Onions, Calories, benefits and harms, Useful properties

It is one of the most popular products in traditional medicine.
Moreover, most of its useful properties, known for a long time, are
confirmed by modern science. Confirms, but corrects
and clarifies. For example, modern doctors, agreeing with the antimicrobial
effect of onion phytoncides, are skeptical about the habit of
placing saucers with chopped
onions around the room during periods of SARS epidemics . And modern nutritionists, in an effort to preserve maximum benefits,
also make their own amendments to the traditional methods of its preparation.

Useful properties of onions

Composition and calorie content

The crude bow comprises (100 g) .

Calories 40 Kcal

Vitamin C 7.4 Potassium, K 146 Vitamin
B4 6.1 Phosphorus,
P 29 Vitamin B5 0.123 Calcium, Ca 23 Vitamin
B6 0.12 Magnesium, Mg 10 Vitamin
B3 0.116 Sodium,
On 4

Full composition

If we compare onions and green onions, it should be noted that,
despite the general similarity of products in some positions, there are
noticeable discrepancies: for vitamin B6 – by 35-40%, for vitamin
C – almost 2 times, for nicotinic acid (PP) – almost 3 times,
and for vitamin E – 10 times. Onions and green onions
(in favor of the latter) also differ in the content of sodium (4 times), calcium
and iron (more than 2 times). However, even with its “arsenal”,
onions have great healing potential.

Onions are considered an excellent source of biotin (vitamin B7) and a relatively
good source of vitamins B6, C, B1, folate (B9),
copper manganese , phosphorus, potassium and dietary fiber. A rich
concentration of flavonoid polyphenols is found in onions . A lot of quercetin.
This vegetable crop also contains a wide variety of
allyl sulfides, including the four major diallyl sulfides (DMS,
DDS, DTS, and DTTS), a variety of sulfoxides. All this set
determines the medicinal properties of onions.

Medicinal properties

The impact of onions on humans is very diverse,
although the severity of the therapeutic effects is not always equally
high. It is usually customary to talk about the following types of onion effects
on the body:

Onions - yellow, white, red

  • antimicrobial;
  • antiparasitic (antihelminthic);
  • antiscorbutic;
  • wound healing;
  • pain reliever;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • anti-sclerotic;
  • antidiabetic;
  • anti-tuberculosis;
  • antineoplastic;

The fact that phytoncides of onions and some other plants have a detrimental
effect on bacteria – pathogens of diphtheria,
dysentery, tuberculosis,
streptococci, as well as yeast fungi, was established in the
first half of the last century. Modern research shows
new facets of using the medicinal properties of onions.

So, the development and use of
onion preparations for improving the functioning of the heart muscle, smooth muscles, and
secretory glands of the digestive system is considered promising . There is also statistics
that the systematic consumption of onions in food can
reduce the risk of certain cancers
(breast cancer, bowel cancer).

Improves onions and brain function. It is assumed that sulfur
compounds, entering the brain with the blood, stimulate the performance of
neurons, and also prevent damage to healthy cells. Red
onions are especially rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients
(such as quercetin). However, there are a lot of these substances
in both white and yellow onions. There are conflicting data on the
therapeutic properties of quercetin, but some studies
suggest that quercetin stimulates mitochondrial
biogenesis, which leads to an increase in the number of mitochondria in brain
cells after traumatic brain injury . It is also assumed
that quercetin is able to inhibit spinal cord degeneration.

Fresh onion has an anti-
thrombotic effect, but scientists have found that heat treatment
deprives it of this property. In the experiment, the
onion cut into quarters was steamed for 1, 3, 6, 10 and 15 minutes, and then
its effect on the blood of 12 volunteers was tested . The anti-
thrombotic effect disappeared between 3 and 6 minutes of steam exposure, and after
10 minutes onions, on the contrary, began to stimulate platelet activity .
At the same time, fresh and thermally untreated onion really
thins the blood, prevents platelets from sticking together, normalizes
triglycerides and cholesterol levels, preventing the formation of
atherosclerotic plaques, and improves the function of cell membranes.
in erythrocytes.

There are encouraging studies on the action of fresh onions
against the bacteria Streptococcus sobrinus and Streptococcus mutans
(whose vital activity leads to tooth damage), as well as
Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia, which provoke
disease of the tissues surrounding the teeth.

