I don’t sweat onion size. Most of my recipes are flexible; if I call for a large onion and you use a medium onion, you’ll be fine. In other words, size doesn’t matter.
Except when it does.
I’m working on my vegetable broth recipe, and I want to get the right ratio of onion, celery, and carrot to water. (3:2 water to vegetables, and 3:2:1 onion to carrot to celery.) To do that right, I need to do it by weight; to give you instructions, I need to know what “2 large onions, chopped” actually means. Testing time! I went to the store, bought a range of onions, and got out my kitchen scale. Here’s what I found.
How much does a Small onion weigh?
5 ounces or less, averaging 4 ounces
How much does a Medium onion weigh?
5 to 8 ounces, averaging about 6 ounces
How much does a Large onion weigh?
8 to 12 ounces, averaging about 10 ounces
How much does an Extra-Large onion weigh?
12 ounces and up, averaging 16 ounces
|Small||4oz / 115g||5 oz or less||Racquetball|
|Medium||6oz / 170g||5 to 8 oz||Baseball|
|Large||10 oz / 285g||8 to 12 oz||Softball|
|Extra-Large||16oz / 454g||12oz or more||Shot Put|
Most of the onions at the store are large to extra-large onions (in the onion bin) or medium (in a three-pound mesh bag.) I buy large onions - I want to pick good-looking ones from the bin. (That’s why most of my recipes call for large onions.)
What do the Feds have to say?
The USDA has a different grading standard, based on size instead of weight:
|Size Designation||(in inches)|
|Small||1 to 2.25|
|Repacker||1.75 to 3|
|Medium||2 to 3.25|
|Large||3 and up|
|Colossal||3.75 and up|
And, there you have it. (“It” being one large onion, minced.)
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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