Monday, 30 April 2012

The Humble Onion

Onions have to be the ultimate peasant food.  They're very cheap and incredibly versatile.  A basic ingredient in soups. stews and curries, onions can also be added to stir-frys, pizza, pasta sauce and gravy.  They can even work well raw in salads and garnishes. 

This week I bought a bargain bag of onions at 80p for two kilograms.  I don't intend to let any go to waste.   According to traditional accounts, onions that were braided together and hung from the rafters would last all winter.  For some reason the ones I get from the supermarket only last about two weeks in the fridge.  Who knows how long they've already been stored or in what conditions.

I'll use about one kilo fresh and freeze the other.  I make a lot of dishes that call for two chopped onions, so I'll chop them and sauté them just as I would for a curry or pasta sauce.  I fill lidded plastic take-away containers with two prepared onions each and store in the freezer.  When my kilo of fresh onions has run out, I'll defrost them as required.

Onion Nutrition

A medium onion contains 14% of your GDA of vitamin C and is high in soluble fibre. Compounds in onions (and garlic) convert a phytochemical called allicin when the bulb is sliced.  Allicin has so many health benefits that people take it in supplement form. 

  •  It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic and helps to fight off many kind of infections.
  • It can lower blood pressure and help to prevent the formation of blood clots, reducing the risk for heart disease and stoke. 
  • It can lower levels of LDL 'bad' cholesterol and raise levels of HDL 'good' cholesterol.
  • It acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage by free radicals, reducing the risk of cancer.


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