Onion: Varieties

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Over the millennia since onion cultivation began, many different types of round onion have been bred. Size varies, from small pickling onions about 1 cm (0.5") in diameter to huge specimens weighing more than 500 g (1 lb), sometimes more. (In 1980, for example, a new record was established by a Mr Rodger with an onion bulb grown in his council house garden in Scotland, weighing almost exactly 6.5 lbs). Colours may be white, brown, yellow, or red. Flavour ranges from very mild to strong, whether harshly biting or simply with a pronounced flavour.