Onions – a much-loved vegetable around the world

Posted on 3 min read

The onion has been a popular food item for thousands of years thanks to its unique flavour and versatility.

And it’s a very convenient vegetable due to its ample storage time. Onions can be stored for up to one year in a cool dark place, which was very useful before the invention of electricity.

In ancient times, onions were used for other purposes too

Onion bulbs were also used for medicinal purposes and as objects of worship. For example, in Ancient Egypt, onions were inserted in the eye sockets of mummies as a symbol of “rebirth”.

Onions can moreover deodorise smells; hence the appearance of bulbs in sarcophaguses had a practical reason too.

Today, it’s still hard to underestimate this humble vegetable as it appears in almost every modern cuisine of the world.

The different types of onions

Being a part of the allium family together with garlic, onions come in different varieties, ranging in size, colour, flavour and use.

The most common types are white, red and yellow onions, each with its unique flavour and usage.

When a recipe calls for an onion without specifying the type, the general assumption would be to go for a yellow one. Yellow onions are perfect for frying, sauteing or even as a stand-alone ingredient, like in the authentic French onion soup recipe.

Yellow onions are perfect replacements for white and red onions too. Still, white onion would be the best option if your recipe calls for garnishing salads or chillies.

The uses of white onion

The white onion has the mildest taste among its siblings; hence you can eat it raw. Thanks to the high water content, white onions have a crispy texture to complement salads and sandwiches.

In Mexican cuisine as well, the white onion is a popular choice: diced onions will be a spot-on addition to guacamole or garnish over tacos. If you still find white onions too pungent, soak them in water for an hour, making the flavour even milder.

Try this easy and popular snack with white onions

White onions are an excellent choice for fried onion rings. So let’s try this recipe for an easy starter.

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice one onion into circles. Separate the rings from each other.
  2. Set a deep, heavy-based frying pan on medium heat. Add frying oil to the pan to cover 1/3 of the depth.
  3. In a bowl, mix 150 g / 1 ½ cups self-rising flour with 180 ml / ¾ cup cold sparkling water. Dip each ring into the batter and fry until golden brown (2-3 minutes). Do not overcrowd the pan; fry in batches.
  4. Remove the onion rings with a slotted spoon and place them on a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil before serving.

Let red onions shine in this exquisite Mexican recipe

The most pungent of them all is the red onion. Red onions contain the most sugar and cancer-fighting properties and will add a splash of colour to any dish.

Try this recipe for a colourful Mexican-inspired wrap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • aalt
  • pepper

Preparation:

  1. Cut the onion into segments and the bell pepper into stripes.
  2. Coat the vegetables in olive oil, coriander and cumin, then season to taste.
  3. Fry the vegetables until soft. Serve alongside grilled chicken strips and warm tortilla wraps.

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