On your mark, get set, GO...buy onions!
Vidalia Onions
Vidalia Onions
| Credit: Getty Images/BSPollard

Onions aren't usually thought of as a seasonal ingredient—but Southerners know better. For us, spring isn't just the return of asparagus and strawberries. It's also when the new crop of Georgia-grown Vidalia onions starts appearing at supermarkets. Today is the first day the onions are shipped (hooray!), so look for them at your grocery store in the next week or so.

These super-sweet onions are typically harvested by hand from April to mid-June, and they tend to disappear from stores shortly after that. Georgia's unique climate (mild winters, lots of rain) and low-sulfur soil produces onions that are naturally sweet and less pungent than regular yellow onions. Less sulfuric acid also means that the onions produce less tears when you slice them—one of my favorite things about Vidalia onion season.

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Vidalias can be used in place of any yellow onion, but their flavor is so special that you can really let them be the star of the show. Here are a few of our favorite recipes:

Crispy Fried Sweet Onion Rings

Use these crisp, golden rings to top a steak or burger, or enjoy them as-is. They're hard to stop eating, so you may end up doing that anyway.

Spinach-and-Vidalia Dip

We combined two beloved appetizers—spinach dip and onion dip—into one crowd-pleasing new classic. Vidalia onions add a hint of pungent sweetness that pairs well with the sautéed spinach and tangy sour cream.

Vidalia Onion Soup

Vidalia onions add a Southern twist to a French classic. The natural sugars in Vidalia onions help them caramelize beautifully, which is the key to this rich soup.

Rustic Vidalia Onion Tart

This freeform galette is a great way to showcase buttery sautéed onions. Serve with a green salad for an elegant, light supper.

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Tomato-and-Onion Salad

Vidalias are the only onion sweet enough to serve raw, and you can't beat this simple, summery salad. Make it at the end of Vidalia season, when tomatoes and bunches of fragrant basil are starting to hit the farmers' markets.