Reaping the Benefits of Gardening Your Own Onions

Reaping the Benefits of Gardening Your Own Onions

Onions have great nutritional value and are a perfect addition to so many of your favorite lunch, dinner, salads, and side dish recipes. Onions can be stored in a cool dark area of the kitchen for several weeks, though they should not be stored with potatoes.

If you like vegetable gardening, then onions is a great addition as they are easy to grow.

Planting Onions

planting onionsYou can plant onions as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, which for most areas  it can be late March or April (make sure the temperatures are not dropping below 20 degrees F).

Plant the onions sets 1 inch deep, with about 4 to 5 inches between each plant, depending on the size of the onion when mature, and in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.

Meet the Allium Family

The Allium family of vegetables includes the onions, scallions (green onions), chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic. The onion along with its cousin the garlic are grown and used both for medicinal properties and for cooking.

The Rainbow of Onions

There are many types and colors of onions. There are the smaller green onions, yellow onions, purple onions, red onions, white onions.

Depending on the color of the onion, they can have a sweet flavor or can have a spicy, pungent, and sharp flavor.

The Health Benefits

Onion bulb with green leaves and rootsOnions are so ubiquitous in cooking that it is hard to remember that they also have medicinal properties. The health benefits of onions include:

  • High in fiber, help with digestion and do not spike blood glucose
  • They have about 15 grams of plant carbohydrates per onion and no raw sugar.
  • Onions have no fat
  • Onions contain no cholesterol
  • Their mineral content includes iron, folate, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium
  • Onions are high in antioxidants, including sulfur and quercetin
  • Help to improve emotional wellbeing, and are healthy for your hair and skin
  • Reduce colon cancer risk
  • Onions can help fight obesity
  • Any onion because of its nutritional content can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes heart disease, and diabetes

Now let us examine in more detail some of the onions health benefits.

The Onion – Your Allie Against Cancer

It is the sulfur compounds of onions help reduce the risk of several different cancers. They inhibit cancer through several different methods. They can prevent oxygen free radical formation by being a potent antioxidant.

Animal and human studies have shown that all the Allium family of vegetables inhibit tumor growth and reduce the risk of stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and prostate cancer.

The sulfur compounds can help block the growth of tumors and can prevent normal cells from mutating into cancer cells.

Antioxidants

Onions are rich in the antioxidant vitamin-C, which is important for cellular health as it can help stop the cascade of oxygen free radicals that are a by-product of cellular metabolism. Oxygen free radicals can damage or compromise the cell wall structure if they are not, neutralized by an antioxidant.

Your skin, bones, and ligaments, all rely on the vitamin-C, which helps to make collagen and maintain its health. Use vitamin-C rich onions in your salads or other dishes for the best in connective tissue health.

Folate for Mood and Sleep

Onions have a beneficial effect on your mood and sleep, as onions are rich in folate. This B-vitamin has shown to reduce the risk of depression by Eating fresh onions from your garden decreasing homocysteine levels in the body. High levels homocysteine has shown to conflict with the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, all of which are essential for emotional wellbeing.

Onions have the most nutrition in them, when freshly harvested, and you cannot really say that about the onions you purchase at the market.

This means it is best to start your own organic garden, incorporating a row of onions you can pick all season long.

 

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The Agitators of Good Food

The Agitators of Good Food

A blender or a food processor, even a Magic Bullet or the Ninja Kitchen Blender, are all kitchen aids known to blend or process food ingredients together. They could also be describe as agitators. Is this what we are referring to by the theme of this post? That they are the agitators of good food? Far from it.

The agitators we want to talk about are those that are mixed with spices and herbs to enhance their flavors.

Spices and herbs can enhance any dish from sweet to savory, but it is the agitators which must be used in conjunction with them to have any real effect. What are those agitators? Salt is one of them, but so is vinegar, citric acid and sugar. Sugar by the way is more popular with baking, but has a place at times in cooking.

