Facts about Onions

1. Onions are yellow, red or white, with yellow being the most common color. When allowed to mature and dry, they develop firm flesh and dry, crackly outer skins.

2. The name onion comes from the Latin, “unio.”  Unio is a mix of French “oignon” and the English “unyun.” Allium Cepa is the scientific name for onion because an onion grows as a single bulb.

3. Humans have grown onions for at least 7000 years.

4. Egyptians believed onions had strength-producing powers.  Onions were fed to those who built the pyramids.

5. The onion is one of the top 5 fresh vegetables in the US.

6. An average American consumes around 21pounds of fresh and processed onion every year.

7. There are more than 500 varieties of onions. Onions can be put into two groups: dried and fresh.

8. When onions are cut, sulfur-containing gas (called the lachrymatory factor)is released. The gas spreads in the air and comes into contact with your eyes. The lachrymatory factor activates the nerves in the eyes. The nerves send signals to your brain. Your brain puts your gland that releases tears, causing you to cry.

9. Vidalia Onions have developed an international reputation as the “world’s sweetest onion.”

10. In 1990, a resolution was passed by the Georgia’s legislature declaring the Vidalia Onion as Georgia’s Official State Vegetable.

11. Vidalia Onions contain the highest sugar content and the lowest pungency levels of any sweet onion grown anywhere in the world.

12.Everybody who has ever had to cut up a lot of strong onions knows what happens. It is literally a job that makes all of us cry. That is because onions contain sulfur, and when you cut the onion sulfur is released into the air. This airborne sulfur reacts with the moisture in your eyes and creates a mild form of sulfuric acid! Your eyes tear up to flush this substance from your eyes.

13.Native Americans ate wild onions and the Pilgrims brought onions with them on the Mayflower. Onions were eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner.

14.After slicing onions, wash your hands in cold water, then rub them with salt or vinegar. The salt or vinegar will remove onion smells from your hands.

15.If you need only half of an onion, use the top half. The root will stay fresh longer in the refrigerator.

16 In ancient Egypt, the onion was a symbol of eternity because it is a circle-within a circle. The Pharaoh Cheops paid workers who built the Great Pyramid in onions, garlic, and parsley and onions were painted on the walls of the pyramids. Mummies were even buried with onions.

17.Onions are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber. They are low in fat and calories. The antioxidants found in onions help prevent high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.

18. The white onion bulb and the green stalk are both edible.

19. Humans have been cultivating onions since 3500 B.C.

20. Green onions are also known as scallions.

21. Yellow and Red Onions contain an antioxidant that is associated with beneficial effects on human diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

22. Onions were an important part of life in Ancient Egypt. Leaders took an oath of office with their right hand on an onion.

23. It is believed that onions originated in Asia, though it is also possible that onions may have been growing wild worldwide. Ancient Egyptians worshipped the onion, believing that the spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternity.

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