I decided to explore more on the subject of Onions because if you lived in the Nordic region during the 19 century, then at this time of the year (spring) there would be abundant supply of onions left in the cellar storage. Onions keep well if the storage area is not too moist for mold to grow. They are naturally well packaged with layer upon layer, and also the dry outer layer, sealing the core from intruders. They are a robust root vegetable from the Allium family, similar to the leeks and garlic.
Onions are known to have originated from the Asian region, and transported to Greece and Egypt.
There are ancient drawings and hieroglyphics using onion symbols in Egypt, they were also used as medicine to cure ailments, virus, sickness and disease.
Onions were given high regard in many different ethnic cuisines. In ancient Rome it was very popular, also in Turkey-Constantinople it was prepared for gough ailments, a concoction was boiled using: leeks, sugar and honey.
In Scandinavia Onions is also used to describe an older wise person of the family, as the onion of the family.
In Iceland there is the Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems, that give high regard to onions. In Norway the expresion of joy with in the community, is referred to as the onion of the community. In Finland some of the earliest house hold recipe books record the use of onions in the 18 century.
In India the Brahmins taught that if one want’s to get wise, they should eat more of onions, and in Tibet they were taught to eat garlic as a preventative against cancer, and to chew garlic would cure any gum infections. The nutrition value of an onion; Vitamin A, C, Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, calories 60/150g, and also fibre.
When growing onions it is important to change the seed stock every 4 years, to avoid stock loss through vegetable disease, onion fly, fungi and molds.
Onions were consumed raw in salads, they were used in soups and sauces, they were used in the stuffing of game meat and game birds. Some of the most popular use of raw onions in the Nordic region of Finland was the mushroom salad and the Baltic herring salad. Also the ever popular Gravelax salmon (salt cured salmon) onion was a popular condiment, raw onions and cured salmon on rye bread.
To see pictures of onions at a local farmers market, click on the link below.