8 Feb 2010

I Love Onions

List of Filipino dishesImage via Wikipedia

I cannot imagine my kitchen without onions in some form or another. Onions, like garlic and leeks, are members of the Allium family. Today I will discuss the common onion which can be found in our supermarkets every day of the year. If the organic ones are available or you have grown them yourself, all the better.
For thousands of years, right back to the Bronze Age, onions have been grown in Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean countries. Ancient cultures used them as a currency, for strength, as an aphrodisiac and in some as part of religious ceremonies. Generally in history up until today they have been reconised for their great medicinal powers and culinary flavour.

Nutritionally onions are a very good source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C, dietary fibre, chromium, a good source of manganese, potassium, phosphorus, copper, tryptophan and the trace element molybdenum. Plus they also contain powerful sulphur compounds and flavournoids like quercetin, a potent antioxidant, with all their added healthy benefits.

Studies show that regular consumption of onions and other members of the allium family, assists in the lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improving glucose tolerance, assists in the maintenance of good gastrointestinal, ovarian, breats and prostate health. Also, Vegans take note, onions are excellent for bone health (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry). Onions also assists people with arthritis as their anti-inflammatory properties are said to reduce the severity of pain and swelling. For the same reason they are helpful with respiratory problems and colds.

When purchasing onions make sure their outer skins are dry and unpunctured. They should be very firm. If the tops are still attached they should be fresh looking. Store at room temperature, away from bright light, in a well ventilated area. Once cut store in the refrigerator. Both useful in salads and cooked foods. If you have excess onions they can be pickled, dehydrated, frozen, or even made into onion marmelade, all ways they remain tasty.

If eating for health reasons the best onions are the stronger tasting, more pungent ones eaten raw but as there are so many ways to have them, if eaten daily, whether cooked or raw you should easily reap their benefits. If eating for pure enjoyment note that when cooked at low temperatures, they become more sweet the longer they are cooked. After chopping, roll fresh leaves of parsley between your hands and it will remove the smell. If you have problems with chooping tham by hand, buy one of those little onion choppers that are so inexpensive these days.....forget about cutting under water or with a slice of bread in your mouth!

The thing is to enjoy onions, whatever way you like to eat them. I know I do.


Vegan French Onion Soup 

8 cups onions cut in thin half circles
6 cups water
4 fresh garlic bulbs pressed or minced
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
2 tbsps powdered vegetable broth
2 tsps olive oil

A simple fat free delicious onion soup that was altered to nonfat from the original recipe. In a large non stick skillet saute half the onions until they are a deep brown but not burned. The trick is to cook them until they are well browned and tender yet still have a little firmness. Add a little water at a time to keep onions from sticking. Repeat with remaining onions. In a 3-4 qt / 3 litre pot place all the sauteed onions the garlic and water. Bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer covered about 20 min or until soup broth is quite flavourful. Turn burner to lowest heat. Add tamari and vegetable broth powder. Add a little more water if desired. Optional: Serve hot topped with Vegan cheese and croutons or French bread. Servings: 8

Puy Lentil, Red Onion and Herb Salad
A light but filling side dish that would be great for a barbecue.

1 small red onion , halved and finely sliced
2 lemons , juiced
2 tsp golden caster sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove , crushed
300g Puy lentils (large green lentils)
small bunch coriander , leaves picked
small bunch parsley , leaves picked

Put the onion in a bowl with the lemon juice, sugar, cumin and garlic. Toss and leave to marinate for 10 minutes. Cook the lentils until just tender, rinse and drain. Toss with the onion mix, season well then add the herbs and toss again.

Fresh Red Onion Marmalade
From Waitrose 

1 tbsp oil
3 large red onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp mustard seeds
50g / 2ozs brown sugar
1tbsp sweet chilli sauce
125ml / 1/2cup red wine
75ml / 1/3cup balsamic vinegar

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan, add 3 large, finely sliced red onions and 1 tablespoon mustard seeds and cook for 5 minutes. Add 50g brown sugar, 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce and 75ml cold water. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, then add 125ml red wine and 75ml balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until syrupy, then serve.

Raw Food Recipes


Lori said...

Jackie, the ironic part of my loving your post is that my meditation group tries to discourage using onions and garlic (apparently they stimulate the mind too much for meditation), but I'm a sucker for a good French onion soup!

There's this powder, well, stuff, called asofetida that the monks in our group use to replace the pungency of onion. I'm NOT a fan of that! I'd rather have a little stimulation in the brain. LOL

LOVE the idea of the marmalade! I'll try making that.

LC David said...

Great information,,, Onion can secure you from Heart Diseases....Memory Boost

urban vegan said...

Life would be so dismal without onions. I find myself adding them to everything. They are instant comfort--esp in winter!

Marion said...

I love the's such a great condiment.My kitchen feels incomplete when I run out of onions. That's how dependent I am on them! When the kids were little, frying onions always stimulated their appetites and they could hardly wait for dinner!

Jeannette Koczela said...

Interesting---my meditation group discourages onions too. But I disagree with them. A few chopped onions in sauteed veggies improves the flavor so much that I always include some. I'll have to try the french onion soup recipe.

KleoPatra said...

i love onions too!! Great ideas here for ways to use this wonderful addition to almost any savory food!

Jonathan said...

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morello said...

Great information,,, i was heard that onion can keep us from Heart attack

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