Fun-ion with Onions!

This post was written by Jennifer Josey, Katie Walsh, Laura Bellussi, Emily Riddle, Jill Conrod, 
and Julia Hunter, nutrition students at Acadia University. Thanks for sharing your onion facts and recipes!

Basic Information: Onions are a versatile, often overlooked and underestimated vegetable. Onions are planted in April and harvested in late July and early August. They are first planted in seed trays and then transferred to the field as they begin to sprout. The ideal conditions for onions to grow and thrive are moist ground and soil, and warm temperatures. When buying onions, they should be firm and shiny. The skin of the onions should be green in colour to ensure freshness. After purchasing, onions should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. This will prolong the shelf life of the produce. To keep left over, unused onions they can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator. To prepare an onion for use, rinse the bulb under cool water and scrub with a brush to remove dirt and any residue. The outer skin of the onion should then be peeled to reveal the inner usable flesh.

Nutritional Value: Aside from being incredibly scrumptious, onions are also nutritious! A large raw onion contains approximately 60 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 6 mg of sodium, 14 grams of carbs (including 2.6 grams of fibre and 6.4 grams of sugars), 1.6 grams of protein and nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C, which will help to boost your immune system All of these nutrients are essential in a healthy diet. The impacts of cooking on the nutrients in onions are slim to none; the loss of nutrients is small enough that it can be ignored.

Food Preparation: The ways in which onions can be used in food preparation and cooking are many and varied. When raw, onions are crisp, with a distinct flavour. Raw onions can be used in dishes such as salads and sandwiches. When cooked or sautéed, onions become soft and translucent and their flavour mellows. If sautéed for long enough, onions will caramelize and their flavour becomes sweet. Cooked onions can be used as a condiment on many foods, similar to raw onions, as well as in soups, stews, and stir-fries.

Here is a delicious and easy recipe for onion dip, which is great with almost any cracker or dipping bread.

Onion Dip
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups diced onions
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:
In a frying pan over medium heat add oil. Heat the pan and add onions and salt. Cook the onions until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mix the rest of the ingredients together, and then add the cooled onions. Refrigerate and stir again before serving.

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