Newest Review: ... to the boys to chop or they will get bored and send back massive chunks! *Growing* Onions are quite an easy vegetable to grow, and my... more
Onions. (please don't cry!)
Member Name: Lunaria
Date: 09/03/12, updated on 18/07/12 (83 review reads)
Advantages: Readily available, inexpensive, good flavour
Disadvantages: Can sting eyes during preparation
Onions add flavour to a multitude of savoury recipes, snacks, pickles and sauces and are also eaten in their own right fried or grilled or raw in salads or sandwiches. They are readily available in the shops and markets throughout the year as they store well and they are also very straightforward to grow.
There are so many different types of onion. There are spring onions, shallots, red onions, yellow and white onions, pearl onions.. the list goes on.
Welsh onions grow in my garden, they are hardy perennials and I think they are rather how you would imagine a wild onion to be, similar in the shape of the leaves and bulbs to a spring onion but growing in clumps. I find these 'evergrowing' onions useful because the leaves and bulbs can be harvested at any time of the year fresh from the ground.
Growing onions can be very worthwhile in terms of what you gain for a little cost and effort. Onion sets early in the Spring are easily available not only from garden centres but also supermarkets and high street stores. I usually buy a 500g bag from Wilko, currently priced at £1.49, and this gives somewhere around 40 onions.
I plant the tiny immature onions in a sunny spot in the garden at approximately 20cm apart and 35cm between each row. Having grown onions for a good few years I've noticed the plants do benefit from a good amount of well rotted manure or compost prior to planting and also a wood ash or potash top dressing during the growing period. Early onions can be surprisingly quick to grow, so I start harvesting smaller onions early otherwise I'm left with an abundance of large onions all at once. However they store successfully in a dry, cool airy place and will last throughout the winter.
Preparing onions by chopping or slicing is notorious for inducing watery eyes. Sulphoxides in the onion causes a reaction with the water in our eyes which can then sting. Of course closing our eyes whilst chopping with a knife is not a good idea but that's what you feel like doing! There are various tips and antidotes such as chopping onions near running water or a lighted candle. Putting onions in the fridge or cold water prior to chopping. My friend places a really large chunk of bread in his mouth whilst slicing or chopping onions and swears it works without fail. We each have a method that works for us, I find leaving out the very central part of the onion reduces the problem enough not to cause too much in the way of irritation.
Onions are versatile and provide excellent flavour, in addition they contain vitamin C and an antioxidant, quercetin, that helps eliminate free radicals. This may be why onions are reputed to be beneficial to eat when suffering from a cold or the flu.
Thanks for reading this review!
© Lunaria 2012
Summary: Onions: easy to grow and a multitude of uses.