All About Onion
Part of the Allium genus, onion is a vegetable that is grown around the world.
While the leaves from the onion plant are above ground, onions grow underground. With its unique and overpowering aroma and crunchy texture, the onion is an integral part of nearly every cuisine.
Experts are not sure where wild onions first grew, as the wild variety is extinct. However, we know that onions were bred and used for cooking as far back as 5000 BCE in China. There are also mentions of onions in ancient Egyptian and Greek civilizations.
Onions grow best in fertile soil that is properly drained. If the ground does not have enough nutrients, the onion plant will not grow properly. It is why farmers often apply phosphorus, nitrogen, and potash into the soil before and during the cultivation process.
There are many varieties of onions, depending on how and where they grow. These include white, yellow, red, and brown onions.
Onions in Cooking
Onions are such a standard part of world cuisines that you may eat a dish and not even know they were present. Many cooks like to add onions to sauces, stews and skillet recipes, without having the onion overpower everything else in the meal. It is why they chop up the onion very thin and let it sweat on the pan, ensuring it blends in perfectly.
There are plenty of dishes that make onions the star of the show, including French onion soup, onion rings, and slow-roasted onions. Depending on how they are cooked, onions may impart a savory or sweet flavor. Onions cooked low and slow with the proper amount of oil caramelize and taste utterly different to fast sauteed or grilled onions!
Onions are among the healthiest foods in the world. Using onions medicinally goes back hundreds of years, with the Romans eating them to cure a cold.
Onions are nutrient-dense, containing vitamins, minerals, and a lot of fiber. Vitamin C is the star of the show, while onions also provide a good serving of potassium. They are loaded with antioxidants, while some research suggests onions may have cancer-fighting properties.