Large onion slices

In medicine

In classical medicine, two
onion preparations have been known since the middle of the 20th century :

  • “Allilchep” (Alliceрum) is an alcoholic extract,
    which belongs to the group of antimicrobial intestinal drugs.
    The indications are diarrhea that
    occurs with dysbiosis
    and carts,
    hypercholesterolemia (increased blood
    cholesterol levels), which is a risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis.
    The drug is recommended to be taken orally three times a day, 15-20
    drops for diarrhea (until the pathology is eliminated) and 20-30 drops
    for a hypolipidemic effect (for a long time).
  • Allilglycer is an extract of onions
    mixed with sterile yellow-brown glycerin
    with a faint onion smell. The drug is used to treat
    Trichomonas diseases (eg, vaginitis).
    To treat the disease, the tampons are soaked with Allylglycer
    and inserted into the patient’s vagina for a period of 6 to 12 hours.
    The course of treatment is usually limited to 15-25 days.

Since the beginning of this century, homeopathic
remedies have gained particular popularity in which onion tincture is diluted in potencies 3 C,
6 C, 30 C, 50 C. For example, with photophobia, disorders of the genitourinary
system, pain in the spine, edema of the subcutaneous tissue,
dilutions of 6 C , 30, 50. Also, with the help of homeopathic remedies, they
try to treat severe purulent inflammation of the tissues of the fingers (panaritium),
paralysis of the facial nerve, burns,
inflammation of the mucous membrane of the Eustachian tube connecting the middle ear
to the pharynx, etc. However, the official science is homeopathic remedies
as therapeutic does not consider.

In folk medicine

In folk medicine, onions are one of the most popular products: they
treat hypertension,
atherosclerosis, diabetes, skin diseases, all sorts of symptoms of
(cough, runny nose, fever), eliminate problems with digestion
and excretion systems, with its help they fight against sexual dysfunction
and hemorrhoids.

Young onions in the garden

Moreover, similar recipes are found in folk medicine of
various Western and Eastern countries: for example, mixtures of onion
juice with honey are
equally popular in Bulgaria and China. So, in both
traditions , cough is eliminated with “syrup” made from onion juice
and sugar. Peel the onion, cut it in half, sprinkle each
half with sugar (1 tsp), and then, an hour later, eat
the “syrup” formed on the surface. The procedure is repeated twice a day. A mixture of
sugar and onion juice is also considered an effective diaphoretic
. Steamed onion with sugar is prescribed for diseases of the gallbladder
, liver.

Inside, onion and onion juice in various combinations are used for
problems with the gastrointestinal tract (functional decrease in the tone of the intestinal walls,
chronic constipation),
colds, kidney stones, edema,
increased pressure, menstrual irregularities. Moreover, in case of
chronic diseases, it is often advised to simply introduce onions into the diet
on an ongoing basis or regularly (daily) add a
small amount of onion juice to food (from 1 tsp. To 1-2 tbsp. L).

Onion phytoncides are actively used for local inhalations and general
air purification from microbes. Often, chopped onions are simply laid out in
plates around the room during periods of viral epidemics. The effectiveness of
such methods raises serious doubts among doctors. As a non-drug
alternative, it is suggested to simply ventilate the room, ensuring the movement of
clean air.

With pneumonia,
sore throat,
acute inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, tuberculosis,
inhalation with onions is done . To do this, it is convenient to use a teapot,
which is first rinsed with boiling water, and then
filled with finely chopped onion cubes by a third to a quarter . You can breathe vapors
through the spout of the teapot (10 minutes 2-3 times a day).

Outwardly, onion juice is used in the form of compresses for abscesses,
burns and frostbite. In a diluted form (mixed with water),
onion juice in folk medicine is used to treat cataracts,
to improve visual acuity and simply to wash the eyes (in this
case, the tear effect is used).

Onion broth

Decoctions and infusions

Due to the already strong action of pure freshly squeezed onion juice
, water infusions, alcoholic tinctures and onion decoctions
are used less often in folk medicine than infusions of most other vegetables. In addition, during the
temperature exposure that inevitably arises during the boiling process, a
significant part of the useful components is lost. But in some cases
this method of therapy is recommended.

