Onion

Organic CSA farm onion
Scientific Name and Common Name
Allium cepa
Allium cepa var. aggregatum

Bulb onion, common onion, bunching onion, shallot

About

From Wikipedia: “The onion (Allium cepa) (Latin ‘Allium’ = garlic, ‘cepa’ = onion), also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is used as a vegetable and is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium,” which includes garlic, onions and leeks. “The name ‘wild onion’ is applied to a number of Allium species but A. cepa is exclusively known from cultivation and its wild original form is not known. The onion is most frequently a biennial or a perennial plant, but is usually treated as an annual and harvested in its first growing season.”

Cultivation

Onions may be grown from seed or, more commonly today, from sets started from seed the previous year. Onion sets are produced by sowing seed very thickly one year, resulting in stunted plants that produce very small bulbs. These bulbs are very easy to set out and grow into mature bulbs the following year, but they have the reputation of producing a less durable bulb than onions grown directly from seed and thinned.
Seed-bearing onions are day-length sensitive; their bulbs begin growing only after the number of daylight hours has surpassed some minimal quantity. Most traditional European onions are what is referred to as “long-day” onions, producing bulbs only after 15+ hours of daylight occur. Southern European and North African varieties are often known as “intermediate day” types, requiring only 12–13 hours of daylight to stimulate bulb formation. Finally, “short-day” onions, which have been developed in more recent times, are planted in mild-winter areas in the fall and form bulbs in the early spring, and require only 9–10 hours of sunlight to stimulate bulb formation.

Cultural Information

Humans have been cultivating and eating onions for about 7,000 years, all over the world. The Egyptians worshipped onions and buried them with their dead, various cultures have believed them to have medicinal uses and prescribed them for everything from thinning blood in Roman athletes to increasing fertility in animals (although onions are poisonous to many animals). European settlers brought onions to the western hemisphere, where they found native peoples already cultivating and using their own varieties.

Nutritional Information

Nutritional Information
Onion, raw, Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Nutrient Amount % US RDA
Energy 166 kJ (40 kcal) N/A
Carbohydrates 9.34 g N/A
Sugars 4.24 g N/A
Dietary fiber 1.7 g
Fat 0.1 g N/A
Protein 1.1 g %
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.046 mg (4%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.027 mg/td> (2%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.116mg (1%)
Vitamin B6 0.12 mg (9%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 19 μg (5%)
Vitamin C 7.4mg (12%)
Calcium 23mg (2%)
Iron 0.21 mg (2%)
Magnesium 0.129mg (0%)
Phosphorus 29mg (40%)
Potassium 146mg (3%)
Zinc 0.17mg (2%)

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Cooking Tips and Recipes

Onions, one of the oldest vegetables, are found in a large number of recipes and preparations spanning almost the totality of the world’s cultures. They are now available in fresh, frozen, canned, caramelized, pickled, powdered, chopped, and dehydrated forms. Onions can be used, usually chopped or sliced, in almost every type of food, including cooked foods and fresh salads and as a spicy garnish. They are rarely eaten on their own, but usually act as accompaniment to the main course. Depending on the variety, an onion can be sharp, spicy, tangy and pungent or mild and sweet.

Onions pickled in vinegar are eaten as a snack. These are often served as a side serving in fish and chip shops throughout Australia, they are often served with Cheese in the United Kingdom and are referred to simply as “pickled onions”. Onions are widely used in Iran and India and Pakistan, and are fundamental in the local cuisine. They are commonly used as a base for curries or made into a paste and eaten as a main course or as a side dish.

Maria’s Chunky Salsa
Submitted by Maria Torres

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups diced Roma tomatoes
  • ½ of one red, yellow, and white onion (diced)
  • ½ of one red, yellow, gold and orange bell pepper (diced)
  • 4-5 Jalapeños
  • 3-4 Serrano
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • Juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes

Directions

  1. Dice up all the tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mash the garlic.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Salt to taste.

Maria’s Mean & Green Salsa
Submitted by Maria Torres

Ingredients

  • 6 tomatillos, husked
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped in quarters)
  • 1 ½ cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 3 Jalapeño peppers
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. of chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • ½ of one lime juiced

Directions

  1. Roast tomatillos, peppers, and onions on stovetop in olive oil until tender.
  2. Season with cilantro, oregano, cumin, and garlic salt.
  3. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Using a blender, carefully puree the tomatillos and water in batches until smooth.