The one that makes us cry

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When tears are shed in the kitchen an onion is often at fault. Here’s a little pointer for starters. If you don’t want your eyes to tear when cutting this wonderful veggie, simply use a perfectly sharpened and relatively thin kitchen knife. Less juice leaks out and the cheeks stay dry.

A real globetrotter

If onions could write their own biography, they would have plenty to tell. But since they are unable, we will do it for them.

Mankind has been cultivating, using and consuming this herbaceous plant for over 5,000 years. It is one of the oldest crops, thought to have originated in Central Asia. The ancient Egyptians gave onions as sacrificial offerings to the gods. Onions were also used as a means of payment for workers building the pyramids. They were given to the dead as “provisions” for the journey into the afterlife. Roman legionnaires brought them to Central Europe on their military campaigns. From there the onion’s fame reached great heights and it became an essential part of meals. The taste and value of onions caught on early in Germany. They were cultivated there as early as the 12th century. Nowadays onions are cultured and distributed with modern agricultural methods.

A culinary trend for eternity

Germans consume about seven kilograms of onions per capita. Not enough!, some onion fetishists might protest. It’s quite possible that some of these onion lovers hail from Libya or Albania. Annual per capita onion consumption in Libya comes to about 34 kg, and in Albania almost 33 kg.

The worldwide leader in production is China. A total of 33.2 million tons are produced there annually. Exceptionally good quality and low prices are two things that make Chinese onions so competitive on the international market. For the economy then, onions are a reason to rejoice and not to cry.

Onions are also very competitive in kitchens around the world. It is specifically this veggie which often hits the scalding-hot surface of pots and pans first. It is the basis of countless recipes and provides many meals with that certain something. From hearty and heavy onion soup to a light, fresh salad with spring onions – onions are versatile.

From medieval healing practices to modern medicine

In the Middle Ages onions were worn as an amulet against the plague which, of course, turned out to be useless. Onions are indeed useful, but they can’t stop the black death.

Nowadays onions are used, for instance, in dermatology to treat scars. To be exact, an ointment of onion extract. It reduces swelling, is anti-inflammatory and also boasts germ-killing and regenerative properties. Just eating three to four red onions per week significantly aids the body’s own detoxification. Prepared as tea, onions unleash their antibacterial effect and help relieve coughing, sniffling and sore throat.

As you see, onions have carved out their place in kitchens around the world, unlike the onion look in the fashion industry.

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