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Raw onion: how to remove the pungency

Raw onion: how to remove the pungency

Eating raw onions: it’s a love hate relationship. It’s good, but it is hard to digest and sometimes the taste it is way too strong, so strong to cover everything else.

So here there is a quick trick to get rid of the pungency and leave the flavour and make it easier to digest.

This little escamotage was taught to me by Mr. Greengrocer a few summers ago while on holiday in Sardinia on the beautiful island of Sant’Antioco. Over there you can find this gorgeous huge white onions and Mr. Greengrocer told me the story on how that they eat these onions mainly raw in salad with tomatoes and these funny looking super long and hairy cucumbers. Anyhow, here is the onion trick that works with any onion.

Raw onion: how to remove the pungency
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1
  • 1 onion
  • Water, very cold
  • Ice (if you have some)
  • White vinegar
  1. Chop the onion finely sliced or julienne or however your recipe calls for it.
  2. Fill up a glass or plastic bowl with the water, add some ice and the vinegar, let’s say a couple of table spoon of every 2 cups of water, but feel free to add more if you want a more intense vinegary taste.
  3. Sometimes when I do not have any white wine vinegar handy, I use red wine vinegar or even some balsamic vinegar. With the red wine one, you get pretty much the same result you get with the white vine, jut the onions turn a little pink. I find, however that with the balsamic the result is not as good.
  4. When you are ready to use them (let them in the eater at least 15/20 minutes), drain them and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  5. The result will be a super crunchy onion (because of the ice and the cold water), sweet in taste, but without that strong pungency that sometimes could be overwhelming.
  6. Just to quote myself a little bit here: in the kitchen are the details that make the difference.



This post is also available in: Italian

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Beans, mackerel and onion salad - a cheap and quick Italian classic... almost • Foodies' Place
    May 6, 2017 at 3:43 am

    […] ya ya, but raw onions? They are too strong, then why don’t you read my article on “Raw onion: how to remove the pungency” and let me […]

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