Onions

Onions are one of the most commonly used vegetable in most world cuisines. It’s the bulb of the onion that’s used for culinary purposes and the same plant can be used in a variety of different ways when it’s harvested before its prime.

They have been selectively bred for cultivation for the past 7.000 years and therefore there are countless variety based on where they are grown and what cultural preferences are. Onions are grown in the US both in gardens and commercially.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Asparagales
  • Family: Amaryllidaceae
  • Subfamily: Alloideae
  • Genus: Allum
  • Species: A. Cepa
  • Binomial name: Allum Cepa

Onion Trivia

  • The largest onion ever grown weighed 5 kg
  • The yellow onion is the most popular onion in the world. They actually take 75% of onion’s population.
  • Soldiers and athletes back in Ancient civilization believed that eating or rubbing onions would provide them with more strength and speed

Onion Buying Guide

When buying a perfect onion you should look for those that are firm with skin that is tissue-thin. Look at the necks as well as they should be dry and tight. But, don’t choose those that are too dry as they are probably not fresh. 

Onion Production & Farming in Texas

Texas is the 6th state in the union in terms of the production of onions. It’s grown on 16,000 acres and generates $90 million. The Lower Rio Grande Valley and Winter Garden plant early short day mild-flavored white and yellow granotype onions for market windows in March to June.  There’s also a local variety that’s grown and created right here in Texas and that’s known for its mild taste.

The planting should be done in spring after the last frost and other than that it’s a rather easy vegetable to work with. It’s easy to plant, first to harvest and it’s prone to least diseases. Onions can be planted from seeds, bulbs, or transplanted.

There’s no fertilizer needed to grow them and that’s why the grow in ordinary backyard gardens. The only thing to do is to prepare the soil so that the plant can grow beneath. When there’s too much nitrogen in the ground you may end up with lush tops but with small bulbs.

Harvesting should be done once the onions turn yellow. This can be done with an ordinary rake if it’s done in your backyard but it can also be done in automated way and by using the machinery made for that purpose if you’re doing it in a wide scale venture.

Pesticides

Onions are probably the best vegetable from the dirty dozen list. What makes the onion spicy is what makes them repeal insects and that’s why they need little to no pesticides.

Geography

There’s proof that onions originate from the central Asia. They have played a big role in Egyptian cuisine and they were also used for mummifications and funeral rituals. They are brought to Europe by the powers on the Levant and from there they came to the today’s US.

There are also Asian onions that are a part of the same species and that they are used in a bit different ways than ours. They are mostly pickled. At this point they are grown around the world.

Packaging

There’s not that much to worry about when it comes to packing them since they are firm and have a protective skin. There’s also no need for the onions to be protected in terms of temperature. They need to be protected only by keeping them dry.

They are mostly packed in large sacks and then sold by the pound. They can also be held in crates made from a firm cardboard without being damaged and this can make them easier to move.

Eating Onions

Preparations of onions is rather simple. There are a few steps to take when doing so and some of them are the same regardless of what kind of dish you’re preparing and others need to be modified depending on what kind of dish you’re making.

Start by trimming the roots of the onions and then cut it in half. Peel of the outer brown layer of skin since it can’t be used in any way. Slice vertically and make sure you stop before the root so that it remains attached to the onion. Curl your fingers across the half of the onion and chop it next to your fingers.

Onions can then be used to be fried and prepared in a pan or added to a variety of different salads and quick and fresh meals. There’s nothing more you can do to prepare the onion other than add oils and other vegetable.

Storage

Storing onions is rather simple. They can last for more than a month when they are stored in a dry placed without too much light. That means that you could keep them in a pantry or even in a garage if don’t have the space.

They can be kept in sacks as well and the key is for them to remain dry at all times.

Cooking

There are countless recipes with onions and here are a few everyone can make.

-Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Rub the onions with a little olive oil (about 2 tbsp), then sprinkle with salt. Put the onions in a medium casserole or other ovenproof pot with a lid. Place the garlic head in the middle of the onions and drizzle with oil. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the onions, then add 75ml of the water to the pot. Cover and roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned and soft enough so a knife slips easily into their centres. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

-Carefully lift the onions on to a cutting board, leaving the liquid in the pot. Scoop out a few layers from inside each onion and stuff them with 2 tbsp of sausage meat. Add the scooped-out onion to the casserole. (When you add the cream and water in the next step, the liquid should come a little less than halfway up the sides of the stuffed onions.)   Sign up for Word of Mouth: the best of Guardian Food every week.

– Squeeze the soft flesh of the garlic cloves into the casserole, and add the thyme leaves, cream, the remaining 225ml water and 1 tsp salt. Bring the mixture to a full boil, add the stuffed onions, sausage-side up, and baste them with the liquid for a minute or so.

4 Return the casserole to the oven for about 40 minutes, uncovered until the sauce is thick, but not gloopy. Baste the onions every 10 minutes or so, until cooked. Taste the sauce and add a little more salt, if you’d like. Bring the pan to the table, spoon a little of the sauce over the top of each onion, and dig in.

When Are Onions in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 53.8 3%
  • Carbs: 12.2g 4%
  • Sugar: 6.1g 0
  • Fiber: 1.8g 7%
  • Protein: 1.7g 3%
  • Fat: 0.2g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 306mg 13%
  • Vitamin C 6.7mg 11%
  • Vitamin A 2.6IU 0%
  • Calcium 28.2mg 3%
  • Iron 0.3mg 2%
  • Potassium 212mg 6%
  • Vitamin K 0.6mcg 1%
  • Vitamin B6 0.2mg 8%
  • Folate 19.2mcg 5%
  • Magnesium 14.1mg 4%
  • Phosphorus 44.8mg 4%
  • Manganese 0.2mg 10%
  • Copper 0.1mg 4%
  • Zinc 0.3mg 2%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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