Among the ingredients found in kitchens today, the onion might be one of the most memorable, not only for the flavor that it lends to dishes but more so for its tear-inducing capabilities. Indeed, slicing onions can make you cry even if you do not want to. According to scientific experts, certain compounds, which are released when an onion is cut up, combine to create a sulfuric vapor that reacts with your eyes, making you tear up.
Cooks all over the world have employed a variety of techniques to avoid crying while chopping an onion. Some suggest refrigerating the onion, wearing a pair of goggles for eye protection or putting a glass of water in front of the chopping board. Whatever technique you apply, here are more interesting facts about the onion that you can ponder on while slicing one up.
- A medium-sized onion only has 30 calories and contains no fat.
- Onions come in red, yellow, white and brown varieties. Brown onions are the strongest in flavor and are suitable for cooking. White-colored onions, which are milder, are perfect for salads. Red onions vary in flavor and can be mixed in salads or cooked.
- A large portion of the 50 million tons of onions that are produced every year is consumed by the Libyans. Libya, where onions are consumed at an average of 66.8 pounds per person per year, ranks first as the largest onion-consuming country. Libyans eat 5 times more onions than the average person.
- One effective way to get rid of bad breath after eating raw onions is to chew on a fresh sprig of parsley that has been dipped in salt or vinegar.
- To the ancient Egyptians, the onion was a symbol of eternity. Since the vegetable was believed to ensure success in the afterlife, it was common practice to decorate tombs with drawings of onions. It is said that when the pharaoh, Khufu, had the Great Pyramid built, he paid the laborers with onions, garlic and parsley.
- The onion is a nutritious vegetable. It contains Vitamins B1 and B6, Vitamin C, potassium, manganese, folic acid and quercitin, a powerful antioxidant.
- Onions have often been used as alternative treatments for hypertension and high cholesterol. Eating half an onion every day is believed to increase the levels of good cholesterol in the body as well as lower blood pressure and improve circulation.
- The medicinal properties of onions have been well-known for hundreds of years. Hindus of long ago used onions to maintain a healthy digestive system and to keep joints pain-free. Athletes who competed in the first Olympic games in Athens during the 1st century ate onions to boost their strength.