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12 fascinating onion facts (and the best onion bhaaji recipe)

Our love of the humble onion has deep roots.

It’s the basis of so much of our cooking, and the start to every good recipe:

‘Step One, chop an onion’.

There’s also a range of onions to suit a variety of dishes.

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Spring onions grow in warmer climates and have a sweeter taste. White onions grow in colder weather and are named after their colour. And don’t forget the close relatives of the onion: the leek, the shallot and the chive. 

Honestly, it’s hard to know where we’d be without onions. And, because we love them so much, we’ve dug a little deeper and put together a few onion facts you probably didn’t know.

12 eye-opening (and tear inducing) onion facts

Fact 1: Cutting onions makes you cry because of the release of a compound called allyl sulphate, which irritates your eyes. To lessen the effect, you can put your onion in the fridge for half an hour before you cut into it.

Fact 2: The onion is part of the species of the genus ‘Allium’. Garlic is also a member of this group.

Fact 3: There’s evidence onions were used as far back as 5000 BCE as traces have been found in bronze age settlements in China.

Fact 4: European settlers brought onions with them when they started to settle in North America. When they arrived, however, they found that the native Americans already grew and used them widely in their cooking.

Fact 5: The average P.H. of an onion is 5.5. This makes it strongly acidic.

Fact 6: Ancient Egyptians worshipped the onion. For them, its spherical shape and the concentric circles within symbolized eternity.

Fact 7: Onions are healthy and nutritious. They contain fibre, folic acid, and are high in vitamin C.

Fact 8: Don’t feed onions to your dogs – they can weaken a dog’s red blood-cells. This leads to anaemia which in some cases can even lead to death. 

Fact 9: The yellow onion is the most popular onion globally and makes up75%of the onions grown worldwide.

Fact 10: Onion breath isn’t great. If you ever do get some nasty onion breath, you can get rid of it by chewing fresh parsley.

Fact 11: Soldiers and athletes in ancient civilizations believed onions were a source of strength. The Ancient Greeks thought that rubbing it on the skin gave them more speed and power.

Fact 12: Historians and botanists have found evidence suggesting onions originated from central Asia.

Our favourite onion recipe: easy onion bhajis with tamarind date chutney

There’re so many great recipes that make the most of the humble onion.

Our favourite of the moment is this one: Easy Onion Bhajis with Tamarind Date Chutney. 

They’re delicious warm and when dipped in the date chutney. It’s by Ania at the Lazy Cat Kitchen. For the full recipe and the easy to follow YouTube video that guides you through, head here.

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