Onion – Spice or Vegetable?

Do you really know what an onion is? It is actually a vegetable! They are part of the lily family that create and enhance food flavor. Onions also act as a spice because they give strong aromatic smell. They were used in almost every type of food including cooked foods, fresh salads and as a spicy garnish. So that is why they were one of the main ingredients in cooking.

Where does the name onion come from? Onion comes from the Latin word, ‘unio’ which means one. The onion plant only creates a single bulb. Each bulb has many layers.

Onions are found in a large number of recipes and in preparations spanning almost the totality of the world’s cultures. That is why it is one of the best ingredients of the culinary world, like garlic which is a close relative of onion, because of the strong taste and the odor that everyone will bring to tears to their eyes. When the onion is cut, there is a certain compound that is released causing our eyes to become irritated. The compounds name is allyl sulfate. Allyl sulfate is a phyto-nutrient that is released into the air when ruptured.

However, here are the some tips on how to avoid from crying. Chill the onion first for a few hours. Chilling prevents the enzymes from activating and limiting the amount of gas generated. Use a very sharp knife to slice them because it will also limit the cell damage of the onion.  Eye irritation may be avoided as well by having a fan blow the gas away from the eyes as the onion is being cut. The substance that brings tears to your eyes is in the reality the same substance that makes onions very nutritious.

Finally, there are many people who say that onion can be utilized to treat many health conditions. However, there have been no conclusive results.