Learn about the health benefits of onions. Read about storage and cooking tips. And try some healthy (and delicious) onion recipes.

In southwestern Pennsylvania onions are picked from May to October. Some onions can be stored over the winter. That’s why we can find onions at the market during every season. Onions come in many shapes, sizes and colors. The most common types of onions are white, yellow, red and green onions.

Health Benefits

  • Onions are a good source of vitamin C. In fact, George Washington used to eat an onion (not an orange), when he thought he was getting sick.
  • Onions grow in the soil. When onions grow, they absorb minerals from the dirt. Onions are a good source of potassium. Potassium can help keep your blood pressure under control.

 

Storage

  • Store onions in a cool, dark, dry place. Try storing onions in a cupboard or even in your basement, not on a sunny window sill.
  • Try storing whole onions in a brown paper bag. The paper bag will absorb moisture. A paper bag also provides a dark environment that stops the onion from sprouting.
  • Do not store onions in a plastic bag. Plastic bags hold moisture. Moisture makes onions go bad faster.
  • If cut, store onions in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
  • Do not store whole onions in the refrigerator. The cold temperature of the refrigerator will make the onions soft and mushy.

 

Preparation

  • When onions grow, they absorb many different compounds from the soil. One of those compounds can make cooks sniffle or cry. To reduce tears:
    • Make sure your knife is sharp.
    • Chill onions in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
    • Wear glasses or onion goggles.
    • Breathe through your mouth and stick out your tongue, while chopping.

 

Cooking Tips

Onions are a useful vegetable. They can be eaten raw, grilled, roasted in the oven or cooked in a skillet on the stove top. Cooking makes onions taste sweeter. Heat transforms the onion’s natural sugars making the onions turn golden brown in color. Try this recipe for Braised Winter Greens to enjoy the sweet flavor of caramelized onions.

 

Cider-Braised Winter Greens

1 tablespoon oil

2 yellow onions, diced

2 bunches of greens (like collards or kale), washed, stemmed and chopped

1 cup apple juice

¼ teaspoon salt

 

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions start to turn golden brown in color.
  2. Add half of the chopped greens. Stir to combine. Cook until greens begin to wilt.
  3. Add the rest of the greens, apple juice and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Cover the large pot with a lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 20-25 minutes until most of the apple juice has evaporated.