over them. Let them soak for about 10 or 15 minutes and their heat and flavor will mellow considerably. Then toss them and the dressing into your salad.

You can always strain the onions before adding them to your salad, if you've used more dressing than you actually want to eat.

By the way, the big exception to this are green onions -- thinly sliced green onions are great raw in salads.


3DON'T Make Yourself Cry Chopping Onions

Are you cutting up room-temperature onions with a dull knife in a room without ventilation? This will make you cry. You can have chopped onions without making yourself look like you just sobbed your way through a Nicholas Sparks movie.


4DO Chop Onions the Cry-Free Way

There's a few simple tricks that make chopping an onion less painful.

1. Keep your onion refrigerated so it's cool.

2. Use a very sharp knife.

3. Wet your knife before starting.

4. Glide your knife through the onion at an angle rather than chopping straight up and down.

More from The Stir: The Secret to Chopping an Onion Without Crying

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5DON'T Just Dump Onions Into the Dish You're Cooking

Onions are better when you consider them a garnish or a flavoring agent rather than an ingredient in a dish. You never want to just throw them raw into a stew, or omelette, or sauce along with everything else. You'll end up with slightly mushy, vaguely oniony bits in your food. Ugh, haaaaate that.

6DO Cook Onions Separately Before Adding Them

Let your onions express their true onioniness and do what they were meant to do. Here are two delicious ways to prepare onions before adding them to a dish. We swear -- it's totally worth the trouble!

1. Cook chopped onions in butter or oil until they're soft and golden. You can do this along with garlic and peppers as long as everything is chopped about the same size.

2. Cook thinly-sliced onions with a little bit of water over low heat for about 30 minutes. Keep adding water as it evaporates. Eventually you'll end up with super-sweet, golden-brown onions. And YES! You can do this with a Crock-Pot.

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