Onion

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Onion
Onions.jpg
Onions
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium
Binomial name
Allium cepa

Onions are vegetables. They are plants in the genus Allium. When people talk about onions, they usually mean garden onions. Onions have bulbs, which are edible, in most species. They have a strong flavour, and a very distinctive smell.

Onions have been grown for a very long time. They were probably first grown in Ancient Egypt, together with leek and garlic, but maybe earlier. Now, most of the world's cultures eat onions.

How onions are grown[change | change source]

Farmers and gardeners can grow onions from seeds or from bulbs. If they plant seeds, they must later pull out most of the young plants so the rest can grow better. This is called 'thinning.' Or, they can plant young bulbs. This is faster, but the onions that grow this way are weaker than the onions that started as seeds.

How onions are eaten[change | change source]

Onions can be eaten in different ways:

  • Fried sliced or chopped onions are often served on hot dogs.
    • Onion rings are sliced, the slices dipped in batter, and deep-fried so the batter is crisp and onion is cooked soft.
  • Pickled onions are eaten as a relish with chips or with salad.
  • Raw onions:
    • Sliced (cut into flat layers) for hamburgers and sandwiches
    • Chopped or minced fine in salads or as garnish on cooked foods
  • Cooked in soups, stews and curries
  • Roasted whole alongside roasted meat

Why onions make eyes water[change | change source]

When you cut an onion, you open some cells of the onion. Then, some chemicals react. When one chemical floats through the air and reaches your eyes, they sting. There are ways to keep the chemical away. You can: 

  • Cut the onion under water
  • Keep the onion in the fridge, and cut when it is cold
  • Leave the root end on until last
  • Use a sharper knife
  • Have a fan blowing away from you on the onion
  • Wear goggles, like for swimming or skiing

Gallery[change | change source]