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Yellow Cipollini Onions are similar in colour to yellow onions but are much smaller and have a flattened saucer-like shape. When raw they have a slightly sweet and pungent smell and taste, but cook down into a sweet and tender bite. These onions, when grown outside, are typically ready for harvest in Ontario in late summer and can be stored in a cool, dry place for longer storage and use in the off-season winter months.
Cipollini Onions can be enjoyed both raw and cooked due to their versatile flavour profile. They can be added to salads and sandwiches, added to soups and casseroles, sauteed, baked, roasted, grilled, or pickled. Since the skins of these onions are a little difficult to remove, they can be quick-boiled and blanched to loosen the skins.
Onions, the layered vegetables most are familiar with, are the swollen bulbs that grow under ground and send leaves out the top. Onions are closely related to garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks, and chives. The wild onion that today's cultivars are descended from is now extinct, but it is likely that onions were first cultivated in Central or Southwest Asia. Onions were likely domesticated for their storage and durability, and the Ancient Egyptians saw onions and their layers as a symbol for eternal life. Red Cipollini onions originated in the Reggio Emilia province of Italy, and are traditionally braised in a sweet and sour tomato sauce, consisting of tomatoes, salt, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Cipollini onions were once considered a poor man’s food in ancient Rome around 1500 BCE, but today the onions have grown in popularity.