I have always hated onions. They went on the NO list as soon as I was old enough to say the word. But a few months ago I experienced a whole week were onions were -everywhere- and it was such a pain to avoid them. Each meal I ate at a restaurant had hidden onions, recipes I wanted to make called for way more onions than I was willing to use.
Around the same time I wrote this post about how I had taught myself to like olives back in high school even though I hated them at first. It occurred to me that I could do the same thing with onions. Or at least get to the point where it didn't ruin my night if onions turned up in my meal.
Over the last month I've been sneaking onions into my cooking and paying attention to how the flavor interacts with the rest of the meal. I figure that if I can train my brain to think about onions as a piece of the whole, I might stop singling it out anytime I detect the flavor.
So, in the theme of onions not being the worst thing in the world, I found 10 amazing facts that help you appreciate these pungent veggies in a whole new light!
1. Onions date back in human history as far as we’re able to see. Onions are mentioned in the Vedas from India dating back to 1500 BCE. They were known in Egypt in 3500 BCE, were thought to have been first cultivated in 5000 BCE, and were probably eaten in wild forms before that. (source)
2. Onions may help fight osteoporosis by preventing your bones from breaking down over time. (source)
3. Onions contain a special antioxidant called quercetin which helps to protect vitamin E in your body and counteract the effects of harmful metal ions. (source)
4. The more pungent onions may have antiplatelet activities, helping to prevent the build up of platelets in your blood stream. (source)
5. Folklore claims that onions can predict the weather. One traditions says that the thickness of an onion’s skin can predict how severe the following winter will be. There’s even a little rhyme that goes, “Onion skins very thin, mild winter coming in; Onion skins thick and tough, coming winter cold and rough” (source).
A second tradition says that onions can be used to predict how much rainfall each month will get in the new year. On new years eve, cut the tops off of 12 onions (one for each month) and hollow out the inside into a bowl shape. Place 1 teaspoon of salt in each onion and arrange them in a line along the east-west axis. Leave them over night. In the morning, the quantity of water in each onion will predict the rainfall for that month in the coming year. (source)
6. They’re like ogres. Duh. (source)
7. People get poetic about their onions. One British writer wrote, "The onion tribe is prophylactic and highly invigorating, and even more necessary to cookery than parsley itself." -George Ellwanger, British food writer (As a side note, chewing parsley will get rid of onion breath)
8. Onions grow from the inside out, much like a tree. As each inner layer grows it gently pushes on the outer layers, causing them to expand. (source)
9. Onions get their pungency from sulfur compounds in the soil. Onions take on the specific flavors of their region’s soil, just like wine grapes. (source)
10. Onions lose their pungency when cooked, making them much sweeter. They're an essential veggie in a French mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot) and the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking (onion, celery, bell pepper), where they make the base of many sauces, soups, and stews. (source)
I teach people how to cook and eat real food with confidence so that you can have less stress, better health, and WAY more fun in the kitchen and in life.
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