- Joined May 30, 2016
Can someone explain to me exactly what is going on when onions get "caramelized". Caramelization of onions is done with VERY slow cooking and while it renders the onions somewhat brown, it is very different than just "browning" the onions, which can be done fast. It is often said that caramelization is about releasing sugars from the onions, which doesn't seem quite right, since the taste of caramelized onions is supremely better than regular cooked onions. Something is chemically changing. Releasing sugar isn't going to do that, because before they are carmelized, the sugar is still in the onions. I am assuming that it might have to do with oxidation of those sugars, and perhaps also concentration of flavor by cooking off a lot of the water. Some chemical background would be appreciated. Also, to the extent it is about sugar, what is the sugar in onions? Fructose? Sucrose?