September Food of the Month

Onions

Posted in Alerts

For September, we are showcasing one of the humblest staples in the kitchen pantry: the onion. It is the bedrock of flavor used in all kinds of cuisines and cooking styles, whether you are a vegetarian or not. Served raw, pickled, sautéed, roasted, caramelized, or cooked in soup, it is regularly called for in recipes but rarely considered a vegetable in its own right. Onion belongs to the same allium family of vegetables as garlic and leeks, two well-known flavoring ingredients.

Onions are high in the phytonutrient quercetin, which is also found in apples. Quercetin acts as an antioxidant; however, the antioxidant effect appears to be stronger when the quercetin is obtained through eating onion instead of taking a supplement that contains only quercetin. Population-based studies have documented lower rates of heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma among those who regularly consume quercetin-rich foods.  Another defining characteristic of allium vegetables such as onion is that they are rich in sulfur-containing compounds, the source of their defining pungent odor. Sulfur- containing compounds have anti-inflammatory effects. High levels of onion consumption have also been linked to better bone density and may be beneficial in maintaining the overall health of our connective tissue.

Nutrition Tidbits for Onions:
1/2 cup of chopped raw onion contains:

  • Calories: 32 kcal
  • Fat: 0.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.5 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Glycemic Index (GI): Low

There are many different types of onions on the market, and some varieties have additional phytonutrients - for example, red onion also contains the phytonutrient anthocyanin. Regardless of the type and size, choose firm, well-shaped bulbs that have not sprouted at the tip, and check to make sure there are no soft spots or mold. Onions should be kept in a dry, well-ventilated area of the pantry away from heat, light, and excess moisture.

Ways to Include More Onions in Your Diet:

  • Use generous amounts of chopped onion when cooking: add them to stir-fry, soups, stews, omelets and frittatas, and pasta sauces.
  • As the weather cools down, make a big batch of Slow Cooker French Onion Soup and freeze in single-serve containers for easy meals later on.

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup


Makes 14 Servings

  • 6 lbs. onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • 14 cups beef stock
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme

For 2 Servings:

  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine
  • 2 slices toasted crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Instructions:

  1. Over medium heat sauté the onion in butter until soft and translucent and caramel color. Make this in 3 batches. Place onions in slow cooker.
  2. Deglaze cooking skillet with some of the beef stock; this is the secret to that taste.
  3. Add to slow cooker along with the remaining beef broth (your own homemade or powdered mixed with boiling water). Add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaf.
  4. Cover; cook on High for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf.
  6. Freeze in single-serve containers.

When ready to enjoy your French Onion Soup:

  1. Remove 2 servings from freezer and place in a microwave dish with 2 tbsp. sherry; heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add half of the Parmesan cheese to your onion soup bowl. Place one slice of toasted bread over the cheese. Fill bowl with soup.
  3. Top with half of the shredded Gruyere cheese and Enjoy!


Source: www.healthycastle.com