  • Infusion for diabetes type
    2. Crushed heads (3-4 medium or 2-3 large)
    are cut into small cubes, filled with boiled but cooled
    water (2 l) and loosely covered with a lid. In this form, the onion
    should be infused for about a day. After that, the solution is taken
    in a third of a glass (approximately 70 ml) 30-40 minutes before meals 3 times
    a day. The course of treatment lasts 3 weeks with a two-week break.
    In total, 10 cycles can be carried out until a longer break
    . The onions in the jar are renewed every 5-7 days. And before the change of raw materials,
    at the moment when about 400 ml remains in the can,
    chilled water is simply added to it .
  • Broth in milk for
    bronchitis. Medium-sized onions (2 pieces) are finely chopped
    and boiled in milk (250 ml) until boiling. After that, the broth is
    infused for another 3-4 hours, filtered and taken
    in 1 tbsp. l. every 2 hours.
  • Decoction of onions for
    angina. To treat the throat, boil one medium finely chopped
    onion per glass of water. In different recipes, water is either simply
    brought to a boil, or kept in a boiling state
    over low heat for another 2-3 minutes. You need to
    gargle with a warm broth every hour.

In addition, those parts of the onion that
cannot be used without additional processing are often boiled and insisted . So, for example,
tincture of onion flowers, aged in sunflower
oil, is recommended to drink for bronchitis, pneumonia, and also
be used externally in the form of compresses for eczema.
A widespread recipe for a decoction of onion peels, which is prescribed as an
effective expectorant, is prescribed for stomatitis, and is drunk
for problems with blood vessels, kidney disease, bladder disease.
For a liter of water for the decoction, the husk is usually taken from one large

Onion extract

In oriental medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, onions are classified as warm, spicy,
bitter foods. On the Yin-Yang scale of foods from -3 (maximum Yin) to +3
(maximum Yang), onions have a value of “+1”, being considered a very good, balanced
vegetable. Introduced into therapeutic programs, it is able to tone the
qi of the liver, kidneys, lungs, and to move the blood of the urinary and gall bladders.

There are many Chinese recipes for using onions to cleanse the
blood, reduce fever, get rid of colds and coughs, heal
wounds and burns:

  • Cleansing the blood. This procedure is based on the
    idea that all internal organs have projections on the feet of a
    person, and if you act on the nerve endings of the feet with the
    help of a healing bow, then the energy will spread
    along the meridians throughout the body. For ease of carrying out the procedure, onions
    are cut into large rings, these rings are applied to the feet,
    and sufficiently tight socks are put on top so that the onion does not move.
    The patient sleeps with a bow in socks until the morning. But to completely cleanse the
    blood, you need to repeat the procedure for a week.
  • Elimination of heat. The high temperature is knocked down in a
    similar way, but a cloth napkin
    soaked in a mixture of grated onions and potatoes with the addition of
    lemon juice is applied to the feet . Additionally, a gauze napkin
    moistened with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water is placed on the forehead .
  • Removal of ear inflammation. Ear pain is also treated with a
    nightly procedure, only here the onion
    core, inserted into the ear opening until morning , plays the role of a medicine . This therapy
    should relieve pain and, if necessary, soften the earwax.

Apply lotions with chopped white onions and for
insect bites (after removing the sting, in case of a bee sting). And to
get rid of purulent wounds, onion paste is prepared, which,
in addition to grated onion, also contains white wheat
bread dipped in boiled milk.

In Tibetan medicine, onions (tsong) are considered a pungent, spicy, salty,
sweet, hot, heavy product. With its help, they correct disturbances in Wind
and Mucus, improve sleep, eliminate digestive problems – in particular, disorders of
absorption, assimilation of food, elimination of gases.

Bow in the hands of the doctor

In scientific research

Scientists around the world are studying the ability of onions to resist
oxidative stress, cancer, diseases of the cardiovascular
system, and also explore a number of other therapeutic properties of this vegetable

