There are plenty of reasons to cry, but chopping onions shouldn’t be one of them, says Sunions. Sunions, America’s first tearless and sweet onions, are back in season with a fresh crop now available on grocers’ shelves. They’re available nationwide through March, while supplies last.
Sunions are a product of more than three decades of farming, research, and development to create a no-tears onion*. Sunions are not genetically modified (non-GMO), but have been developed through all-natural cross-breeding technique.
The brand promises that each onion is certified both tearless and sweet before shipping to retailers.
Any cook who has sliced into an acrid onion can appreciate a tearless one. When regular onions are cut, they release volatile compounds responsible for making your eyes tear up.
Over time, breeders have been able to identify volatile onions using gas chromatography. They naturally isolate and breed only the onions that would cause fewer (or no) tears when cut.
Sunions are the invention of Rick Watson, a plant breeder working for the chemical company BASF. He began working on the innovation in the late 1980s.
BASF supplies the seeds for the onion. They are sold to growers who then produce the onions and sell them to retailers.
But growing these onions requires special attention and an investment of time. Only top-level growers can purchase the seeds [source].
The onions were first grown in the U.S. Nevada, Utah, and Washington proved to have the perfect soil and environment (terroir†). The result: sweet, delicious, tearless.
Sunions are unique in that their rigorous testing process ensures a consistent flavor unlike anything else on the market. They actually grow sweeter the longer they’re stored, whereas other onions grow hotter and more pungent.
Storage decreases the volatile compounds to create a tearless, sweet and mild onion.
With Sunions, the onions go straight into storage after harvesting.
While in storage, the onions are then triple-tested for peak flavor and maximum tearlessness. Sunions must pass three separate tests for flavor, crunch, and tearlessness, to determine their ship date.
Then, they’re off to a retailer near you: Aldi, Food Lion, H-E-B, Meijer, Publix, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, and Whole Foods, among others.
For more information and a complete list of where to buy, here’s a store locator.
Get yours before they’re gone for the season!
We cherish sweet onions for the way they increase our raw onion enjoyment on:
*The intense flavor and acrid odor of onions are caused by substances called thiosulfinates, which are created when enzymes called alliinases, contained in the onion’s cells, interact with proteins that are also present in the onion. These reactions take place only when the onion’s cells are ruptured by slicing. The result: the strong-smelling enzymes are released to offend your eyes and with most people, your nose.
†Terroir, pronounced tur-WAH, is a French agricultural term referring to the unique set of environmental factors in a specific habitat that affects a crop’s qualities. These include climate, elevation, proximity to a body of water, slant of the land, soil type, and amount of sun. These environmental characteristics give the wines produced from these grapes a unique character.
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