Fond of cooking?Then you must be aware of the cooking tutorials available on youtube which didactically explain the procedure of preparation of several delicacies,from salads to koftas and what not.But,what is that one ingredient that is most common in the initial steps of all such videos? Yes,it's none other than onion.It is that vegetable that finds its use in a wide range of delicacies and has been in our country since time immemorial.
The origins of Allium cepa or onion are unknown however,there have been certain generalizations that trace back the origin of onions to Iran and parts of Central Asia.
Onions come in a wide range of varieties. Allium is a genus,which has around 600-900 species of onions.
There are different types of onions available like
Also known as sambhar pyaaz,shallots have a mild onion flavour.They are often described as one of those onion hybrid varieties.Shallots are a cross between onion and garlic as they posses combined flavours of both.These are preferred by gourmets because they have a milder flavour and they also don't have that typical tangy onion bite. Also,they are said to be more nutrient rich as compared to onions
2. White Onions
These are named for the colour of their skin. They tend to be more tangy than sour.They have a high sugar and low sulphur content which attribute to the lesser or almost nil aftertaste of this variety. They are considered ideal for sandwiches and salads and are preferred to be used raw. It is also used as a key ingredient in the preparation of stews because it's mild flavour does not overpower the flavour of other veggies.
3. Yellow Onion
It is a variant of dry onion and is covered by a papery skin.The sulphur content of yellow onion is higher than that of white onion and this contributes to its strong taste and moe complex flavour.It is considered to be ideal for caramelization.
4. Sweet Onions
Another name in this onion variety list is Sweet onion.As the name suggests,sweet onions have even lower concentrations of sulphur thus allowing the sugar content to stand out.They are believed to have originated in the United States in the early twentieth century.They are considered ideal for salads and garnishes as well.Many people prefer to eat it raw as well.
5. Red Onion
Also known as purple onion,red onions have a red- purplish red skin and amongst all the onion types,these are the most commonly used in culinary arts.The reddish colour is attributed to the presence of anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants.Of all types of onion,only red onions are opulent in anthocyanins.This variety has a sharp flavour and it is this variety that possesses the conventional eye-watering properties.They also come in different varieties However,the names of some red onion varieties are listed below:
- Red Onion of Turda
- Red Onion of Tropea
- Wethersfield red onion
They are considered the onions of choice for grilling and pickling purposes.
6. Spring Onion
Spring onions, also called Scallions, have a milder taste and are quite preferred for Chinese cuisine. A characteristic feature of spring onions is that, they lack a fully developed bulb. They have hollow and tubular green leaves. Spring onions too come in a wide range of varieties. Some names of spring onion varieties have been listed below.
- White Lisbon
- Paris Silverskin
Nutritional Benefits of Onions
Onion, apart from being one of the most cherished food ingredient, has numerous health benefits too:
1. Rich in antioxidants
Onions are packed with plant chemicals such as flavonoids which posses both antioxidant as well as anti inflammatory effect. Upon routine consumption, these may actually help in lowering the risk of cancer’-BBC
2. Supports heart health
One of the flavonoids present in onion, quercetin has protective antioxidant properties and it also helps in lowering the risk of cholesterol.
3. Onions are packed with vitamins and minerals
They are rich in vitamin C.B6,B9 and potassium.
4. Bone health
Studies have revealed that onions actually prevent bone deterioration and rather, they actually increase bone mass!
Onions are opulent in fibres by virtue of which they are considered to be great for the digestive system.
When to grow onion?
So basically,onion is a temperate crop but you can grow it in a wide range of temperatures.In India, short-day onion seeds are grown in the plains and require 10-12 hours day length in order to successfully germinate. The day length required by long day onion grown in the hills is about 14 hours.For vegetative growth, lower temperature combined with short photoperiod is required whereas relatively higher temperature along with longer photoperiod is required for bulb development and maturity. The optimum temperature for the development of bulb and vegetative state is 16-25°C and 13-24°C respectively.For good growth onion requires around 70% relative humidity.Make sure you have the best soil mix for seeds so they give high yield at the end.
Also beware of onion pests and diseases. Be alert and observe the same at the initial stage only in order to prevent wastage.
About Urja Seeds
We,at Urja seeds provide one of the best quality onion seeds of different kinds of onions at affordable prices.We sell seeds of almost all varieties like vegetable seeds, flower seeds,exotic seeds and micro green seeds.To know more about the variety of agricultural seeds online that we provide, visit Urja Seeds and choose which of the seeds you would like to grow in your kitchen garden.
Q1: How long does it take to germinate onion seeds?
Ans: Typically,onion seeds take 7-10 days for germination.
Q2: What is the spacing for planting onions?
Ans: Plant onion seeds in rows and the spacing should be about 5-12 inches.
Q3: What happens if you plant seeds too close to one another?
Ans: The plant seeds,as we all know require ample nutrition for growth.If seeds are planted without keeping spacing in mind,then they compete for nutrients,light.And,in a smaller area,these nutrients get easily used up.