Advantages Cheap, versatile and good for you!
Disadvantages The smell.
|Ease of Care|
* Introduction:Writing reviews on onions seems to be "the" thing to do right now, so I decided to hop aboard the bandwagon and write me own.
I quickly discovered that it is not as easy as one might think. There is so much you can write about onions that it's hard to know where to begin.I hope you enjoy reading my attempt and that you find it useful. Any questions - Just ask.
* Meet the Allium Family:Allium is the name given to the onion genus. There is a staggering amount of spices in the genus, over 1250! The onion genus is of the Alliaceae family although it was wrongly classified by Botanists for years as being part of the Liliaceae, (Lilly), family.
Alliums are perennial, (from the Latin per meaning through and annus meaning year), bulbous plants. Perennial plants live for more than two years.Most species of alliums are found in temperate climates in the Northern hemisphere with a few exceptions found in Chile, Brazil and Africa.
There is a lot of variety within the Allium family from onions, garlic, leeks to plants that form really beautiful architectural flowers. The bulbs of alliums are generally made up of lots of tiny bulbs called bulbils and along with a seed, this is how alliums re-produce.Members of the genus include vegetables such as onions and leeks and herbs such as garlic and chives. Nearly all alliums have a strong smell similar to onions, even the ones used for purely decorative purposes. A lot of Allium flowers are tall with long leafless stems and a "bunch" of flowers at the top. The flowers often form almost perfect spheres and come most commonly in shades of white, pink, purple and blue although you can get many different colours.
* Types of Onion:There are so many types of onion and technically every member of the Allium family is an onion. For the purposes of this review I will concentrate on the ones most commonly used in cooking.
Spring Onions, (Allium fistulosum) = these are known as scallions, salad onions, green onions and cibies. They are simply a member of the Allium family whose root divides into separate plants instead of forming a bulb. Spring onions are used in salads as the flavour tends to be milder than other onions. The spring onion is used widely in oriental food both as an ingredient and as a garnish. Spring onion can have an outer skin in many colours including coppery red and purple.Leeks, (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum) = Instead of forming a bulb like most forms of Allium the leek grows in a long cylinder consisting of tightly bundled leaf sheafs. Leaks have a finer flavour than onions and are used extensively in soups, stews and raw in salads. My Mum cooks leeks in milk and they are really nice. You just need to slice up the leek and boil it in milk until soft.
Red Onions, (Allium Cepa Linne) = Red onions are also known as sweet Italian onions, Italian red onions, Creole onions and red torpedo onions. Red onions come in many varieties but they all share common characteristics. They are sweeter than other onions and are eaten raw most often. They are used in salads not only for their flavour but also for their colour. The colour of red onions varies from a bright almost pink, red to a deep purple colour.Chives, (Allium Schoenoprasum) = Chives are always referred to in the plural because they grow in clumps not singularly. Chives are used as a herb not as a vegetable and chopped up and added to salads or used as a garnish.
Garlic, (Allium sativum) = Garlic does not grow in the wild and it is believed to be the result of cultivation. It most probably stems from the species Allium longicuspis which grows wild in Asia. Garlic has a very intense taste and fragrance. It is mostly used cooked in dishes and is used worldwide. Out of all the members of the Allium family garlic has the most health properties.Spanish Onions = Also known as storage onions. These are the main varieties available in shops. They are actually from several onion species and are normally labelled by colour. They are the most commonly used onions and are large with a papery outer skin and lots of fleshy layers. Spanish onions can be eaten raw or cooked in many dishes or even fried and eaten as an accompaniment.
Shallots, (Allium oschaninii) = Shallots are more expensive than other varieties of onion and they have a much finer flavour. They are used in cooking, salads and pickling. Shallots can vary in colour from copper to red and purple. In Asian cuisine deep fried shallots are used as a condiment.Pickling Onions = Sometimes known as cocktail onions. Pickling onions are either shallots or pearl onions. They are harvested small. Once pickled in vinegar and spices they are eaten as an accompaniment and used in cocktails.
Tree Onions, (Allium cepa var. proliferum) = The tree onion is commonly called the walking onion, top onion or Egyptian onion. The stem produces bulbils instead of flowers and the stems then bend down and grow eventually producing another plant. The bulbils are used for pickling and in salads.* Nutritional Information:
* The History of Onions:Onions leave little or no trace when decomposed and because of this it is very hard to trace the exact origins of onions. However, it is widely believed that onions originated in either central Asia or Iran and West Pakistan.
Traces of onion remains have been found in Palestinian Bronze age settlements dating back to 5000 B.C.It is believed that the onions first used were wild onions and the cultivation of onions happened around 3000-3500 B.C. in both China and Egypt. Onions are believed to be one of the earliest domesticated vegetables. This is due to the ease of growing, easy portability and long "shelf" life; onions also grow well in most types of soil and climates.
The ancient Egyptians actually worshipped onions as they believed that the spherical shape and layers of flesh symbolised eternal life. Pictures of onion have been found on the internal walls of pyramids both in the old kingdom and the new kingdom.Onions were often used during mummification. They have been found placed in the pelvic regions, the throat, the ears, the chest, attached to the soles of the feet and arranged along the legs. King Rameses was found with traces of onion in his eye sockets. It is believed that Egyptians considered the onion magical as it had strong antiseptic properties and this along with the strong smell would bring breath back to the dead.
