Onion

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The onion is any of a variety of plants in the genus Allium, specifically Allium cepa. Allium cepa is also known as the "garden onion" or "bulb" onion. Above ground, the onion shows only a single vertical shoot; the bulb grows underground, and is used for energy storage, leading to the possibility of confusion with a tuber, which it is not.[1] It is a close relative to garlic.

Allium cepa is known only in cultivation,[2] but related wild species occur in Central Asia. The most closely related species include Allium vavilovii (Popov & Vved.) and Allium asarense (R.M. Fritsch & Matin) from Iran.[3] However, Zohary and Hopf warn that "there are doubts whether the A. vavilovii collections tested represent genuine wild material or only feral derivatives of the crop."[4]

Contents

Uses

Onions are found in a large number of recipes and preparations spanning almost the totality of the world's cultures. The whole plant is edible and is used as food in some form or the other. They are now available in fresh, frozen, canned, caramelized, pickled, powdered, chopped, and dehydrated forms. Onions can be used, usually chopped or sliced, in almost every type of food, including cooked foods and fresh salads and as a spicy garnish. In European cultures they are rarely eaten on their own, but usually act as accompaniment to the main course. Depending on the variety, an onion can be sharp, spicy, tangy, pungent, mild or sweet.

Onions pickled in vinegar are eaten as a snack. These are often served as a side serving in fish and chip shops throughout the United Kingdom and Australia, often served with cheese in the United Kingdom and are referred to simply as "pickled onions" in Eastern Europe. Onions are widely used in Iran and India and Pakistan, and are essential to daily life in the local cuisine. They are commonly used as a base for curries or made into a paste and eaten as a main course or as a side dish.

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