What Makes Onions So Flavorful?

Onions. They are the king of the United Federation of Flavor — the mascot that says to cooks and eaters everywhere, “Welcome to flavor city.” They also pack a potent punch if they aren’t processed correctly (and even when they are). 

What gives these vital veggies their signature tastes and smells? And how can you get the best of their flavor? Let’s dive in.

The Secret to Flavor? Science.

Think about an onion. What does it taste like? What does it smell like? Here’s the thing: Whatever you answered, you’re probably right. 

Onions come in hundreds of varieties. They can be sweet or sour, soft or crisp, tangy or dripping with umami. The intensity of an onion’s smell and flavor also depends on its freshness. If you’ve ever picked an onion fresh out of the soil, you may have been surprised to find it didn’t have a smell. So, what is going on? 

Onions have a unique chemistry with molecules that contain a whole lot of sulphuric compounds. Sulphur is responsible for those pesky tears that pop up anytime you chop an onion, but it is also responsible for flavor and odor. The scientific name for this group of compounds is thiosulfinates. 

But here’s the really interesting thing. A fresh, raw onion doesn’t have these molecules. They form after an onion is damaged, like when you chop, slice, or dice. Cutting an onion breaks up cell structure and releases the molecules. Enzymes come into contact with the molecules and create the thiosulfinates and their characteristically strong smell, all in 30 seconds or less.

How intense the smell and flavor of your onion is depends on its variety, or cultivar, and how much sulfur was in the soil. Spring onions harvested in the early spring tend to be more mild, while storage onions harvested in the late summer and early fall tend to be more pungent.

How Does Cooking Affect Onion Flavor?

How you prepare onions will affect the flavor. Since slicing and dicing releases the odor and flavor, the more finely you chop an onion, the more flavorful it will be. On the other hand, a process like boiling an onion will break down the enzymes that spur the chemical reactions creating a less pungent flavor. 

Different levels of heat can control levels of flavor. Heat spurs a range of chemical reactions that all interact with the fundamental make-up of the onion. The longer the cooking time, the more mild and savory an onion becomes. 

Caramelizing or sauteing onions on low or moderate heat causes a reaction between the sugars and the proteins. The onions turn brown, the sugars come free, and the sulphuric compounds react over and over until the pungent flavor is gone and the sweet sugar flavor remains. 

The Gills Onions Promise

At Gills Onions, we are dedicated to creating onions that stay fresh longer and have the best flavor you can find. From the seeds we grow to the soil we grow them in to the way we slice and dice the onions, to the packaging we use to keep them safe until they arrive in your kitchen, flavor is always top of mind. 

We hope you enjoy them.

Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.

Preparing a Generation for Sustainable Ag: How to Talk to Your Children

At Gills Onions, so much of what we do and how we do it is because we are thinking about future generations. We employ sustainable farming practices and strive to minimize our impact on the environment. But we realize that some of the most important work for the rising generation is done by parents in their homes. 

Talking to children about where their food and clothing comes from and the importance of sustainable agriculture is essential. When a child appreciates the role of agriculture in their everyday life, they are more conscientious about their own impact on our earth and want to share what they’ve learned with others. That is the basis of true change. 

How do you talk to your children about agriculture and sustainability? How can you help them gain an appreciation and respect for this essential industry? Here are a few ideas. 

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

Behind every piece of food you eat is a farmer. Farmers are also responsible for many of the clothes you wear, the carpets you walk on, the bedding you sleep with, and even the bandages you use when you’re injured. Agriculture keeps us alive, but farmers are one of the most forgotten groups of essential workers in our country. 

Starting a conversation on this important topic is simple. You may try asking your children, “Do you know where your food comes from?” or “We bought this onion at the store, but do you know where it came from before that?” 

Remember that a simple explanation is always best. Allow your children to lead the conversation and ask questions. Be honest and open, and if you don’t know the answer, say, “Let’s learn about it together.”

Fun Ideas for Learning About Agriculture

If you think agriculture is boring, think again! There are so many fun activities you can do with your children to learn more about farming, sustainability, and caring for our earth’s precious resources. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Go to the library and check out books about farming and agriculture. 
  • Look up your child’s favorite fruit or vegetable online and learn about how it grows and how it is harvested and brought from the farm to your table. 
  • Grow your own garden. You can even begin with a single potted plant in your windowsill. Teach children the basics of growing. 
  • Visit a local farm and learn firsthand from a real life farmer. 
  • Spend time on YouTube watching videos on growing and harvest crops (we use some pretty cool heavy machinery). You can even take virtual farm tours.
  • Conduct farming experiments. Expose plants to different nutrients and stimuli and observe how they react. 
  • Join a local farming co-op to try new vegetables directly from local farmers. 
  • Have children help plan family meals and shop for ingredients. 
  • Visit a farmer’s market and talk to the farmers about their goods. 
  • Visit a local pick-your-own fruits and vegetables farm. 

