The Mighty Onion
Rarely do we find a food that is sweet, savory, pungent and aromatic all at the same time. The mighty onion effortlessly fills all those roles.
Globally popular, this versatile bulb has been around forever. They will grow just about anywhere and can be roasted, grilled, pickled, caramelized, battered and deep-fried, sliced thinly or chopped and served raw in salads, sandwiches, dips, or as a garnish for tacos, making them perhaps the most versatile and ubiquitous actors in the culinary arts.
Strangely, they can be excluded from any of the millions of recipes that include them, and the dish wouldn’t be ruined. It would, however, be sadly lacking in the taste category.
Are Onions Healthy?
Although onions do not offer much in the way of nutrition, they do deliver a mammoth amount of healthy benefits. You probably know that they are packed with Vitamin C, an antioxidant, but you probably were not aware of their anti-cancer prowess.
In a 2019 study in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers found that the risk of colorectal cancer was 79% lower in those who regularly consumed allium vegetables, such as onions.
Onions also contain a powerful compound known as biotin which is important for maintaining beautiful, healthy skin. Its collagen-building attributes also contribute to, besides good skin, good hair too.
Onions have also been linked with lowering blood pressure. All in all, they form a formidable ally for our constant quest to eat healthy - certainly overcoming the tears while cutting and the breath issues. Yet, illogically enough,
onions can help diminish the severity of bad breath, gingivitis & periodontitis (gum diseases). They contain an antibacterial compound that kills many types of oral bacteria. And eating them raw produces the maximum benefit!
About that onion breath... eat parsley, mint or apples, drink green tea, and of course, brush & floss your teeth.
Types of Onions
Yellow Onions are the workhorse, the staple, suitable for any conceivable use, except maybe as a garnish for your martini (use a pearl onion for that).
Green Onions are immature onions that have only partially formed a bulb. Use the entire plant, including the tall green shoots. A great garnish and a wonderful addition to soups & omelets.
Sweet Onions (Vidalia):
Sweet Onions (Vidalia) are larger and slightly flatter than yellow onions & lighter in color. Sweet onions contain extra sugar, making them good for caramelizing and for onion rings.
White Onions have a papery white skin. Their milder and sweeter flavor (than yellow onions), makes them ideal for serving raw in salads, salsa or guacamole.
Red Onions, with their magenta skin and flesh, are sweet and mild enough to be eaten raw. Ideal for salads, sandwiches and burgers.
Honourable Mention! A fellow member of the Allium family of vegetables, the sadly underappreciated leek, with its milder, more delicate flavour than the onion, offers a distinctive slant to virtually any occasion that uses the onion.
Now that you know how to use onions for different dishes, why don't you check out our collection?