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| Allium cepa|
Onions are vegetables. They are plants in the genus Allium. When people talk about onions, they usually mean garden onions. Most species of onions have bulbs that people can eat. They have a strong flavour and a very distinctive smell.
How onions are grown
Farmers and gardeners can grow onions from seeds or from bulbs. If they plant seeds, they must later pull out most of the young plants so the rest can grow better. This is called 'thinning.' A different way to plant onions is to plant young bulbs. This is faster, but the onions that grow this way are weaker than the onions that started as seeds.
How onions are eaten
Onions can be eaten in different ways:
- Fried sliced or chopped onions are often served on hot dogs.
- Onion rings are sliced, the slices dipped in batter, and deep-fried so the batter is crisp and onion is cooked soft.
- Pickled onions are eaten as a relish with chips or with salad.
- Raw onions:
- Sliced (cut into flat layers) for hamburgers and sandwiches
- Chopped or minced fine in salads or as garnish on cooked foods
- Cooked in soups, stews and curries
- Roasted whole alongside roasted meat
Why onions make eyes water
When you cut an onion, you open some cells of the onion. Then, some chemicals react. When one chemical floats through the air and reaches your eyes, they sting. There are ways to keep the chemical away. You can:
- Cut the onion under water
- Keep the onion in the fridge, and cut when it is cold
- Leave the root end on until last
- Use a sharper knife
- Have a fan blowing away from you on the onion
- Wear goggles, like for swimming or skiing