  • Italian scientists have extracted and analyzed the composition of phenolic compounds
    (anthocyanins and flavonols) contained in onions and their ability to fight
    oxidative stress in the human body. For the study,
    2 varieties of onions were selected : Koper (ordinary) and Tropea (red). Among the most
    significant components were found quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, cyanidin.
    Scientists found that the use of extracts of onion phenolic compounds
    reduced the level of oxidation of low density lipoproteins (“bad cholesterol”)
    and protected red blood cells from damage caused by oxidative stress. There
    was also a 15-22% increase in glutathione levels. But, in general, extracts
    onions of both varieties showed protective functions .
  • In another study, scientists examined the effects of
    onion peel extract on cells exposed to oxidative stress.
    The experiment was carried out on yeast
    that was exposed to the heavy metal cadmium. As a result
    fewer free radicals, a lower level of
    lipid oxidation, and a high content of glutathione were recorded in yeast cells to which onion extract was added . Also, this
    sample was distinguished by the activity of antioxidant enzymes. The
    effect of the extract was dose dependent .
  • Due to the presence of flavonoids in its composition, onion extract has anti-cancer
    potential. To test its therapeutic effect, scientists took pathogenic
    cells of the large intestine (colorectal adenocarcinoma) and five varieties of onions
    grown in Ontario (Canada). Their effectiveness was determined in comparison with
    extracts of pure flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin). It turned out
    that they are in no way inferior to the latter. Stanley and Fortress have
    the strongest cytotoxic effects (cell necrosis). In turn, the
    same Stanley cultivar, together with Lasalle, significantly reduced the migration activity of
    cells. As a result, all extracts were beneficial in the fight against colorectal cancer.
    intestines, but onion extract of the Stanley variety turned out to be the most effective .
  • Regular consumption of onions and garlic has been linked to a lower risk
    of breast cancer. Scientists have suggested that the low
    incidence of breast cancer in Puerto Rican women is due to the fact that their diet contains
    sofrito (a sauce with onions and garlic in the composition, which in Puerto Rico is added to
    almost all side dishes, as well as soups). This was confirmed by a
    6-year study in which 314 women with breast
    cancer and 346 healthy women took part . The conclusions were made on the basis of observations of them, their diet
    and the study of questionnaires that they filled out .

Onion and garlic

  • In folk medicine, onions and garlic have been
    used as antimicrobial agents for a long time, but
    now there is scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
    Alcohol, ethyl acetate, and acetone extracts of onion and garlic
    were separately combined with the common antibiotics chloramphenicol
    and streptomycin, and their antibacterial activity was tested
    against 15 bacteria. A noticeable synergistic effect was
    achieved from a combination of ethyl acetate extract of onion and chloramphenicol,
    which successfully fought against Staphylococcus aureus and micrococci .
  • Scientists also found that due to the high content of
    flavonols (mainly quercetin and quercetin glycosides)
    in onions, alcoholic extract based on it has anticoagulant
    (thinning blood) and antioxidant
    properties. The researchers concluded that
    onions should be included in the diet to prevent blood clots and cardiovascular
    diseases, as well as diseases associated with oxidative stress .
    And American scientists have found that the anti-
    thrombotic properties of onions depend on the content of sulphur in it. Moreover, the more it is, the
    more pronounced the effect becomes .

For losing weight

Onions are often used in weight loss programs. Doctors began to prescribe this vegetable
in the fight against obesity
back in the days of the “father of European medicine”
Hippocrates, who lived in 460-370. BC e. Onions contain
only 35-45 kcal. In addition, its components, to a greater or lesser
extent, provide indirect assistance in getting rid of extra pounds:

  • cellulose
    increases the period of satiety, and, accordingly, helps to reduce the
    number of meals without losing performance;
  • vitamin B6 suppresses appetite by participating in the control of blood sugar levels;
  • potassium is responsible for water and electrolyte metabolism;
  • copper speeds up carbohydrate metabolism, as do some other substances in
    onions that provide metabolism.

Onion soup

, it is difficult to live exclusively on an onion diet for even one week , therefore, in the most popular menus for weight loss, onions rather
become an addition to the main dishes of chicken fillet, veal,
boiled fish, but its share is increasing compared to the usual diet.
The exception is onion soup, to which, wanting to lose weight
faster, overweight people completely switch over for 5-7 days.

As part of the dietary (non-classical) version of the soup for 2
liters of water, take: onions (6 pcs.), White
cabbage (0.5 heads),
bell peppers (100 g), tomato
(3 pcs.), Medium-sized carrots
and celery
(1 pc.). The soup is prepared before the ingredients are boiled. Salt is added
to taste before serving.

In cooking

Onions in cooking are used in raw, boiled, fried,
sauteed pickled
and salted forms. Although, to preserve all the beneficial properties, a
minimum heat exposure is recommended . Onions can be both a flavoring
seasoning for the main dish (and it is combined with meat,
and with fish, and with rice,
and with potatoes,
and with flour products, and with cottage cheese, and with other vegetables),
and the basis of a recipe. Many national cuisines have their own
“branded” culinary products, in which onions can be called a key
ingredient: French onion soup, British onion pie,
Russian onion jail, etc.

