Sweet and delicious: Enjoy Vidalia onions raw, in salads, sandwiches, grilled, roasted, fried

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When my son-in-law, Sidney Holland, owner of Bluffton-based construction company, Stalwart LLC, became family 10 years ago, my interest in the famously sweet Vidalia onion skyrocketed.

Photos By Sue Ade
Photos By Sue Ade
Pictured are sweet Vidalia onions. As required by the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986, anyone wishing to use the U.S. certified Vidalia mark on any products containing fresh Vidalia onions must first apply to the Georgia Department of Agriculture for a license.

Although Sid is a builder and not a Vidalia onion farmer, his being born and raised in Vidalia, the Southeastern region of Georgia where world-famous Vidalia onions are cultivated, has given him special knowledge, nurtured from the ground up.

When I asked Sid what it is about Vidalia that makes their onions so mild and sweet, he said it's in their "mild climate" and "sulfur-deficient soil."

According to Sid's mother, Sandra, who still lives in Vidalia, farmers are pulling onions from the ground "right now."

In addition, Sandra states that Vidalia's annual Vidalia Onion Festival (always held during the last weekend in April) is a wonderful family event that she and visitors look forward to "all year long," and with an "air show, cooking contests, rodeos, softball games, beauty pageants, and more," it's no wonder the celebration, in honor of Georgia's state vegetable, has remained popular throughout the past 32 years.

The festival may be behind us now, but harvesting of the renowned Vidalia onion will continue through mid-June.

Enjoy Vidalia onions raw, in salads and sandwiches, or eat them grilled, roasted and fried.

When purchasing Vidalia onions, choose onions that are free of mold and mildew and are heavy for their size.

Because these onions don't keep well, the Vidalia Onion Committee recommends wrapping them individually in paper towels and storing them in the refrigerator.

Keeping them dry is also important, and for best flavor, they should be eaten within one week of purchase.

Many, many good things come from Georgia, like Vidalia onions, pecans, and peaches and if you're fortunate, a great son-in-law, too.

For additional information about delicious Vidalia onions, including how to buy them, visit the Vidalia Onion Committee at www.vidaliaonion.org, or call 912-537-1918.

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