Ingredient Name: Red or Purple Onions (Fresh)

Traditional Chinese Name: 洋蔥 (yáng cōng)

What is this?

  • The onion is a vegetable
  • It is virtually found in dishes and recipes in every culture around the world
  • Onions come in a variety of sizes (small ones are called shallots) and colours (like the red or yellow onion)
  • This type of onion has a mild to sweet flavor and its skin and meat and tinged with red or purple color
  • Onions are durable vegetables and will store for up to 1 month in the fridge (in fact, the also grow green onions out of the tops!)

How do I prepare it?

  • Peel the dried outer skins of the onions until you reach the meaty portions (while discarding the outer layer)
  • For soup usage, slice into large bite-sized cubes

Where can I buy this?

  • You can buy fresh onions in any supermarket
  • They can be found usually alongside white onions

What is the cost

  • A bag of roughly 10 medium-sized yellow onions cost around $1.50 – $2.00 CAD
  • Other onions (red or spanish) are usually sold individually and can cost more

Any benefits?

  • Onions are a good source of antioxidants
  • It is said that onions are beneficial to women (especially those going through menopause or are at risk for osteoporosis) by destroying osteoclasts so they do not break down bone
  • Onions contain sulfides (similar to those found in garlic) that may help lower blood pressure
  • Onions are highly versitile in growth.  They can be grown virtually anywhere (even your own backyard!)

Any precautions?

  • Excess consumption can lead to stomach distress and irritation which can result in nausea and/or diarrhea
  • Onions secrete an acid, which leads to the stinging of eyes when the onion cells are cut.  To avoid this, you can either cut onions submerged in water, under running water or semi-frozen


Onions do add significant flavour to soups and they become soft and tasty when boiled over a period of time.  I am a big fan of onions, whether its raw, cooked, diced, sliced or boiled.  A must have in every kitchen.  Red or purple onions in particular also add a nice color the soup if used in large amounts!

Chopped red or purple onions