How to Peel Pearl Onions?


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Pearl onions, with their sweet taste and small size, are an excellent ingredient for stir fry, stews, soups, and a variety of your beloved recipes. They consistently enhance your meals with a richer depth and pleasing flavor.

However, peeling pearl onions can be problematic, thanks to their small size. You can use several methods to peel pearl onions, including a paring knife and blanching.

Once you’ve peeled onions, you can use them to prepare your favorite dishes. Here is how to peel pearl onions in three ways:

Peeling Pearl Onions with a Paring Knife

Step1: Prepare a Knife and Cutting Board

You’ll need a clean, sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife for this method. Make sure the knife is sharp enough to help you easily peel the onions.

Besides, the cutting board should be heavy and secure enough to be in place during the peeling process and prevent the knife from injuring you. If it feels like the cutting board can slip out of place, put it on top of a damp kitchen towel.

Step 2: Cut the Onions Ends

Now cut each pearl onion’s root ends and stem by holding it steadily with one hand against the board. Next, curl your fingers away from the knife and trim just enough to remove the onion’s roots and stem.

Remember, using a harper knife is the best way to get a clean cut. Using a dull knife on small onions will only crush them.

Step 3: Hold the Knife Safely

If you want to know how to peel pearl onions, learn to hold the knife in the dominant hand using three fingers.

Put your thumb on the other side of the blade to hold the knife steady, with your index finger resting against the blunt side of the blade to control movements.

Step 4: Removing the Top Layer

Remove the top layer after cutting the onion. All you need is a shallow cut into the onion’s top layer. Then, holding the onions with your hand and fingers curled away from the blade, peel off the onion’s top layer.

2. Submerging Pearl Onions in Ice Water

Step 1: Place Pearl Onions in Hot Water

Put whole onions in a pot full of boiling water. That means you have to boil the water beforehand in readiness for this procedure. Allow the onions to simmer for one to two minutes.

As the water comes to a boil, prepare an ice bath by filling a medium mixing bowl with ice cubes and water. Add flavor by adding salt to the boiling water, and later on, use the onions in a recipe requiring salt.

Step 2: Draining the Onions

After cooking the onions for a while, remove them from the heat source. Remember, overcooked onions can be difficult to use in another recipe. As soon as you remove from the fire, drain out the water using a colander.

Step 3: Drop into Ice water

Drop the onions into the ice water you’d prepared earlier. Don’t wait for the onions to cool before dropping them in the ice bath since that can prevent the skin from loosening and the peeling process difficult.

Step 4: Cut off Root Ends

Cut the root end and squeeze it out of its skin for each onion. Once pearl onions are cool enough to handle, the skin can easily slide off. Next, take one of the frozen pearl onions, one at a time, and pinch them to roll off the skin.

3. Cutting and Blanching Pearl Onions

Learn to cut them in readiness for blanching if you want to know how to peel pearl onions. For each of the onions, cut the roots ends and the stem. While at it, prepare a pot of boiling water in readiness for blanching.

When cutting, hold the onion carefully, pushing your fingers away from the blade. Trim each end slightly to get rid of the stem and roots.

Remember, a sharper knife always produces a cleaner cut. Since pearl onions tend to be tiny, using a blunt knife may only crush them instead of cutting them.

The knife should be in your dominant hand with three fingers and a thumb curled around the handle. Then, in swift motions, cut off the unwanted parts of the onions.

Once you finish cutting the onions, place them into the pot of boiling water. Make sure the water is already boiling before putting the onions. Wait for 30 seconds until the onions cook.

While at it, prepare an ice bath of water and ice cubes in a bowl. Avoid overcooking the onions in readiness for use in other recipes.

Transfer the cooked pearl onions into the bowl with frost water after draining them from the hot water. Placing the onions into cold water immediately after cooking loosens the skin and makes it easier to remove.

Do you know how to peel pearl onions you have prepared in this manner? Use a sharp knife to remove the softened skin one onion at a time. However, you should wait until the onions have adequately cooled down to avoid burns.

What Are Pearl Onions?

Pearl onions are small onions with a sweet flavor available in many varieties, including red, white, or yellow. It is tasty when cooked fresh, roasted, pickled, or as creamed onions. It can be eaten in various food varieties, including meats and vegetables. Because of their small size, onions are usually eaten whole without cutting. They make food as delicious as can be.

Picking Pearl Onions

You can buy pearl onions straight from the grocery store together with other vegetables. But, first, check the store’s food section for fresh onions with the protective skin still intact. Essentially, you need to choose whole, dry, blemish-free, and soft-spots-free onions.

How to Use Pearl Onions?

Once you have peeled pearl onions, you can use them on their whole or as part of recipes for salads, casserole, meats, and vegetables. Here is a summary of recipes in which you can use peeled pearl onions:

  • Frozen peeled pearl onions are great when sauteed in butter before adding to creamed peas or a classic green beat casserole. You could also slow roast them after drizzling them with olive oil.
  • Use the onions to garnish Gibson cocktails or an antipasto platter.
  • Serve fresh raw pearl onions with grilled marinated vegetable kabobs, antipasto skewers, or potatoes.


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