There are some culinary tricks that will allow you to cook this
product (or a dish based on it) as tasty as possible:

  • If you add a little granulated sugar to the oil during frying, the onions will
    brown better.
  • So that the chopped onion does not burn during sautéing, before sending
    it to the frying pan, you should roll the “straws” in flour. Then it will simply take on a
    reddish tint.
  • Onions can be added to minced meat not only to improve taste, but
    also to extend the shelf life of the meat portion.
  • To get rid of the onion bitterness when making salads,
    scald raw onions a little with boiling water, and grease your hands and a knife with wet salt.

A girl cuts an onion in a mask to protect herself from tears

Smell and tears are two “sins” of onions

“Difficulties” with onions begin at the stage of preparation – the irritating
effect of sulfuric acid almost always provokes tears, which makes slicing
onions a common problem. In order not to cry during this process, it is necessary to
understand the mechanism of the formation of an irritating factor and use effective
eye protection techniques.

The cells of the bulb contain enzymes and amino acids
that do not interact until the septa are damaged.
When cutting, they begin to mix with the formation of 1-sulfinylpropane
– a substance that causes lacrimation by irritating the mucous
membranes. As a result of the dissolution of the vapors of this substance in the lacrimal
glands, sulfuric acid is formed. It is very small to cause
serious damage, but enough to make tears flow.

From this it follows that the less the bulb cells are damaged, the less the
lacrimator (provocateur of tears) will eventually appear, which means that if you use a
very thin and sharp knife blade when shredding, you will have to cry less often. It is believed
that this is one of the secrets of professional chefs who boast about
not crying when chopping onions. In addition, professionals work very
quickly, which means less time exposing the mucous membranes of the eyes to irritating fumes.

Since onion tears occur as a result of a chemical reaction, the
effect of the lacrimator can be reduced by slowing it down. The easiest way to
do this is by chilling the onion in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Another way to avoid tears is to constantly rinse the lacrimator off the knife (by cutting
under a thin stream of water) or blow the 1-sulfinylpropane fumes to the side.
A popular tip is based on this – whistle when chopping onions. The air blown out
during the whistle will not allow dangerous vapors to fully enter the mucous membrane of the

And Japanese breeders in general radically decided to rid the world of the tearful
onion problem. In 2016, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror reported
that experts from Japan, after 20 years of experiments with
onion cells, managed to develop a variety that almost does not emit tear fumes.
The variety was named “Smiling ball”. It has been reported to
resemble an apple with its sweetish taste. A package of two bulbs in the same 2016 appeared
on the shelves of the country at a price of 450 yen, which at that time was about
4.3 dollar.

It turned out to be more difficult to cope with another “sin” of onions – its sulfurous
smell. Numerous recommendations for its elimination by rinsing the
mouth cavity do not radically solve the problem, because the source of the odor is not
in the mouth, but in the lungs. When chewing onions, amino acids, mixing with enzymes, are
converted into odorous disulfides, which penetrate the intestinal walls
into the blood and are carried by it throughout the body, getting into the lungs and from there with each
exhalation into the environment.

But rinsing your mouth will still reduce the intensity of the aromas.
Green tea,
water, milk are well suited for this .
You can chew parsley, other vegetables and fruits, or use
special odor-suppressing agents (peppermint infusion
chewing gum, etc.).

The use of onion juice in folk cosmetology

In cosmetology

In caring for the condition of the skin and hair, various properties of onions
and their husks are used:

