Onions add lots of flavor to salsas and salads, but many people find raw onions a bit harsh to eat. There are a few strategies for taming them while preserving their crunch and flavor.

Soaking chopped or sliced onions for a while is a popular solution. Will Owen has found that salting them and covering with cold water for at least half an hour works well. “My mom-in-law is very sensitive to onion, and this does it for her,” he says. “You get the flavor and the sweetness without the bite.” Others soak onions in water dosed with vinegar.

“What I do when I don’t want to bite into raw onion is grate it,” says rainey. “You’ll get the flavor but not the chunks. When I want even more subtle flavor or when I’m working with smaller servings, I just scrape a sharp knife over the cut surface of an onion and let the juices that are released drop into my dressing or whatever.”

Discuss: Taming raw onions in starchy salads

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