Healthy Habits Start with Food Appreciation

Obesity now affects 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the US. Part of encouraging children to develop a healthy relationship with food is being grateful for the food we eat. As children are exposed to a variety of fresh foods and are excited about trying new fruits and vegetables, they will develop healthy habits and positive associations with what they eat. 

And, as children think about caring and nurturing for the plants and animals that feed us, they will also think about sustainable ways to care for our planet and preserve it for their own children. 
We’re excited to partner with you as you delve into the exciting world of agriculture. Visit our blog for more ideas and information, and start by getting to know our farmers, Steve and David Gill.

Fighting Food Deserts with Value-Added Produce

The world population is projected to reach 10 billion by 2050. That’s a lot of hungry people to feed. And today, we aren’t succeeding. An estimated 815 million people around the globe are suffering from hunger. In order to feed the world’s growing population, agricultural production will need to increase by 60% over the next 30 years. 

But having food available isn’t enough. We need to be able to get that fresh produce to the people who need it. Currently, about 23.5 million Americans live in food deserts — locations where access to affordable, healthy food is difficult because grocery stores are too far away. Nearly half of those people are also low-income, and scarcity of product drives up the price. 

How do we end food deserts and feed our nation? Value-added products are an essential part of the strategy.

What Is a Food Desert?

Food deserts can sound like an unbelievable thing. How is it possible that in a modern world with so many items at our fingertips, families don’t have access to fresh, healthy foods? It’s a more common problem than you think. For example, 2.3 million people in the US live in rural areas that are more than 10 miles from a grocery store

Urban areas aren’t exempt, either. Grocery chains typically don’t build stores in poor neighborhoods, and lower income households are less likely to own cars. Lack of transportation makes shopping more than a few blocks away nearly impossible, so families make do with what’s easily accessed — corner stores that sell processed items and fast food restaurants.

Without easy access to fresh foods, people are more likely to make unhealthy choices and eat an unbalanced diet. This leads to health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In Chicago, the death rate from diabetes in a food desert is twice as high as areas with easy access to larger stores with affordable produce.

Value-Added Produce Can Make Real Change

Value-added products are just that — products that add value beyond traditional options. In the world of fresh produce, value-added products are designed to save consumers time, make foods more readily available, and be attractive to retailers with easy store packaging. 

For example, a gas station or corner store may not have the facilities or floor space to stock and sell individual or bulk apples, but pre-sliced apples in individual bags and containers can be a more efficient option. The apples haven’t lost any of their nutritional value by being pre-sliced and packaged, but they are easier for the retailer to sell and easier for buyers to consume. Busy people don’t have to stop to slice and prep their apples. Instead, they grab and go. 

Gills Onions: Experts at Value-Added

At Gills Onions, we are proud to contribute these value-added products to the marketplace:

  • Diced Yellow Onions
  • Diced Red Onions
  • Diced Celery and Onions
  • Diced Mirepoix (a mix of onions, carrots, and celery)
  • Diced Pickled Onions

We pack our retail products in 8 to 10  oz., BPA-free, recyclable clear cups with reusable lids. Our packaging locks in freshness and is easy for retailers to store and display. It’s also easy for buyers to transport to their homes. 

When you’re ready to prepare your meal, there’s no need to wash and chop vegetables. Instead, fresh, healthy food is at your fingertips. We currently serve retail grocers throughout the state of California. As we extend our reach nationwide, we hope to share our best-in-the-industry produce with more and more people, working to eliminate food deserts and bring fresh vegetables to every table.

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department. 

Are You Ready to Air Fry?

The COVID-19 pandemic created more time spent at home and more time spent in the kitchen. As many families grew tired of their go-to recipes, they began to expand their horizons to new foods and new methods of preparation. The star of the show? Air frying. 

“How to air fry …” was a top Google search in 2020 and continues to be high on the charts into 2021. The term has over 1 million hashtags, and social media can’t get enough of fryer hacks and fryer friendly foods. Air frying is even a clever — and tasty — way to prepare vegetables (like onions!). If you haven’t joined the air frying revolution, here’s what you need to know.