  • Get rid of dandruff and strengthen hair.
    To improve the condition of the hair, onion juice (4 parts) is mixed
    with a decoction of burdock roots
    (6 parts) and cognac
    (1 part). Some recipes use
    cologne instead of cognac . The resulting mixture is rubbed into the scalp 1.5-2
    hours before washing. Sometimes the head is covered with a film
    cap. Pure onion juice is
    rubbed into the skin 2-3 times a week to eliminate hair loss . They also strengthen hair
    with onion peels. A decoction of yellow onion husks
    also helps to give hair a golden hue.
  • Whitening effect. To make freckles
    less noticeable, onion juice (1 tsp) is added to the infusion of
    calendula flowers . To do this, the flowers (1 tsp) are poured with boiling water
    (100 ml) and infused for 40 minutes, after which
    onion juice is added to the cooled infusion. The face should be wiped several
    times a day (2-4 times) until the pigmentation becomes less noticeable.
    Used in home cosmetology for these purposes and pure
    onion juice.
  • A mask made from onion juice
    (50 ml), olive
    oil (75 ml), honey (10 g), yolk
    (1 pc.), Apple cider vinegar (25 ml), half an apple
    and vitamin C (5 ml ampoule) is also popular . All of these ingredients are mixed,
    whisked and applied to freckled skin for 15
  • Anti-aging effect.
    Onion juice (1 tsp) mixed
    with honey (2 tbsp) and applied in the form of a mushy mask
    for 15-20 minutes will help tighten the skin and remove fine wrinkles . This mask also helps to moisturize the
    facial skin.

In addition, onion masks in combination with lemon juice are used
to remove oily sheen, purulent
lesions and lichen are treated with freshly squeezed juice, and the
husk infusion softens hardened calluses.

Dangerous properties of onions and contraindications

The dangerous properties of onions are associated primarily with the ability of
onion juice to irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines.
And abundant use of the bow, and its juice is contraindicated
for people with problems of the digestive tract and digestive system – in patients with
gastric and 12 duodenal ulcer, gastritis,

Among the contraindications are diseases of the excretory system, liver, kidneys.
You should consult your doctor before adding onions to food if you
have problems with the respiratory system, diagnose bronchial

Onions are also harmful to people with certain cardiovascular
diseases: coronary artery
disease, rhythm disturbances, high blood pressure and heart
disease. Individual intolerance and allergies also become a
contraindication for the introduction of onions into the diet. You
should be especially careful when adding onions to children’s food.

Onions are a direct threat to pets.
It manifests toxicity in relation to organisms of cats and dogs in any form: raw, fried,
dried, boiled. The organic sulfoxides in onions, which
break down into various sulfur compounds when chewed, begin to break down
red blood cells, potentially leading to anemia. Structural
changes in the blood of cats begin after eating 5 g of onion per 1 kg of
body weight. In dogs, this threshold is higher – 15-30 g per 1 kg of body weight.

The animals themselves can eagerly find and eat the bulbs without visible harm,
but this does not mean that the accumulation of toxins will not ultimately lead to poisoning.
Dogs often brought to the dacha and released into the garden begin to slowly
dig up and eat up the bulbs, and the owner does not even know about it. Symptoms of
“overeating” onions usually appear after a few days. Poisoning is accompanied by
vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, increased breathing and heart rate, the
color of the mucous membranes becomes noticeably paler.

The literature also describes an indirect danger that is not directly related to the use of onions
. The fact is that sometimes the unsprouted
bulbs of garden plants of the lily and amaryllis families
(daffodils, amaryllis) are mistaken for an edible vegetable crop , which poses a certain threat, since they
can cause alkaloid poisoning. Daffodil bulbs, for example, are rich in
licorin, which stimulates the gag reflex.

We have collected the most important points about the benefits and possible dangers of onions
in this illustration and we will be very grateful if you share
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Interesting Facts

The first mention of onions dates back to the 4th millennium
BC. e. Ancient Sumerians
and Egyptians write about it as an important food product . The latter considered the bow sacred and even swore on
it. In this ritual, the onion acted as the guarantor of the rightness of the sworn,
and it was impossible to eat it. But in Egypt, onions were also
used as food , and, judging by the preserved image, large
peeled onions were brought to both the pharaohs and the gods.

Girl with bow

Some ancient Greek thinkers saw in the multilayer
“device” of the bulb an analogue of the model of the surrounding world with the Earth
in the center and spheres (shells) around it.
Roman soldiers were more prosaic about the bow. With the help of bulbs, they drove away
“evil spirits” and diseases, so they also wore plant heads
as amulets. (However,
there was no complete agreement on this issue : some inhabitants of Rome believed that, like a dung
heap attracting flies, onions with their foul smell could, on the contrary,
lure evil spirits).