Zest of lemons and oranges can also be used as an agitator in accompanying some of the spices and herbs to enhance flavor. Lemon zest, or the grated rind, is a popular flavoring for baked goods and desserts as well as in savory dishes, such as meats and sauces.

grating lemon zestThe rind holds the lemon oil, and adds exciting taste. After you have squeezed a lemon for its juice, don’t toss out the rinds, freeze them and use them for zest in anything from desserts, vinaigrette, and vegetable side dishes. Frozen citrus rinds graded for zest are as fresh as a fresh lemon or orange.

Lemon juice can replace or compliment vinegar in salad dressings, or to marinate and tenderize meat, poultry or fish.

Here are some seasonings without salt but have another agitator that can be used in some of our favorite recipes. See if you can guess the agitator being used in them.

Taco Seasoning: chili powder, domestic paprika, granulated onion, cumin, granulated garlic, Mexican oregano, brown sugar, black pepper medium, & cayenne pepper (the agitator is brown sugar).

Garlic Herb Seasoning: sesame seeds, black pepper, garlic powder, green onion, lemon zest and citric acid (the agitators are the zest and citric acid). Citric acid is sold packaged in powder form, and can be purchased at any health food store.

Italian Seasoning:  oregano, red pepper flakes, sweet basil, garlic flakes, parsley flakes.

In the Italian seasoning there is no agitator used. Do we add salt, then? No, but if you add it to spaghetti sauce which has tomatoes in it, then you have your agitator. Tomatoes have citric acid in them.

Pizza Seasoning - The Agitators of Good Food

Pizza Seasoning

Pizza seasoning: oregano, basil, garlic, onion, thyme, fennel seed, red bell pepper, crushed red pepper, parsley and marjoram.

As you can see, there is no agitator used. What does pizza have as part of it ingredients? Tomato sauce, which has citric acid, the agitator.

When using salt as your agitator, use Himalayan salt. Not only will you get a boost of trace minerals in the meal, but you can also use less salt than you would if using table salt.

 

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Peach Mango Salsa

 

Peach Mango Salsa

 

Are you excited about salsas like we are here at Splendid Recipes and More? If you don’t like tomatoes, this salsa’s for you.

If you’ve never made such a salsa, Peach Mango Salsa, then your in for a treat. But maybe your thinking, “This looks good, but I’ll stick with my favorite store bought Peach Mango Salsa.” OK will you do that, but look what’s in that store bought salsa:

Tomatoes, Mango, Water Filtered, Peppers, Chilies and Peppers, Onions, Cane Juice Evaporated, Tomatoes Puree, Peaches, Cilantro, Vinegar Red Wine, Salt, Lemon Juice, Spices, Citric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Erythorbate, Xanthan Gum.

Did you notice I high-lighted the last four ingredients? Will that’s not in our Peach Mango Salsa.

Here is what you will need:

2 medium peaches, peeled, de-seed, chopped

1 large mango, peeled, de-seed, chopped

½ cup green onions, diced (about 3 scallions)

½ red bell pepper, diced

1 Serrano pepper, de-seed, minced

½ cup cilantro, chopped

½ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. lime juice or ¼ of a lime

If your not sure on how to cut a mango, we added this video from – Special Fork Videos – to show you how.

Prepare the peaches and mango and place them into a medium mixing bowl along with the diced onion and bell pepper. Do not mix. Next add the Serrano pepper and chopped cilantro, again do not mix.

Together add salt, sugar and lime juice. Now stir the mixture until well incorporated.

Let mixture set for 15 minutes at room temperature for flavors to infuse, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

This salsa keeps in a mason jar, for 4-5 days in the fridge, or can be frozen for later use. If you use plastic to store the salsa, it will be fresh for just about 2 days.

Serve the salsa with white or yellow corn chips, grilled chicken, grilled fish or any Mexican meal (Link here for some ideas from our blog).

 

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