Pearl onions are small, white or dry yellow onions with a very sweet flavor. They are used as a garnish for roasts or stews, but also as a condiment.
White pearl (baby) onions can be bought from the vegetable section of supermarkets and fruit and vegetable dealers or suppliers. They can also be found frozen and ready to use, and pickled with herbs in jars, which gives them a softer texture. Dried pearl onions are available throughout the year.
Whether fresh, dried, or frozen, pearl onions are typically glazed (with a pinch of sugar). They can also be cooked with other vegetables (for example, in a vegetable casserole). White pearl onions can also be poached in an aromatic broth or cooked in vinegar.
Glazed or otherwise, pearl onions are used as a garnish in many stewed dishes, which they pleasantly enhance, such as veal blanquette, beef bourguignon, navarin of lamb, etc. Pickled pearl onions are used as they are, as a condiment.
Fresh pearl onions should be stored in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator, where they will keep for a few days. Frozen pearl onions are stored in the freezer. Dried pearl onions should be stored in a cool and dry place, away from light.
Pearl onions have the same nutritional properties as all other onions, which are natural health foods. They contain vitamins and minerals; they are one of the best sources of selenium (a significant antioxidant in the fight against aging, among others things) in our diet. Onions have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. They inhibit platelet aggregation, resulting in a lower risk of blood clots. They also have a hypoglycemic effect due to their sulfur compounds (50 mg per 100 g) and their large quantity of diphenylamine (the volatile substance that irritates the eyes).