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Onions!

for Lauri David's Cookbook, "Family Cooks."

We are onion people, so my youngest daughter says, so every year I grow more than we can eat, and we still eat them all.

It starts early in the spring. I order young plants onion in bunches called “sets.” Red and white, sweet and scallions get planted in long rows of earth thawing in the spring sun. It is encouraging to watch an onion grow, because as it forms, its shoulders peek up out of the earth so you can watch it form and plump. They send up the most beautiful sphere shaped flowers that must be picked, some we dry and save for the seeds and some end up in vases as beautiful, albeit pungent arrangements. The green leaves can be picked and thinly sliced as a topping for buttered toast, a green hint of whats to come, packed with vitamin C.

Finally in mid-summer after a few months of weeding and watching and guarding from bugs they are ready to be pulled.

The sweet onions, like Walla Wallas must be eaten immediately within a couple of weeks as they don’t last as long. The rest are “cured” which means drying the outer skin so it becomes a protective layer. This is done by hanging them in a dry warm room for a couple of weeks. Once cured they are stored in a well ventilated space at room temperature, away from heat and bright light.

Apart from being delicious, onions are good to our bodies, they are a very good source of vitamin C, B6, biotin, chromium, calcium and dietary fiber. In addition, they contain good amounts of folic acid and vitamin B1 and K.

Red, yellow onions and shallots contain flavonoids, which are pigments that give vegetables their color. These compounds act as antioxidants, have a direct anti tumor effect and have immune-enhancing properties.

Onions contain a large amount of sulfur and are especially good for the liver.

Onions have also been shown to have a significant blood sugar-lowering action.

But best of all, onions make anything they grace their presence with taste better. In fact so delicious that 99% of all the recipes in our new cookbook “The Family Cooks” starts with a chopped onion.

Although different types of onions can usually be used interchangeably in a pinch, it’s good to know how they differ. We provide a full rundown in the “The Family Cooks”.

 

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