The mechanics of air frying

The first thing you need to know about air fryers is that they don’t actually fry things. Unlike deep fryers that cook food in hot oil, an air fryer cooks food with very hot air. Once you place your food in the frying basket, the machine blows hot air to create a convection cooking effect that browns the food. The crunchy texture is similar to what you would achieve by deep frying.

Cutting the oil out of the process makes it a slightly healthier —and much easier — way to prepare food. 

What can you air fry?

Unlike a deep fryer, you can’t cook foods that you have dipped in a thick liquid batter in an air fryer. Remember, it’s a great way to cook but isn’t really frying. Breaded and dry-seasoned items turn out best after an air frying treatment. Air fryers are also great for reheating previously fried foods. No more soggy microwave-reheated pizza, fries, or chicken tenders. 

Now, let’s talk about vegetables. You can fry virtually any vegetable in an air fryer. Air fried vegetables are warm, crispy, and delicious. Experimenting with spices and seasonings can make eating vegetables fun again. And you know what veggie cooks especially well? Onions!

Onions are a versatile vegetable. In an air fryer, they can be french fried, sautéed, or turned into onion rings. Don’t forget one of the world’s favorite and most beautiful fried onion dishes: the blooming onion

Are you ready to air fry?

So, should you be the next one in line to buy an air fryer? That’s up to you. If you’re interested in experimenting with new ways to prepare your foods, a healthier alternative to traditional deep frying, or just a convenient way to cook your vegetables, an air fryer may be the perfect choice for you. 

Will it air fry? There’s one way to find out. (And remember, with onions, the answer is yes!)

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department. 

What is Keto, and Is It Right for You?

Here at Gills Onions, we know the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. For us, onions are a superfood and make a great addition to any diet plan.

One diet that has been growing in popularity over the past few years is the ketogenic diet. While several food groups are restricted or off-limits with this diet plan, onions are definitely on the table. Let’s take a quick look at the ketogenic lifestyle, what it entails, and its various pros and cons. 

BEFORE MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR DIET, PLEASE CONSULT A DOCTOR AND/OR A REGISTERED DIETICIAN

Origin: What is Keto?

The ketogenic diet first originated in the early 20th century as a way to help children suffering from epilepsy. Today, the ketogenic diet, Keto for short, has exploded as one of the most popular ways to lose weight. Practicing Keto involves limiting carbs to five percent of your caloric intake and increasing fat to seventy-five percent and protein to twenty percent. This combination, when followed for an extended period of time, triggers ketosis in the body. 

Benefits

By entering a state of ketosis, your body will begin to burn fat, rather than carbohydrates, which can lead to weight loss. People who follow Keto report feeling less hungry in comparison to other restrictive diets, because fat typically takes longer to break down.

Drawbacks

Keto is not a “quick fix” diet by any means. In order to see sustained weight loss, it can take weeks for your body to actually enter ketosis. People following this plan must then continue to adhere to the strict 75/20/5 ratios of fat, protein, and carbs. By limiting so many foods, participants often experience burnout after a while. 

Following this diet for long periods of time can also result in a variety of health issues including nutrient deficiencies, constipation, kidney problems, and the development of eating disorders. 

Should You Consider Keto?

The ketogenic lifestyle is not for everyone. Some people have success losing weight with this diet long term, while others report gaining any lost weight back after stopping Keto. You should consult your doctor before trying Keto, especially if you have any underlying health issues or pre-existing conditions. 

Is It Sustainable?

For most, Keto is not a sustainable diet long-term. However, the practice of monitoring your carbohydrate intake can be a helpful tool in regulating glucose levels over time. 

Tips for Dining At a Restaurant or While Travelling 

If you decide to try Keto, sticking to a restrictive diet can be tricky when you’re at a restaurant or on the go. Some common tricks and tips include:

  • Customize your side dishes at a restaurant to include only low-carb vegetables like onions, mushrooms, and broccoli
  • Request a cheese and nut platter when on airplanes to curb your hunger
  • Substitute dessert for unsweetened coffee or tea with heavy cream
  • Bring a variety of your favorite nuts to snack on during road trips or hotel stays

What Area of the Grocery Store to Shop In

Stick to the external aisles in the grocery store when following a Keto diet. You’ll notice you can find almost everything you need in fresh produce, meats, and dairy products, but be sure to take a special trip down the nuts/seeds and oils aisles.

