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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

We are supposed to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as recommended by
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You can’t concentrate or your tummy is rumbling. Many people grab the simplest solution – a

Onions add flavour and they’re good for you

For most people, cooking without onions is unthinkable. Mostly it’s the glossy brown onion with the sharp, savoury flavour. But there are also big, mild white onions, colourful red onions, spicy shallots and attractive green spring onions.

Which onions for which dishes

Brown onions are ideal for sauces and gravies to serve with fish, meat and strong-flavoured vegetables. They add flavour and texture to quiches and omelettes. Then there are the large white onions which taste milder and are delicious stuffed – with spicy mince, with flavoured ricotta, with couscous or rice. Their size makes them the onion of choice for classic dishes like onion soup or onion tarts.

Red onions taste mildly hot and slightly sweet. They look and taste good in salads, but also in soups, marinades and sauces. Or what about red onion tart? Shallots are full of flavour, but not too peppery. They’re the ones to use in gourmet sauces and sauces eaten cold. Finally there are spring onions with their long green fronds that look and taste so good in a stir fry. But they’re also right for salads and dips. Small white pickling onions are sometimes available and they’re the ones to pounce on if homemade pickled onions are your passion. 

Can you avoid tears when cutting onions?

All members of the Allium family, including onions, are good for you. Onions are a source of vitamin C, folic acid, iron and calcium. And they have a very low calorie count. Their aroma is due to their high content of essential oils, which stimulate appetite and have an antibacterial effect. A lot of people find themselves weeping freely as they slice onions. What happens is that cutting destroys cells in the onion releasing an enzyme which then comes into contact with a sulphur-containing amino acid in the cell walls of the onion and produces a gas which attacks the mucous membrane in your eyes, making your eyes water. You can reduce the reaction by dipping your knife, your cutting board and the onion you plan to chop briefly in water. 

Quality and storing

Fresh onions are firm, round and dry – without green shoots or soggy dark spots. Fresh spring onions look fresh with juicy green leaves. Onions need to be stored in a cool, dark place that’s well-ventilated (not in plastic bags or boxes). Properly stored, brown onions will last up to six months, white ones for several weeks. It’s best to store red onions and spring onions in the vegetable drawer of the fridge and to use them up within a week.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de