Onions are an assumed part of most meals, whether they form a base for a stew or garnish for a salad. Most of the time they are not the focus of a dish, they’re included to enhance the other flavors in the dish. But after enjoying a steaming bowl of French onion soup, it’s easy to see that onions can also take center stage.
Onions are both rich in flavor and high in antioxidants, such as quercetin (linked to lowering blood pressure), flavonols (that bolster cellular antioxidant activity) and diallyl sulfide (a compound that may promote heart health and healthy immunity). Onions also provide some vitamin C and the soluble fiber inulin.
Choose onions that are firm and heavy with no cuts, bruises or sprouting. The skin should be shiny and tightly closed around the neck. An unpeeled onion should smell mild, as strong odors could indicate spoilage.
Store onions in a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated place. (Light can cause the onions to become bitter.)
Onions absorb moisture easily, so avoid storing them in damp places.
Do not store whole onions in the refrigerator or in plastic bags—lack of air circulation will cause them to spoil, as will storing them near potatoes, which give off moisture and gas that can cause onions to spoil quickly.
Scallions and chives have a higher water content, bruise more easily and have a shorter shelf life—store them in the refrigerator.
According to 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz, New York City was called the Big Onion before it was named the Big Apple, because you could peel off layer after layer without reaching the core.