Sunday, December 5, 2010

Of Onions

Gosh, I use a lot of onions. Good thing we grow them in our garden; otherwise, I don't think we could afford to buy as many as I use!

I refilled the bowl I keep on my kitchen counter this afternoon when I was preparing to make some spaghetti sauce for the freezer. Our supply of yellow onions is still hale and hearty, but darn and drat, these red ones pictured here are the very last of this summer's crop. Shoulda planted more. Obviously. And I only use the red ones in salads or as a topping for tacos or somewhere that the color will be appreciated to its fullest extent. My harvest of red onions this year was only a smidge over eight pounds so I shouldn't be surprised they aren't lasting far enough into the winter. At least I got some. There have been many years that they just haven't done well at all for me.

I know there are some people who simply can't tolerate onions in any shape, form or portion but we love them. And I'm glad because they are chock full of healthy benefits.

They contain a surprising amount of fiber which is good for all of us plus antimicrobial properties which are very good for the colon. They're effective against many bacteria including Salmonella and E. coli. Doesn't seem quite right that they often produce diarrhea in people who can't tolerate them.

Onions have many cardiovascular benefits reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels and diminishing the risk of blot clots.

They are also know to decrease bronchial spasms which means they would be good for you if you're suffering from a cough, cold or asthma. (Now I have a picture of someone with a terrible cold sitting with a Kleenex box in one hand and a gnawed onion in the other.)

There is some evidence that onions give protection against tumor growth and stomach cancers.

The stronger the onion, the more health producing properties. If that's true, all I can say is we must be heaped in good health because our onions this year are so strong when I peel and cut them that my sinuses frequently get a complete clean-out!

All in all, yay for the lowly onion.


Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

So many fruits and vegetables hold answers to so many health problems. Yet some chemical concoction in a plastic bottle is where most people turn when when they have a health issue. And they look at us like we are the crazy ones for turning to things like onions.

Erin said...

I LOVE onions! Probably too much LOL! Hubby told me his grandpa used to sit on the front porch every night eating onion slices and a clove of raw garlic, I told my husband he is not allowed to eat raw garlic... :)

becky3086 said...

As a child, I hated onions but now that I am older I love them cooked or raw (well, not eaten by themselves, lol).

Amy Dingmann said...

Love onions. Love them. I didn't like them when I was little or even a teenager, but now I would eat them anyway I could. My grandma always told me that if you're cutting onions and put a matchstick in your mouth that the onions won't make you cry. And SO FAR it has worked great!

Mama Pea said...

Jane - So true, Jane. But I think we're getting back to the saner way of living, at least when it comes to natural foods, herbs and plants. (Well, some of us are anyway.)

Erin - I know raw garlic is very good for us, but unfortunately, when my hubby eats it, he exudes it from every pore in his body. Very objectionable!

becky3086 - I even like strong tasting ones . . . except for the after-taste the next morning!

Mama Tea - You can bet the next time I have to peel and cut one of our industrial strength onions, I'm gonna try the matchstick in the mouth trick. (There may even be pictures!!)

Sue said...

I think your red onions are such a beautiful color--I've never grown them, didn't know if they would store long or not. I've always grown Copra and plant enough to give me 3 onions per week. I'm always using the last of them just as the new ones are ready to pull. A whole year in storage and they're still in perfect shape.
I'd be happy to try your reds if they store well-what kind are they?

odiie said...

Onions are so good for you. The Finlanders up here swear by them for a cure for ear infections. Just slice one and hold it against or in your ear. Pulls out the infection. "They" also say that placing cut onions around the house draws the impurities out of the air. Haven't been able to make myself do that one yet. The other day, my daughter's ears were hurting and I was out of fresh garlic to make garlic oil, so I used an onion. A couple drops of onion oil in her ears and no more ear ache. She smelled like a tasty onion, too. Another benefit.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Nothing better than red onions on a salad! Or should a say - a little salad with my red onion??? We didn't have much luck with the reds this year either. I have only one left! And strong...woooweee! But like you said, good for ya!

But I have one questions, do you light the match? Kidding!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - These reds have stored perfectly until now. I've found a couple of the yellows that have started to rot but the reds seem to be doing just fine. Okay, here's the bad gardener report. I picked up a bag of these red sets at a feed store. I don't even remember them having a label. Wouldn't ya know it, the year I get reds to grow, I don't know what the variety is. Bad, Mama Pea, bad. Sorry.

odiie - I LOVE to learn of those old-time remedies. Sort of like homeopathy . . . they really work! As for your little onion fragranced daughter, coulda been worse!

APG - Do you light the match? Yeah, and then you work REEALLY fast! Hahahahaha!

Kelly said...

As a fellow onion lover, I hear ya! I like growing smaller reds in the garden for all sorts of uses. Then I am not wasting 1/2 a large onion, AND I don't get down on myself for producing a puny crop.

mtnchild said...

I love onions too! The only ones I will take a bite of, like an apple, is the Walla Walla. Very sweet, but full of flavor.

I'll have to try the match stick trick. I know the stainless steel knife trick works - hold the knife with all fingers & thumbs touching the blade under cold running water for a while and your fingers won't smell like onions. I'm not sure for how long, but I've done it for maybe 30 seconds, and NO smell.

Mama Pea said...

Kelly - Now that's putting a good spin on your runty little onions! ;o)

Yvette - Where were you with this little trick when I had the restaurant? My hands CONSTANTLY smelled of onions and garlic!