Onion is found everywhere. Although a seasonal vegetable, it is found all the year round. Onion is almost as essential as our cooking salt. This is because it is used in almost every cookery, especially for Nigerian delicacies, soups sauces and stews.
Some people even eat it raw, moreso when used to garnish barbecue or Nigerian suya.
It can also be broiled, baked, fried, eaten raw in salad, used as flavouring or seasoning, boiled, creamed, steamed, french fried, pickled or roasted. Whichever way it is used, onion is a kitchen essential!
Botanically known as allium cepa, onion belongs to the lily family and its botanical name varies according to its type. However all the names belong to the genus allium, a biennial herb of the lily family.
Onion is a bulb-bearing plant that came from asia, even though it is cultivated in temperate and subtropical regions, over the world. This vegetable has a sulphurous volatile oil that gives it a characteristic pungent smell and taste.
This component can dissolve in water to produce sulphuric acid, which produces tears in the eyes when it is being sliced.
However, onion raised in warm areas and planted as winter crop is milder in taste and odour than the one planted during hot periods in cooler regions.
There are different types of onion: yellow bermuda onion, white spanish onion, wild onion, shallot, chives, garlic, leek, spring onion – also known as scallions, green onion, red onion and many more.
To avoid excess shedding of tears while cutting the edible, medicinal bulb, chill or refrigerate your onion after peeling. This would render the propanethial –5-oxide inactive. Also, you can nib your hands with lemon juice or vinegar to wash off the pungent smell of the vegetable. Chewing a little parsley or coffee beans will equally help to freshen your onion breath.
Medicinally, onion is endowed. The oil in the bulb helps to combat diseases especially heart diseases. It also aids the lowering of low density lipoprotein in the blood stream while helping to increase high density lipoprotein levels. Onion is also a good source of fibre.
You can store onion in a tray, mesh bag or an open basket. But onion cannot withstand any moist atmosphere, it must be stored in an airy place. Below are some mouth-watering delicacies you can prepare with onion.
Hold your breath… watch out for the next post … more onion delights are on the way!