Onions are even mentioned in the Bible. In Numbers 11:5, the children of Israel lament the meagre desert diet enforced by the Exodus:
"We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic."
This corresponds with the belief that the workers on the pyramids were fed onions and radishes.
In the middle ages the three staple vegetables in the European diet were beans, onions and cabbage. It is believed that the Romans spread onions all over Europe and they were introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus.Onions were once highly prized and were used as currency to pay rent and strike bargains. Onions were even given as gifts, especially wedding gifts.
The pilgrims took onions with them on the Mayflower and were surprised to find that they already grew throughout America and that the Native Americans used them extensively for both culinary and medicinal uses. Diaries of pilgrims state that onions were planted as soon as the ground had been cleared.Since then onions have become part of everyday life. They are very cheap and versatile making them common in kitchens all over the world.
* How to Cut an Onion:There is a lot of debate in the culinary world about the correct way to cut an onion. I have my way which is what I will describe here.
Firstly I cut off the "furry" bottom bit and the top where the stem would have been.Next I place one of the now flat bits on the chopping board and cut the onion in half. If you look at the rings you want to cut cleanly across the middle.
Next I lay one of the halves flat against the board and cut through the rounded side to make half moon shapes. You will be able to see the layers and it will look a bit like a rainbow.I quite often leave them like that. They break up into little smile shapes when you add them to the pan. If I want them smaller I hold the slices together firmly and cut cross ways from the way I have just cut them.
I find this the easiest way as the layers of the onion does a lot of the work for you.* Growing Onions:
I have never grown onions but my parents used to and they have told me that is very easy. I have however grown chives, possibly the easiest thing in the world to grow, and garlic.I don't feel qualified to tell you how to grow onions but I can refer you to some very helpful websites.
There are many known health benefits associated with eating onions and garlic. These benefits were well known to our ancestors. Since early civilisation, mankind has used onions for their powerful healing qualities.
* Medicinal Uses:
Modern advice which has been backed up by scientific evidence emphasizes the benefits of a daily intake of garlic and onions.It is accepted that pungent natural foods contain chemicals that can protect the body from a huge range of illnesses and diseases.
Lower "bad" cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol
Lower blood pressure
Reduce the risk of blood clots
Kill off viruses and bacteria
Reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially stomach cancers.
Reduce the risks of diabetes
Stimulate cell growth
Kills worms and parasites
Help strengthen and improve the condition of hair
* Myth, Lore and Trivia:It was once believed that the smell of onions would repel dragons and the scent of garlic would do the same for Vampires.
The Elven, (a language made up by Tolkien), word for onion is "Ae'lon" and means tear.
It is believed in European folklore that garlic can ward off the "evil eye".
It is lucky to dream about garlic being in your house and dreaming that you are eating garlic means you will soon uncover a secret.
Homer reported that Ulysses owed his escape from Circe to yellow garlic.
There is a Mohammedan story that when Satan left the Garden of Eden, garlic appeared where his left foot rested and onion under his right.
The Talmud, a collection of Jewish laws and traditions, recommends garlic to be eaten on a Friday night.
Alliums are not considered vegetarian by Chinese and Buddhist vegetarianism.
The foods of Mabon, a Pagan festival celebrating the autumn equinox, consist of the gleanings of the Second Harvest including onions.
It is believed that hanging a bulb of garlic in new home helps to dispel negative energy and if a clove of garlic is placed under a child's pillow it will ward off nightmares.
It is said that Nero ate leeks to improve his speaking voice.
The Welsh use the leek as their national emblem, this stems from the battle against the Saxons, during which the Welsh wore leeks on their caps so that they could tell friend from foe.
During the Nazi occupation of France, Picasso, who was desperately hungry, painted leeks to feed his soul.
Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling.
* Recipes:Onion Bread:
Ingredients =1 sachet of dried active yeast
Method =Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and leave in a warm place until creamy and frothy.
Stir the salt, un-melted butter, diced onions, oregano and the flour into the yeast. Cover with a sheet of greased Clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.Knock the air out of the dough and place in a greased loaf pan. Cover again with greased Clingfilm and leave to rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190oC/ gas mark 5.Arrange slices of onion on the top of the loaf. Pour over the melted butter and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until golden brown. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the base.
Cool on a wire rack.This is also delicious if after 30 minutes you take it out of the oven and sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top and return to the oven for the remaining time.
Serve with soup, stews or use to make sandwiches.Onion Casserole:
Ingredients =1 lb. onions sliced
Method =Preheat oven to 200oC/Gas mark 6.
Put the onions in a saucepan with a knob of butter and cook until slightly browned. Cover with water and boil for 5 minutes.Transfer to a casserole dish.
* Conclusion:In conclusion onions are varied, cheap, plentiful and versatile. They are widely available throughout the year and are stored easily. Onions can be dried or powdered and add flavour to many dishes. In addition onions have many health benefits.
I love onions and yes, I would recommend them to potential buyers!
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment