Now that the rainy season has arrived in fits and starts, the quality of locally available vegetables has started to deteriorate and prices have escalated dramatically. Onions and carrots, in particular, tend to plumb new depths for horrific quality, with locally grown or stored onions getting soft, mushy or rotten. Carrots are also awful and frankly, slimyâ€¦ The local red onions seem to hold up a bit better but even those are suspect. And prices will soon rise from their lows of say PHP25-30 a kilo to as high as PHP60-70 in the months ahead. You may not be aware of this but a LOT of our Spanish or white or yellow onions are now imported by the container load from China and other Asian neighbors and while they seem to be better prepped (dried and cleaned for longer shelf life), they are also olderâ€¦ Last year I noticed that the Dole Company was occasionally putting out these utterly gigantic and shrink-wrapped white onions at major groceries. I have only purchased these onions 2-3 times but I am really thrilled they are available and will probably use them a whole lot more this rainy season.
At PHP80 a kilo at last purchase, they seem expensive or almost double other locally available onions. But think again. The entire onion is usable (no heavy outer skin to throw away, and if you choose it well (most of their specimens look fantastic), you have no wastage at all. So frankly, I think they are reasonably priced when viewed in that light. Each onion is a whopping 800-1,000+ grams in weight! They are milder than local onions and work well when raw onion is called for â€“ say in guacamole dips, a tomato, onion and blue cheese salad or in hamburgers. They taste good when cooked as well. These onions arenâ€™t quite the Sweet Vidaliaâ€™s or other sweet varieties available in the U.S., but they are pretty darn good. The best thing about these onions (which must be grown down south in Mindanao and probably predominantly for export) is that they are available in what is otherwise the onion low point of the year. Now, if only Dole would get cracking on some decent carrots for the rainy seasonâ€¦