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Onions 101

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Onions 101

By Cary Neff, Experience Life

When you peel an onion, you find fabulous flavor and nutrients that help your body ward off inflammation, fight chronic disease and regulate blood sugar.

Food Basics
There are hundreds of varieties of onions whose flavor and strength depend on the type of soil and time of year in which they grow. In general, the thicker the layers of onion, the stronger the flavor. Onions are separated into two main categories: fresh onions and storage (or “dry”) onions.

Fresh onions arrive in spring and summer, and you should store them in the refrigerator and eat them soon after harvesting. Examples include green onions (or scallions), and “sweet onions,” like Maui, Vidalia and Walla Walla. When selecting green onions, look for those that appear crisp yet tender and have green, fresh-looking tops. Sweet onions should be firm and heavy with water.

Storage onions are harvested in fall and winter, have a stronger flavor, store longer, and should be kept in a cool, dry place (but not refrigerated). Common examples are yellow, white and red onions. Shallots are a clustering variety of storage onion that are mild and sweet. When purchasing, choose storage onions that are clean, well shaped and tightly closed, with crisp, dry outer skins. Avoid onions that are sprouting or have signs of mold or soft spots.

Nutritional Know-How
Studies have suggested that onions, which are rich in phytochemicals and the antioxidant flavonoid quercetin, may help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and many types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Onions also have powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties. One cup of raw onion contains more than 20 percent of the daily requirement of the trace mineral chromium, important for helping the body to metabolize sugar and lipids. When cooked, onions have a slightly lower vitamin content, but the resulting chemical reactions increase the variety of beneficial sulfur compounds.

Next: cooking with onions

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94 comments

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1:55PM PST on Jan 27, 2013

yum

12:25PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Dzięki. Mnie cebula pomaga na obrzęki stawów. Gotuję ją całą i dość gorącą przykładam do bolącego stawu zwykle na noc.

10:19PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Never have enough onions.

10:13PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

I cook with onions almost every day!

10:08PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Chilling an onion really helps!

8:32AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

Thanks for sharing.

5:09PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Onions, mushrooms; peppers and zucchini are the staples in my kitchen; and the occasional egg plant and fresh tomatoes. I use a blend of long grain and wild rice with a touch of turmeric.

1:59AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

Thanks, onions go in practically everything I make.

7:16PM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Thanks! I love onions and everything related to it!

6:45AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

We love onions...

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