If there is one ingredient that good cooks worldwide cannot do without, it's the onion. No one knows exactly how far back the onion was cultivated but there is evidence that the onion has been around for 5000 years or more.
Onions may be one of the earliest cultivated crops because they were less perishable than other foods of the time, they were transportable and they were easy to grow and could be grown in a variety of soils and climates. There might be a cuisine that doesn't use onion in one variety or another as an ingredient but I haven't encountered it as yet -- this accounts for the fact that more than 175 countries grow onions and that worldwide, onion production is an incredible105 billion pounds a year. In the United States alone, about 1,000 growers produce approximately 6 billion pounds of onions each year which accounts for 2.5 percent of the world onion acreage and over 7 percent of the world onion production.
WHAT A GREAT IDEA FROM KING ARTHUR FLOUR'S BAKING CATALOGUE!
Spring/Summer Fresh Onions
These fresh onions are available in yellow red and white throughout their season, March through August. Fresh onions can be identified by their thin, light-colored skin. They are typically sweeter and milder than storage onions, because they have a higher water content. This higher water content also makes them more susceptible to bruising.
Fall/Winter Storage Onions
These storage onions are available August through April. Also available in yellow, red and white, storage onions have multiple layers of thick, dark, papery skin. Storage onions have an intense flavor.
Onions contain a variety of naturally occurring chemicals that have been linked to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In addition, onions are low in sodium, add dietary fiber, and provide a source of vitamin C and potassium to your diet.
Nutrition values per 1 medium onion (about 5.2 ounces):
What compound in onions brings tears to your eyes?
Sulfuric compounds. To cut down on the tears, chill the onion and cut into the root end of the onion last.
How many pounds of fresh and storage type onions does the average American eat per year?
What country boasts the highest per capita consumption of onions?
Libya, pounds of onions consumed per person each year.
What cocktail is traditionally garnished with a pearl onion?
The Gibson -- a gin martini.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, how much did the largest onion weigh?
10 pounds, 14 ounces. It was grown by V. Throup of Silsden, England
How many onion farmers are there in the United States?
Less than 1,000
Crispy Barbecue Onions
Recipe courtesy of National Onion Association