Thursday, May 26, 2011

Don't forget the...ONION

The onion holds a special place in my culinary life. Not because I have always loved it, but quite the contrary. Until about 5 years ago I would not touch a raw onion with a 10 foot pole. Ask my dear Mom who used to have to pick the diced onion out of my chili when I was little-every single one! At the start of my adult life I let a little bit of cooked white onion in my diet but the only time I would eat raw onion was if it was mixed in salsa and I had no choice. And I NEVER ate red onion. So what changed? My husband made me. No really, when we started dating and he was "courting me" with is amazing chef skills, he pretty much told me-you eat onion or you date someone else. To which I gave into because he was so very worth it (wink wink). I did not start my onion adventure full force, but gradually throughout the years I have become more and more comfortable with every type of onion and this Spring we had 3 varieties growing in the garden. The onion in the pictures on this post are in fact from last nights dinner! I am so glad that onions and I are now friends because these odorific veggies are so good for the human body and I cannot believe I was enemies with them for SO long.
The onion has been a part of the world diet for quite some time, but bringing it a little more local the American settlers used it for colds, coughs, asthma and to repel insects. Onions are high in sulfur compounds which is why it can make your eyes water and your nose run when you cut into it. These same sulfur compounds are what give it such a high nutritional value.
The onion :
-is anti-septic and rich in vitamins, A, B, and C.
-is a good source of folic acid, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, chromium, and fiber.
-stimulates healthy bacteria growth and suppresses bad bacteria in the colon.
-said to reduce the growth of tumors in the colon.
-may lower blood lipids and blood pressure.
-has anti-clotting properties and is rich in flavonoids which reduces risk of cardiovascular disease.
-used in cooking can reduce gas and constipation.
-in its raw form can prevent toot decay.
-increases circulation.
-is said to help increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
-is said to be an aphrodisiac.
-is effective against salmonella and e. coli.

So ladies and gents, eating onion is worth the stinky breath. Think about it this way, if we all eat onions it won't matter. Be sure to mix it up and use both cooked and raw onions and take advantage of the wide rage of colors and sizes. Vadalia onions are going to be a sweeter, milder variety and are grown in warmer climates, red onions are going to be opposite end of the spectrum, yellow onions fall somewhere in the middle. If you have a tough time with raw onions or if they tend to give you heartburn, slice and soak in cold water for up to an hour before using. This should help with any discomfort.                                             


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