Onions

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By Jennifer A. Wickes
Copyright 2004

History / Geography
There is evidence to support that the ancient Egyptians used to cultivate onions.

Science
Onions are part of the Lily family.

Varieties
There are many varieties, usually onions are divided into two types: green or dried, and the dried category typically containing three colors: yellow, red and white.

Bermuda: a mild onion, typically white or yellow. Available from March to June.
Spanish: a yellow onion available between August and May.
Red/Italian: a red onion available year-round.
Globe: a strong flavored onion in the colors yellow, red or white.
Maui: From Hawaii. A mild, sweet onion ranging in color from white to yellow. Available for import from April to June.
Vidalia: From Vidalia, Georgia. A very sweet onion which works well on sandwiches. Available in limited quantities from May to June.
Walla Walla: From Washington State. Available between the months of June to September.
Oso Sweet: a much sweeter onion variety as compared with the Vidalia onion, but coming from South America. Available in January through March.
Rio Sweet: another sweet onion available from October to December.
Other Varieties: pearl onions, boiling onions, chives, leeks, scallions and shallots.

Season
Depending on which onion you are selecting, you can find onions all year round.

How to Select
Pick your onions that appear to be heavy for their size. The skin should be dry and papery. There should be no soft spots of black spots, indicating mildew from moisture.

Storage
Onions can be stored up to two months in a cool dry place.

Nutritional Qualities
Vitamin C

Trivia
If you freeze your onions up to 20 minutes, the fewer tears you will get when cutting it!

Onions have been tauted to heal anything from ear infections to warts to high blood pressure!

Wine Pairings
Depending on how you are serving your onions and to what else you are eating, try a Côtes du Rhône or a Syrah/Shiraz.

Spices
Basil, caraway, celery, cilantro, cloves, coriander, fennel, garlic, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, savory, thyme.

Equivalencies
1 small onion = 1 tbsp. dried minced onions OR 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1 lb. fresh onions = 4 medium onions OR 4 c. chopped / sliced onions
1 medium onion = 1 cup chopped / sliced onion
12 oz. frozen onion = 2 cups chopped onion

Preparation
To mince an onion, first cut a small portion from root to tip and remove the dry skin. Lay it on its flat side. This will give you more control when cutting your onion.

Slice the onion vertically, from the end to end without cutting through the root. Make as many parallel slices as you can.

Then, do the same technique, but cut the onion horizontally, from end to end, without cutting through the root.

Now, you can cut the onion, as you have just created a grid within the onion.

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