Oh the humble onion, a staple in pretty much any savoury dish, whether it is soup, curry, casserole, pasta, salad, the list goes on. It couples extremely well with garlic and the aroma these two release when cooking together never gets old. Although onions are vegetables they are often forgotten about when it comes to serving up vegetables as part of a meal, roasting a quartered onion in some rapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar along with your other roasted veggies – delicious! Your average sized onion, once peeled and had the root and stalk removed, weighs in at around 80g which is the weight of one portion of your 5 a day – perfect! Eating an entire onion might seem quite daunting but roasting it in chunks and adding it to meals makes it an easy task. Alternatively incorporate it into any sauces, or diced up finely and added to salads, whizzed into soups too.
Onions can be white, red, shallots or spring, these are the main varieties that feature in the average British diet. White onions are best used in sauces and soups, red onions in salads or to add colour to chillies, tagines etc, shallots are often used in French dishes and have a sweeter flavour and spring onions again in salads or as a garnish to stir fries.
As they are such a popular feature in so many meals it would make sense to grow your own. Onions can be grown from seeds however it is easiest if you plant them from baby onions, also known as sets and early spring is the best time to do so.
Onion fact: do onions make you cry? If yes then this is because of the sulphur within the onion which is released as a gas when the onion is cut into, the sulphur is more concentrated in the root therefore when cutting an onion avoid cutting the root off at first. The sulphur is still found in the rest of the bulb however so could still cause some tears. This build-up of sulphur is there to protect the plant from predators as it will cause animal’s eyes to water just like it does ours.