The tradition of wearing a bow under armor was also preserved among medieval
knights. There is evidence that the onion amulet in the campaigns hung
around the neck of even the famous English king Richard the first (better
known as Richard the Lionheart). But the bow in the war had
another, more practical purpose: for eight onion
heads it was possible to redeem an ordinary prisoner of war from a Saracen

Anglo-Saxon culture has also preserved the peaceful tradition of using
onions: with the help of fried eggs sprinkled with onion rings, the
bride’s parents, during matchmaking, agreed to the groom’s daughter’s hand.
(The beet handed out to the matchmakers served as a sign of refusal.)
However, if men again needed to get ready for a long
military campaign, they could prevent their wife’s betrayal by throwing, according to tradition, an
onion head into a farewell glass of wine.

For the Eastern Slavs, onions appeared as a food product around
the 12th century. It is assumed that merchants brought it from the banks of the
Danube, where there were centers of onions. The same “nest” centers
began to appear in the vicinity of the East Slavic settlements. In the “nests”,
almost all local residents were busy growing this
vegetable crop, and if they managed to create their own special
variety, it usually got its name from the name of the settlement
where it was bred. The common word for this vegetable, the Russian word “onion”
, apparently comes from the ancient Germanic “lauka”, and the Ukrainian
“tsibulya” – from the Spanish “cebolla”. The specific name “onion”
came from some resemblance of the onion head to the white turnip.

But the ancient holiday known as “Onions Day” (earlier
it was celebrated on September 5th) is named not by the name of the vegetable culture,
but in honor of St. Luke, although it was on this day that the
mass fair trade of onions usually began . The heads were sold in
whole braids, and then they were kept in the huts, hanging the
onion bundles – “pigtails” from the ceiling.

Beekeepers consider onions as a valuable melliferous plant, since the
plant produces a lot of nectar even in the heat, and it produces an
opaque light yellow honey with a slight onion flavor that
disappears when the honey ripens.

There are various classifications of groups and varieties of onions. The most
common one is the store one – by color, in which
yellow, white, and purple stand out . Each of them may differ in
one way or another, but all of them are useful for health.
It is only important to introduce onions into the diet on a regular basis.

Bundles of onions on the market

Selection and storage

When choosing onions, you should give preference to dense,
clean heads, without damage, holes and spots.

The sweetness and bitterness of a vegetable depends not only on the variety, but also on the length of
daylight hours in the place of cultivation (southern onions are considered sweeter), the
mineral content of the soil, the mild climate, the abundance of precipitation
, etc. For example, with a large amount of annual precipitation, it is
actively washed out of the soil. sulfur, which creates the preconditions for growing
a sweeter vegetable. However, in general, it is believed that white varieties
have a stronger aroma and are better for filling pies,
red and purple ones have a sweet taste and are well combined
in salads and marinades, and Spanish soft and sweet onions with yellow-brown
hulls are better suited for frying. …

To prevent sprouting, suppliers sometimes
irradiate the bulbs . If you fundamentally want to avoid buying irradiated
vegetables, you should focus on the products of farms that, even
in the process of growing, use technologies that reduce the likelihood of
bulb germination during storage: reduce the intensity of watering
during the ripening period; planted in high beds so that excess
moisture in case of precipitation is concentrated in the aisles, regulates the
salinity of soils, etc.

The most proven way to store onions at home is in a “pigtail” bundle,
suspended in a room with room temperature (18-24 C) away
from sources of heat and bright light. The husk (outer protective shell)
does not need to be removed. Such a braid is decorative, the bulbs are well
ventilated in it , and it is easy to separate them one by one from the common
bundle. Sometimes the bow is placed
in a wire basket or box with a perforated bottom to allow air circulation .

In this form, the vegetable crop can be stored for about 8-9 months
, provided that the rotting bulbs are promptly removed
from the bundle. Sweet varieties are stored less – up to 4-5 months.

It happens that to save space, onions are stacked together with other
vegetables, for example, potatoes. This is not necessary. Due to the
moisture onion, the potatoes will begin to deteriorate much faster, in addition, the rot
spreads to the onion heads.

It is also undesirable to put onions in the refrigerator for long-term storage
– at low temperatures the bulbs soften. But if the onion has already been chopped,
then it can and should be sent to the refrigerator for 2-3 days, wrapped
in a bag to prevent moisture loss and placed in a glass jar
under the lid so that all other products in the refrigerator are not saturated with the
onion smell. The need to store already chopped onions in the refrigerator
is associated with the danger of an increase in the number of dangerous bacteria (for example,
E. coli strains).

See also properties of other products:

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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