Onion is the February Harvest of the Month

Winter is in full swing and we’re layering up to stay warm. So, it seems like a very appropriate time to discuss a harvest with layers of its own. This month we celebrate onions. Onions are a member of the allium family and are closely related to garlic, shallots, and leeks. During the month of February you may find onions used more abundantly in a variety of recipes from our cafeterias.

Did You Know?

  • The world’s largest onion, grown by a British Farmer in 2011, was 18 pounds!
  • Onions and other allium vegetables have cancer-fighting properties related to their antioxidants. The antioxidants in onions can help to suppress the development and growth of various cancerous tumors.
  • Onions are rich in fiber and prebiotics which help to increase and encourage friendly bacteria in the gut while promoting regular digestion.

Try These Delicious Recipes

Easy Roasted Veggies
Cookie-sheet Fajitas
Oven Baked Onion Rings

How to Buy and Store: Onions are an extremely versatile vegetable. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and are used in cuisines throughout the world. Onion share a rather long growing season and can be purchased in grocery stores at a reasonable price year round. The different varieties of onions typically fall into three categories: white, yellow and red. Onions should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry area. After they are chopped onions should be stored in the refrigerator. Be sure not to store onions directly next to other fruits and vegetables as their strong can flavor can leech onto other produce items.

Making it Kid-Friendly: Onions can be potent and tend to be one of the vegetables parents most often struggle to get their children to eat. Children may be more likely to eat cooked onions. Consider cooking yellow onions on low heat for a longer period of time so they begin to caramelize and become sweeter. If serving onions raw, choose white onions which tend to be milder in flavor than red or yellow onions. Freshly chopped onions can omit chemicals that irritate the eyes. So, be sure not to chop them within a few feet of small children.

Nutrition and Health Benefits: Onions are vegetables rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals, or highly reactive molecules which can be damaging to our bodies. They contain the antioxidant vitamin C and also two antioxidants from the flavonoid family: quercetin and anthoxanthins. Quercetin carries many health benefits including helping to lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease. It may prevent some cancers. Anthoxanthins are found in white and pale yellow pigmented vegetables. They are thought to reduce the risk of cardiac events and also reduce inflammation. Onions are also a good source of sulfur. Sulfur aids in the development of connective tissue and deters joint pain, which is why it is found in many dietary supplements that may alleviate joint pain.

Calories: 44Folate: 20mg
Total Fat: 0gCalcium: 25mg
Total Carbohydrate: 10gVitamin C: 8mg
Fiber: 2gProtein: 1g