The versatile onion is the most universal seasoning used by humans. The common bulb onions are reddish purple, white, or yellow with a tan skin. The tan-skinned storage onion is the strongest most pungent variety, while its purple and white cousins are milder and sweeter. Onions are low in calories and fats; however, they are rich in soluble dietary fiber. They are also a significant source of chromium, which is the trace mineral that helps tissue cells respond appropriately to insulin levels in the blood. It therefore helps to facilitate insulin action and control sugar levels in diabetics.
To store onions, place them in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. A cut onion should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container to avoid the transference of its flavor to other foods. Remember to use as soon as possible. One tip to aid in reducing the fumes that cause tears when chopping is to chill the onion thoroughly in the refrigerator or cut under running water.
Of course, the onion has the strongest flavor when used raw or lightly cooked. The longer it is cooked, the milder it becomes. The variety of cooking methods is endless: steaming, boiling, sauteing, stir-frying, braising, baking, grilling, roasting, etc. Oven roasting or long baking brings out the sweetness and caramelizes the natural sugars of an onion. Dice or chop raw sweet onion and add to a variety of salads, such as potato, pasta, green, or any marinated-style salads. Use them generously in soups, stews, and casseroles. And don’t forget to top your favorite pizza with a sizable amount of diced onion.
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