Common Food Alternatives

  • Cauliflower rice and pizza crust 
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Sugar-free tomato sauce
  • Bell pepper halves or avocado halves as sandwich “buns”

Recipes

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

  • Beat 1 to 2 eggs
  • Blend almonds and spices in a food processor to create a “flour” 
  • Cover cauliflower pieces with egg and “flour” and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes
  • Mix baked cauliflower with prepared buffalo sauce until coated
  • Enjoy with blue cheese or ranch dressing, and a side of sliced carrots and celery

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombs

  • Combine a block of cream cheese, 1½ cups unsweetened peanut butter, 1 cup coconut flour, ¼ cup Keto brown sugar substitute, and a dash of vanilla extract and salt in a bowl
  • Form the mixture into balls and freeze for one hour
  • Melt Keto-friendly dark chocolate with coconut oil, drizzle over formed balls, then freeze for another 10 minutes
  • Devour!

If you decide to try out the ketogenic diet, be sure to include plenty of Gills Onions in your meals. Onions are packed with nutrients, are low carb, and add delicious flavor.

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department

Need a New Year’s Resolution? Try These Wellness Challenges

As the new year rolls around, it’s in our nature to assess what we’ve accomplished and make goals for the future. For many, including our staff here at Gills, that means making resolutions around healthy diet and exercise. 

If you’re looking for a reset button this January, you might want to try out Whole30 or the 75 Hard challenge. Both allow for plenty of onion-filled recipes, which we love.

BEFORE MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR DIET, PLEASE CONSULT A DOCTOR AND/OR A REGISTERED DIETICIAN

Origin

Whole30 was introduced in 2009 by sports nutritionists Melissa and Dallas Hartwig to decrease inflammation. Similar to the Paleo diet, Whole30 is low carb and low sugar, and eliminates dairy, alcohol, legumes, and processed additives. Participants follow these strict guidelines for 30 days straight and then slowly reintroduce off-limits foods one by one. 

75 Hard was created in 2019 by podcaster Andy Frisella as a way to get in shape and challenge himself. As lockdowns and quarantine became the norm in 2020, this trend went viral on TikTok. The 75 Hard challenge is less about diet, and more about “building mental toughness.” For 75 days, participants follow any diet of their choosing (no alcohol), drink a gallon of water a day, workout twice a day, take a progress picture, and read 10 pages of nonfiction per day.

Benefits

Giving a diet or wellness challenge a specified period of time often makes participants feel empowered to work toward their goals. 

Participants of Whole30 report feeling more energized, losing weight, and discovering food sensitivities. 

People who try 75 Hard benefit from more regular exercise, hydration, and building positive habits. 

Drawbacks

Because Whole30 is so restrictive, it can lead to disordered eating behaviors like bingeing and certain nutrient deficiencies over time. 

With 75 Hard, a huge emphasis is placed on physical appearance, which can be mentally harmful and lead to unhealthy behaviors like under-eating and over exercising.

Should You Consider a Wellness Challenge?

If you’re someone who loves the thrill of pushing yourself to see results, these challenges could be right for you. 

Is It Sustainable?

Because both of these challenges are for specific time frames, neither one is sustainable long-term. However, the goal for Whole30 and 75 Hard participants is to develop lifelong habits like regular exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables (like onions!), and practicing self-care.

Tips for Dining At a Restaurant or While Travelling

Whole30: If you plan on eating out during a Whole30 challenge, find food items that fit the program like lean protein, leafy greens, potatoes, and seafood. Keep Whole30-friendly snacks like mixed nuts on-hand just in case.

75 Hard: While travelling on 75 Hard, the most important thing to keep in mind is making time for your 90 minutes of exercise. You may need to wake up early or stay up a little later in order to stay on track.

What Area of the Grocery Store to Shop In

During Whole30 you’ll want to avoid the center-aisles of the grocery store (alcohol, sweets, grains, etc.) as much as possible. Stick to the outside aisles for staples like fresh produce, meat, and eggs. 

Common Food Alternatives

It’s important to get creative on Whole30 to avoid early burnout. Here are a few suggestions to try in place of off-limit foods.

  • Almond milk instead of regular milk
  • Nutritional yeast instead of cheese
  • Potatoes instead of rice
  • Poke instead of sushi

Recipes

Sweet Potato Hash

This dish works great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Start by peeling, cubing, and baking 1 or 2 sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Next, scramble some eggs in a skillet and add fresh vegetables like peppers and diced onions. Combine your scramble with the sweet potatoes in a bowl and top with avocado, sesame seeds, and a little hot sauce.

