The onion belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family (same family as garlic, chives and leeks), genus Allium, species Allium Coepa.
The IGP Tropea red onion, despite not being the most cultivated, is undoubtedly the most renowned for its qualitative features. It is present on the Italian territory for over 2000 years and it was imported by the Phoenicians.
Its sweet taste is determined by the high percentage of sugar and the red color comes from the presence of anthocyanins (compounds belonging to the flavonoid family).
The composition of an onion provides 90% of water, 1% protein, very little fat and some significant minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, almost all of the B complex, C, and finally E. The part used in the kitchen is usually the stratiform bulb.
Onions, if well kept, remain fresh for at least three weeks. Just be careful to store them in a cool, dry, ventilated place.
In addition to the countless uses in culinary field, onions are extremely beneficial for our body.
It has diuretic and detoxifying effects next to an antiseptic and antioxidant action, it acts on the blood due to its fluidizing power, it reduces bad cholesterol (since rich in sulphated substances) and it is particularly good for people who suffer from hypertension.
The onion also helps to fortify the immune system (acts as a natural antibiotic), lowers blood sugar, helps the liver and is a great homeopathic remedy against ear infections, insect bites, cystitis, pimples. It prevents tumors and promotes, among other things, also the elimination of uric acid.
The onion also offers greater bioavailability – ie the possibility of hiring – of minerals such as iron and zinc, minerals inside the grains which the onion can be cooked with.
The intake of raw onion is not recommended for those who have digestive problems or have ulcers, gastritis or colitis. It is not recommended, even cooked, for those who suffer from esophageal reflux and for breastfeeding mothers, as it makes breast milk tastes unpleasant.
It is also extremely toxic to our dogs, so be very careful because they mustn’t eat onions!
For those who cannot stand the smell of onion is suggested to cut the bulbs into very small slices, season with olive oil and lemon and leave to marinate for a few hours.
To remove the smell of onions from your hands, you need to rub them with vinegar, salt or lemon juice and then wash them with soap and warm water.
To avoid excessive tearing while cutting the bulbs, you can put the knife blade under running water, or cut the onions in the longitudinal direction and then into horizontal slices.
Cold blocks the evaporation of irritants, so you can place the bulbs in the refrigerator before cutting them.
Even the great poet Pablo Neruda paid tribute to the onion with an ode, where it is the unquestioned protagonist.
Ode To The Onion by Pablo Neruda
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
clear as a planet
round rose of water,
of the poor.
You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
of the snowy anemone
and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.
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