Topics: Onion, Onions, Allium Pages: 11 (2973 words) Published: November 13, 2010
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"Onions" redirects here. For the surname, see Onions (surname). This article is about the plant term. For other uses, see Onion (disambiguation). Onion

Scientific classification







Species:A. cepa
Binomial name

Allium cepa

Allium cepa var. proliferum, Top Onion
The onion is any of a variety of plants in the genus Allium, specifically Allium cepa. Allium cepa is also known as the "garden onion" or "bulb" onion. Above ground, the onion shows only a single vertical shoot; the bulb grows underground, and is used for energy storage, leading to the possibility of confusion with a tuber, which it is not.[1] It is a close relative to garlic. Allium cepa is known only in cultivation,[2] but related wild species occur in Central Asia. The most closely related species include Allium vavilovii (Popov & Vved.) and Allium asarense (R.M. Fritsch & Matin) from Iran.[3] However, Zohary and Hopf warn that "there are doubts whether the A. vavilovii collections tested represent genuine wild material or only feral derivatives of the crop."[4] Contents


[edit] Uses
Onions are found in a large number of recipes and preparations spanning almost the totality of the world's cultures. The whole plant is edible and is used as food in some form or the other. They are now available in fresh, frozen, canned, caramelized, pickled, powdered, chopped, and dehydrated forms. Onions can be used, usually chopped or sliced, in almost every type of food, including cooked foods and fresh salads and as a spicy garnish. In European cultures they are rarely eaten on their own, but usually act as accompaniment to the main course. Depending on the variety, an onion can be sharp, spicy, tangy, and pungent or mild and sweet. Onions pickled in vinegar are eaten as a snack. These are often served as a side serving in fish and chip shops throughout Australia, they are often served with cheese in the United Kingdom and are referred to simply as "pickled onions" in Eastern Europe. Onions are widely used in Iran and India and Pakistan, and are essential to daily life in the local cuisine. They are commonly used as a base for curries or made into a paste and eaten as a main course or as a side dish. Onions are also used as an aromatic in cooking. In the classic mirepoix it is used along with celery and carrots to flavor stocks, soups, stews and sauces. Onions have particularly large cells that are readily observed at low magnification; consequently, onion tissue is frequently used in science education for demonstrating microscope usage.[5] [edit] Onion powder

Onion powder is a spice used for seasoning in cooking. It is made from finely ground dehydrated onions, mainly the pungent varieties of bulb onions, which causes the powder to have a very strong odor. Onion powder comes in a few varieties:

White onion powder
Red onion powder
Yellow onion powder
Toasted onion powder
Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on
Onion powder

Onion powder is toxic to dogs.[6]
[edit] Historical uses
It is thought that bulbs from the onion family have been used as a food source for millennia. In Bronze Age settlements, traces of onion remains were found alongside fig and date stones dating back to 5000 BC.[7] However, it is not clear if these were cultivated onions. Archaeological and literary evidence such as the Book of Numbers 11:5 suggests cultivation probably took place around two thousand years later in ancient Egypt, at the same time that leeks and garlic were cultivated. Workers who built the Egyptian pyramids may have been fed radishes and onions.[7] The onion is easily propagated, transported and stored. The Ancient Egyptians worshipped it,[8] believing that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life....
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