Onion Email Myth

Wyattt & Onion-garlicThere is an email floating around the Internet stating that when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the victim last ate onions. The email states, “Onions are a magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions.”

Just like other foods with outer layers, like potatoes and eggs, onions may be contaminated once the protection of the outer skin has been removed.

The email further states, “You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion.”

It’s a good idea to freeze any unused portion of an onion, but it isn’t a “magnet for bacteria,” any more than an apple or a carrot.

When I use only a part of an onion, I slice the entire onion and place the unused portion in a baggie and freeze. The next time I need a sliced onion, I pop the frozen sliced onion out of the baggie into a pan and sauté for casseroles, soups and stews.

Wyatt is holding a cook’s best friends: a head of garlic and an onion.

Storing Onions
Onions should be firm and free of bruises or soft spots with thin, papery skins. Onions like cool, but not cold temperatures with relatively low, humidity. Refrigeration is not normally recommended. A basement or fruit cellar is an ideal place to store onions. The skin will often have a brittle, papery feel. If the onions show signs of sprouting, cut away the sprouts and use immediately. Never store onions near apples (or most fruit), as apples produce high levels of ethylene that causes onions (and veggies) to spoil more quickly.

Ways to Avoid Tears
The surface of a cut onion is acidic due to the production of sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid is what makes your eyes water. Following are four ways to avoid tears when cutting an onion.
1. Make sure the knife you use is sharp so that it will chop quickly, minimizing tears.
2. Place the onion in the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to chopping, some say chilling helps prevent tearing. Or place one in the freezer for 5 minutes before chopping.
3. Cut from the top and peel down without trimming off the root or the bottom end until the last possible moment. There is a theory that most of the tear-causing compounds are stored in the root end of the onion, and that may explain why chopping the root end last, helps to minimize watery eyes.
4. Use a food processor.

(I make my own dog food. Onions should never be given to dogs. Their stomachs cannot metabolize them.)


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One thought on “Onion Email Myth

  1. Gem says:

    When I need some cooked, chopped onion, I chop the entire onion, saute it, then take what I need, use that and freeze the rest. That way I avoid the wateriness you get sometimes when sauteeing frozen chopped onion.

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