Slices of red onions overlaid with text "Onions, nothing to cry about"

Onions: Nothing to Cry About, Really!

Where would we be without onions? For that matter, where would our family cookbooks be without onions as a key ingredient for homemade appetizers, entrees and side dishes?

Stuffed onions, creamed onions, onion soup, onion rings. About the only recipes I can think of without onions are dessert recipes – and I’m sure there probably are sweet onion desserts out there somewhere.

Historians say onions were first used in China, India and Egypt, and many of these cultures used onions as medicinal ingredients.

Onion as healer

You don’t hear much about onion tea, but I found an onion tea recipe in an old cookbook as a remedy for colds and coughing.

(The recipe suggested sugar and lemon, but I think a little chicken broth would be more palatable!)

Onions are obviously crunchy, strong-flavored and versatile, but did you know they’re a fairly good source of Vitamin C? Maybe that’s the secret for their curing properties!

How to avoid crying when chopping onions

Some onions are stronger smelling than others – especially the small ones. I bet you’ve experienced stinging eyes more than once while chopping or slicing the little darlings.

Here are some ideas I’ve used for avoiding the crying reflex when handling onions:

  • Chill the onion
  • Put on your glasses/sunglasses and wrap damp paper towels around the edges
  • Hold your breath
  • Chop/slice fast with a very sharp knife
  • Stand away from the onion while cutting so the fumes don’t rise into your face

If you do find yourself starting to cry while you’re chopping, try running your wrists under cold water. I don’t know why it works to stop you crying but it seems to!

If you want to learn more about onions check out The Cooks Thesaurus

or watch an excellent video from

Okay, time for a breath mint.

Happy cookbooking


About Erin Miller

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Posted in Odds and Ends.

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