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Get to know the allium family

The Dutch onion sector has plenty to offer that meets the varied requirements world wide. It has a comprehensive onion and shallot assortment. All onions and shallots are carefully selected based on uniformity and size. The products are packaged to customer specifications; from bulk to consumer packaging. 

Yellow onion

The most cultivated in the Netherlands is the yellow onion. The yellow onion is the onion you can buy everywhere. With its golden yellow skin and white inside, it has a flesh firm with a pronounced flavour. The yellow onion can be used in many ways. It can be cooked, boiled or fried and complements many dishes, soups and sauces. The global food processing industry makes heavy use of the yellow onion, with end products being powder, oil, or concentrate. Specialised peeling companies are working for industrial users, they remove the skin and, where required, chop the onions.

The yellow onion is available in many different sizes, for example sorted at 30-40 mm, 40-60 mm, 60-80mm, and 80-100 mm.

Red onion

A highly decorative variety is the red onion. The red onion has a deep red, almost purple, skin that is a little thinner than that of the yellow onion. Once cut, the onion is light red and whitish in colour. The red onion grown in the Netherlands is a little less pungent then the Dutch yellow onion. Like the yellow onion the red onion can be used in many ways. The famous Salade Niçoise absolutely has to contain a red onion! Or follow the Scandinavian example: use red onions as a base for preserving herring. The red onion is, as the yellow onion, available in many different sizes.


The shallot is another member of the allium family. It is small, has a yellow or red skin, and has a refined and aromatic flavour. It is often held to be the true source of flavour in countless dishes. Shallots can be cooked or fried and are used in stews; either chopped or whole. Shallots usually have a size between 20 to 40 mm.

Spring onions

Spring onions, often called scallions or bunching onions, are sold by the bunch. With their mild flavour, they recall the leek. Raw, and chopped into thin rings, they are often used in salads or soups or curry dishes. As part of a stew spring onions give a mild onion taste. They should be stewed or fried for only a short period, as otherwise its delicate flavour disappears. Sautéed spring onions taste excellent with early spring vegetables, egg dishes, and light meat dishes such as veal, chicken and fish.

More members of the family

There are many different seed varieties of yellow and red onions, and there is even a relatively new pink onion available. Next to the well-known products, other members of the extended allium family are:

White onions are not only white on the inside, but also on the outside. These onions with a perfect white skin are difficult to cultivate in the Netherlands, and hence tend to be imported. The white onion generally has a very strong flavour and is mainly used in boiling and frying.

Pearl onions are very small sized onions, often preserved in vinegar and are sold in pots as white pearl onions or as yellow Amsterdam onions.

Sweet onions are mild and gentle flavoured onions. They tend to be imported from Southern Europe and from South America. Sweet onions have a yellow or very light yellow skin.

Chives, leeks and garlic are also members of the allium family. Its long fluted extensions turn chives a wonderfully decorative herb, with a gentle onion-like flavour. The leek is a flavourful vegetable which is also being cultivated in the Netherlands. Garlic is grown in the Netherlands on a very modest scale, therefore it is mainly imported.

Laatst gewijzigd: 20-07-2012 door: Rinus Reuvekamp
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