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OSO Sweets (The Winter Sweet Onion)

Until the OSO Sweet onion was introduced in 1989, there were no sweet onions to carry us through winter. Sweet onions are a "spring-into-summer" crop. Knowing that, the OSO Sweet onion folks knew they would have to develop their special onion in a unique corner of the world....some place where the seasons are reversed from ours....some place where soil and climate conditions are exactly right. Some place like South America.

Well, the right spot was eventually found. In Chile, at the base of the Andes mountains, where the rich and fertile volcanic soil and pristine water is perfect for growing sweet onions.

And so, that's where the OSO Sweet was developed. Now, every winter, the OSO Sweet is harvested in early December, and by the end of the month it has found its way to North American markets where sweet onion fans can find it all the way through March.

Even by sweet onion standards, the OSO Sweet onion has an exceptionally sweet and gentle nature and mild aroma - backed by rich onion flavor, without the bite. Its texture is crisp and juicy like an apple. According to scientific tests conducted by Michigan State University, the OSO Sweet contains nearly 50 percent more sugar than the other sweet onion varieties.

Andes mountains in Chile, where they found just the right combination of rich, volcanic soil, ideal climate, and pure water that would provide the perfect conditions for growing a "world class" sweet onion - an onion that's very, very sweet and extremely mild.


January through March.


  • No fumes when cut; virtually tearless.
  • Mild subtle aroma.
  • High in sugar and low in pungency.
  • Very sweet, fruity flavor, with pleasant onion taste.
  • Crisp texture, like a celery stalk or an apple.
  • Extremely digestible.


Look for OSO Sweets with outer skins that are thin, papery, free of bruises, heavy for their size, and firm. The OSO Sweet sticker on each onion guarantees that your getting the "World's Premier Sweet Onion".


Store OSO Sweets in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator in single layers on paper towels. Cut onions should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated. For freezing, shop and freeze on a cookie sheet, then store in freezer weight bags or containers. Whole peeled onions can be frozen, but their texture changes so they should be used only for cooking.


Here are just a few ideas for cooking with OSO Sweets.

RAW: No other onion shows as well in its natural state than an OSO Sweet.

  • On sandwiches, burgers or hot dogs.
  • In salsas, salads, relishes or anywhere where only a fresh, sweet onion will do.
  • For dips instead of chips - great with guacamole or vegetable dips.

COOKED: OSO Sweets retain their texture, shape and intense, rich flavor in cooking better than other sweet onions.

  • Boiled or baked with herbs.
  • Caramelized or creamed.
  • Cooked in stir fries soups or stews.

Health Benefits

Studies have shown that eating onions regularly can reduce the risk of some forms of cancer and heart disease onions can help lower LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), lower blood pressure, and stop dangerous blood clotting.

Onions are:

  • Low in sodium.
  • Good source of vitamin C (more than an apple), and contain several B vitamins.
  • A source of important minerals (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper.
  • Fat and cholesterol - free.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Calories: 60 per medium onion (3 oz.)

Although there is no official industry standard, it is generally accepted that onion should contain at least 6% sugar to be in the "sweet" category. Some sweet onions, like the OSO Sweet, have recorded sugar levels of up to 12%. Storage onions usually range from 3%-5% in sugar content.

Unlike sweet onions, regular onions have high levels of sulfur compounds. It's the pyruvic acid in the sulfur that causes tears, harshness, and indigestion. That's why great sweet onions are always grown in soil with low amounts of sulfur. Typically, sweet onions have pyruvic acid levels that measure below 5%; storage onions usually run 10%-13%. Because a sweet onion is also a fresh onion it is high in water content, further diluting the harsh effect of the sulfur.

Sweet onions have a thinner, lighter color skin than storage onions and tend to be more fragile. Another indication is price - sweet onions are a premium product that can range anywhere from 79 cents a pound and up.

The 4000 - Year - Old Healer

For over 4000 years onions have been used for medical purposes. Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion - alleviated ailments. The esteemed Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed onions as a diuretic, wound healer and pneumonia fighter. During World War II, Russian soldiers applied onions to battle wounds as an antiseptic. And throughout the ages there have been countless folk remedies that have ascribed their curative powers to onions, such as putting a sliced onion under your pillow to fight off insomnia.

Sweet onions are just one of the members of the members of the 500-plus allium family. While garlic, another allium, has been highly touted as a cancer preventative, most people consumer far greater quantities of onions. As Americans search for low-fat, low-salt, but tasty meals, they are eating more onions - more than 18 pounds per person, which is 50% more than a decade ago. Therefore, there is greater hope that the onion will be a key in producing long-term health benefits.

In addition to tasting great, onions contain 25 active compounds that appear to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, help combat heart disease, inhibit strokes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and stimulate the immune system. Alliums are also antibacterial and antifungal, so they can help ward off colds and relieve stomach upset and other gastrointestinal disorders.

Of all the healthy compounds contained in onions two stand out: sulfur and guercetin - -both antioxidants. They each have been shown to help neutralize the free radicals in the body, and protect the membranes of the body's cells from damage. Quercetin is also found in red wine and tea, but in much lower quantities. Interestingly, white onions contain very little queretin, so it's better to stick with the yellow and red varieties.

As with garlic, onions help prevent thrombosis and reduce hypertension, according to the American Heart Association. The juice of one yellow or white onion a day can raise HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) by 30% over time, according to Dr. Victor Gurewich of Tufts University. Red onions don't provide the same effect.

What a tastier way to eat healthier than with sweet onions. Because they are milder and easier to digest, you can consume "sweets" in abundance, thus obtaining all the many health benefits that these delicious alliums offer. Best of all, you won't shed any tears in the process.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 medium onion (148g)

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 60

Calories from Fat: 0

  % of Daily Value

Total Fat: 0g


Saturated Fat: 0g


Cholesterol: 0mg


Sodium: 5mg


Total Carbohydrate: 14g


Dietary Fiber: 3g


Sugars: 9g


Protein: 2g


Vitamin A: 0%

Vitamin C: 20%

Calcium: 4%

Iron: 2%

Additional Resources

For more information on sweet onions, visit


Hacienda Onion Salad

Quick Microwave Roasted Sweet Onions

Sweet Onion Burger

Other recipes from Produce Pete.


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