Onions.  I love them, my mother is allergic to them, and some people hate them.

Onions belong to the allium family and are related to scallions, shallots, garlic and lilies.  There are many different kinds of onions, and they are a staple in most cultures.  Did you know that the word ‘onion’ comes from the Latin word unio for ‘single’, or ‘one’, because the onion plant produces a single bulb.

This article deals with the bulb onion.  These onions can be sharp, spicy, tangy, pungent, mild, or sweet.  There are two types of large globe-shaped onions; spring/summer and storage onions.

Spring/summer onions include those grown in warm climates, and are mild and sweet to the taste.  They are easily identified by their thin light-colored skin. The Maui Sweet Onion, Vidalia and Walla Walla are a few examples. The spring/summer onions are only available during warm growing seasons.

Storage onions are grown in cold climates and are dried out for several months after harvest.  They develop dry, crisp skins.  They have a pungent flavor and are named according to their color:  white, red, and yellow.  They are available year round.

Nutrients:

One cup of raw onion has 60 calories, and contains Vitamin C, B6, folate, potassium, dietary fiber, phosphorus and tryptophan.

Choosing and storing onions:

Buy onions that are clean, well shaped, and have crisp, dry outer skins.  Don’t buy onions that have sprouts, soft spots or any signs of mold.

Onions should be stored at room temperature, in a well-ventilated area, away from bright light.  Hanging wire baskets or perforated bowls are ideal.  Sweet onions do not last as long as the more pungent varieties like the yellow onion.  Do not store onions with potatoes because they will absorb the potatoes moisture and ethylene gas, causing them to spoil.

Chopping onions without crying:

We’re not sure there is a fool-proof way, but anything’s worth a try.  Onions make us cry when we chop them because they release an enzyme that produces a gas.  When the gas hits our eyes, it creates sulfuric acid that makes our eyes tear up.  Check out these Wikihow tips on how not to cry.

Let us know if one of them works for you!

Cooking with onions:

The longer you cook onions, the milder they taste.

Red onions are good raw, as an addition to salads, a garnish, or in salsa.  Yellow onions can be added to almost everything.  Vidalia can be eaten raw, they make great onion rings, they add flavor to any pasta dish or casserole.

Here are a few recipes:

Bloomin’ Onion:

4 Vidalia or Texas Sweet Onions

Batter:
1/3 C. Cornstarch
1 1/2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Garlic — minced
2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
24 oz. Beer

Seasoned Flour:
2 C. Flour
4 tsp. Paprika
2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper| Mix cornstarch, flour, and seasonings until well blended. Add beer,
mix well. Cut about 3/4″ off top of onion and peel. Cut into onion
12 to 16 vertical wedges, but do not cut through bottom root end.
Remove about 1″ of petals from center of onion. Dip onion in seasoned
flour and remove excess by shaking. Separate petals and dip in batter
to coat thoroughly. Gently place in fryer basket and deep-fry at
375 to 400 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over, and fry an additional 1 1/2 minutes.
Drain on paper towels.
Place onion upright in shallow bowl and remove center core with circular
cutter or apple corer. Serve hot with Creamy Chili Sauce.

Creamy Chili Sauce:
1 pint Mayonnaise
1 pint Sour cream
1/2 C. Chili sauce
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper

Grilled onions:
Servings:
Serves 8
Ingredients:

  • 3 red onions , cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 yellow onions , cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and divide between 2 shallow pans. Allow to sit at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Place the onion slices on grill (flame should be low) by using a vegetable tray or by laying directly on grill (be careful not to let them fall through; rings will break up). Turn once or twice until tender; grill about 20 to 30 minutes.

For more cooking tips go to www.recipetips.com.