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Consumer Tips

Cleaning and preserving

You can keep onions for several weeks in a clean, dry spot outside the refrigerator.

Chop onions shortly before using them. The liquid from an onion can turn bitter fairly quickly.

When peeling or chopping onions your eyes begin to cry, because of the release of ethereal oils. These oils irritate the eyes and nasal passages. The stronger and the juicier the onion, the more your eyes will water. There are plenty of well tried home tricks and tips to avoid the problem, but most of them – unfortunately – need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but here are some tips that people say do really help:

  1. Put the onions for a couple of hours in the refrigerator or for a couple of minutes in the freezer.
  2. Peel the onions under water. Though chopping under water is fairly bothersome…
  3. Try breathing through the mouth, not the nose: the chemical substances attack the tear cells via your nose.
  4. If you need to clean many small onions, blanch them just before peeling them. This helps limit the release of substances when peeling.
  5. When cleaning onions cut the root base away at the end. This part of the plant contains the highest concentration of the substances that makes you cry.
  6. An old saying has it that chewing on crust of bread will help avoid tears when peeling onions. Whether this is true is the question...

Cookery tips

  • Frying onions in a little butter, margarine or oil gives the tastiest results. But do make sure the onions don’t get fried too dark, as this will lead to a bitter flavour.
  • Stew small uncut onions together with your soups or stews. Very decorative!
  • If you stew onions for long the flavour will become milder. But when frying meat such as beefsteaks and chops the tasty trick is to put in the onion rings at the last moment to fry with the meat. This gives the fat you fry the meat in and the meat itself an extra tangy flavour.
  • Boil a small onion together with peas and beans to get a mild onion flavour.
  • Use an onion in your clear (vegetable) soups and bouillons. Leave the skin on: the liquid will go a beautiful golden yellow colour. Remove the onion after having drawn the clear soup.

Gardening tips

  • Fancy growing onions yourself? Cultivating onion sets is quick and easy. Remember that onions grown in your garden will often have a much stronger flavour.
  • You can sow onions under cover in winter, under glass, or as from March in open soil. As soon as the plants have poked up a couple of centimetres, you can them thin them. Regular weeding is important, as otherwise the onion’s root system can be quickly overwhelmed by weeds. Onions like a sunny spot and should be watered and sprayed when the weather turns dry.
  • After harvesting, let the onions dry in a dry, windy place such as a barn. Fully grown onions can be kept for several months in a cool place.
  • Decorative onions provide delightful decoration for your garden. These bulbs will flower in spring with a huge profusion of sizes and types. Leave them in the soil over the winter and they will surprise you with fine flowers every year for a good five years.
Laatst gewijzigd: 20-07-2012 door: Rinus Reuvekamp
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