It’s hard for me to talk about this without crying, because I missed celebrating National Onion Ring Day on June 22, I guess the Supermoon threw my timing off. Anyway, the day devoted to one of my favorite oniony treats has me thinking about Vidalia onions and Vidalia, Georgia.
Onion rings are one of my favorite fast foods. Who doesn’t like a basket full of battered sliced onions which have been deep-fried, or baked if you’re watching caloric intake. Dip the rings in spicy ketchup or a spicy chipotle sauce and whoa, it’s pure deliciousness.
Looking back on my time in Atlanta, I’m reminded of my introduction to Vidalia onions—the best darn onions in the world if you ask me. My very Southern colleague Don, who frequently visited Vidalia, Georgia told me in his most Southern dialect that Vidalia onions were so sweet you could take a bite right out of them and not even cry. I never believed him until one day I dared myself to try and much to my surprise, he was right.
Whew, dem suckers sure is sweet! Shoot, had me doing a jig and searching for Vidalia onions all over the ‘Lanta.
If you want to experience all a Vidalia has to offer, head to the city with the same name. Just 180 miles (200 km) south of Atlanta, you’ll run into Vidalia, Georgia where the onion was first grown in the early 1930s. Now we’re talking small town living for you big city folks, cuz there ain’t but 34,000 folks living there. Shoot, that number increase in the spring when nearly 9,000 visitors visit the city for the Vidalia Onion Festival.
The five-day event brings in thousands of tourists and hosts a wide variety of activities such as parades, music, baseball tournaments, chef competitions, and of course the Miss Vidalia Onion pageant.
Oh my, when I think about my years in the south, my grammar goes out the window and spell check ain’t gonna be happy.
Short season, high demand
Vidalia onions are a winter crop which bulb only during relatively short days. This is why Vidalia’s are a seasonal treat only available in the spring and summer months. The sweet taste of a Vidalia comes from the low sulfur soils that keep the bulbs from developing a pungent taste.
The onions are so special that they have a coop of growers and under the terms of Federal Marketing Order No. 955, as well as a state law can only be called Vidalia if they are produced in one of the 13 counties and portions of seven others in Georgia.
They’re perfect to eat raw or cooked in your favorite dish containing onions and using apple technology, Vidalia onions can be put in a controlled atmosphere for up to seven months.
Why do onions make us cry?
Regular onions contain sulfur compounds which are responsible for the tears you when slicing them for your favorite savory dishes.
When slicing regular onions, the cells release enzymes that break down the sulfur compounds and generate sulfenic acids that turn into a gas called sulfuric acid and circulates through the air to your eyes. With the low sulphur soils in Vidalia, Georgia, you’ll find that Vidalia onions cause fewer tears! Hallelujah and Amen to that!
So if you wanna make the best darn onion rings on National Onion Ring Day or any day, I’d recommend Vidalia onions, but they will cost you a pretty penny. Don’t be surprised to pay over $20.00 for a 10-pound bag of the sweet oniony sensation.
Yep, the price of Vidalia onions is enough to make you cry, but so worth it.