Some dishes just wouldn’t be the same without the famous onion. One of the oldest known edible food sources, this member of the allium family is present in a staggering number of recipes! Onions have also been used in traditional medicine since ancient times. There are several varieties to choose from like yellow, red, white, vidalia, green onions, shallots, and scallions; all are popular in cuisine.
Onions are available year round and can be found fresh, frozen, powdered, or dehydrated. The sharp, pungent smell of onions is due to sulfur compounds in the vegetable. If you want a raw onion for your salad or sandwich with less kick, try red onions, which are milder. Onion varieties can vary between sharp, spicy, pungent, mild, or sweet.
When buying fresh onions, look for clean, uniform, well-developed onions featuring crisp, dry outer skins. Avoid those that show sprouting, soft spots, or dark patches. At home, store onions in a cool, dry, dark place. They also keep well in the refrigerator.
Onions have many health benefits including:
- The phytochemicals in onions, especially the disulphide compounds, are highly protective against cell damage.
- They are rich in fiber, while low in calories.
- Onions have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties.
- Onions may protect against heart disease and high blood pressure by blocking cholesterol production, decreasing blood vessel stiffness, and reducing blood clotting.
- They are rich in chromium, a trace mineral that aids cells in responding appropriately to insulin. In this way, onions may be helpful in blood sugar control.
To prepare onions, trim the ends using a sharp knife and peel off the outer layers of skin until you find fresh, clean flesh. The tops of green onions are also edible. If you find that onions make you cry, try chilling them in ice water before preparing.
Use onions chopped or sliced in thousands of recipes, including fresh salads, sandwiches, sauces, sides, stir-fries, curries, garnishes, soups, stuffing, pizza, breads, and more!
Can you imagine recipes without onions? Your cooking (and eating) life would never be the same! Whether the star or the side, make sure the oniony legend lives on with THESE fabulous onion recipes from allrecipes.com. Or try this delicious recipe for caramelized onions on your next burger:
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 sweet onions, sliced thin*
- 1 T. sugar, honey or molasses
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- In a large heavy skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
- Cook sliced onions in reserved drippings for 15 minutes, or until onion is soft and caramel colored. Stir in sugar, salt and pepper. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with bacon.
- *Vidalia sweet onions and sweet Washington onions work well in this recipe. For more kick in this recipe, choose hotter varieties such as yellow onions.