Almond Butter Berry Smoothie

Since dessert choices are limited on Whole30, try a smoothie to satisfy your sweet tooth. All you need are frozen berries, your non-dairy/non-soy milk of choice, and a tablespoon or two of almond butter. Throw in some spinach or chia seeds too for added nutritional value.

If you decide to try Whole30 or the 75 Hard challenge, remember to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods like onions to keep your body healthy and happy. And don’t get too hard on yourself if you don’t make it the full 30 or 75 days. You’re a winner in our book just for trying!

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department

Kick off a New Year with the Mediterranean Diet

Picture yourself in a villa in Sicily. As the warm sea breeze blows through your hair, you enjoy a meal of baked eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella, all doused in olive oil over whole grain toast. You take a sip of red wine and sigh happily. La vita è bella.

Your everyday life might not look exactly like this … but it can come close, at least dietary-wise, with the Mediterranean diet. This food plan is based on the cuisine of the Mediterranean area and is rich in vegetables like onions—our favorite.

BEFORE MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR DIET, PLEASE CONSULT A DOCTOR AND/OR A REGISTERED DIETICIAN

Origin

The Mediterranean Diet was created in the 1950s by a scientist who noticed that less-affluent people living in southern Italy had a lower risk for heart disease than Americans living in New York. He attributed their heart health to diet and introduced a meal plan inspired by the food eaten by the locals. 

The list of approved foods includes: 

  • Fruits and vegetables 
  • Potatoes 
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine 

Things like Greek yogurt, cheese, and eggs are also allowed, but in moderation. And like most diets, participants should avoid foods that are processed or high in sugar. 

Benefits

Aside from the possibility of losing weight, the Mediterranean diet has various health benefits. According to research studies, the Mediterranean diet may decrease your likelihood of cardiovascular disease significantly and can even improve sleep!

Drawbacks

The Mediterranean diet does include a high percentage of calories from fat, which can be a deterrent for some people. It can also be difficult to maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that aren’t always in season in the US.

Should You Consider the Mediterranean Diet?

If you’re looking to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, but still want to be able to eat things like dairy and grains, the Mediterranean diet might be a good fit. 

Is It Sustainable?

As with any diet that restricts specific foods, the Mediterranean diet can be difficult to maintain long-term. However, because there is no “limit” to the amount of approved foods, many people find this freeing and are able to sustain a Mediterranean diet for long periods of time.

Tips for Dining At a Restaurant or While Travelling 

If you don’t live in the Mediterranean, finding foods that work with this plan while on the go can be a little tricky. If you’re travelling, bring along nuts, veggies, and whole grain snacks to tide you over. Here are a few tips for restaurants:

  • Order seafood as your main dish whenever possible
  • Ask for olive oil to dress your salad
  • Look for gluten-free options on the menu (although you’re allowed whole grains, this is a good way to avoid refined grains when eating out)
  • Opt for fruit and yogurt for dessert

What Area of the Grocery Store to Shop In

Like most diets, the outer aisles of the grocery store are your greatest ally with the Mediterranean diet. However, you’ll also want to visit inner aisles for beans and other legumes, whole grains, and olive oil.

Common Food Alternatives

Luckily, the Mediterranean diet isn’t too restrictive, but there are certain foods you’ll want to choose in place of what you might be used to. For example:

  • Olive oil instead of butter 
  • Olive oil instead of other salad dressings
  • Whole grain pasta and rice instead of white 
  • Natural sugar substitutes

Recipes

Greek Salad

Greek salad is flavorful, satisfying, and packed with delicious vegetables. This recipe calls for tomatoes, Gills diced red onion, cucumbers, bell peppers, Kalamata olives, avocado, and feta cheese. Simply combine all ingredients, and top with a homemade dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and other seasonings. 

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake

This recipe uses almond flour, polenta, lemon zest, eggs, and butter (or substitute olive oil) to create a dense and delicious low-sugar dessert. Top with a lemon glaze, or serve warm with Greek yogurt and honey, and enjoy. 

Wherever you live, the Mediterranean diet can be a great exercise in adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, while avoiding processed foods. You may not be in Sicily, but your palate may think it is. 

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department

Flexible Dieting: What Is It, and Is It Right for You?

We believe onions are a superfood that fit into any healthy lifestyle. If your goal is to lose weight, you need a diet of nutrient-dense foods like onions, fruits, and other veggies, while maintaining a calorie deficit. One way to achieve all of this is by practicing flexible dieting.

Flexible dieting, or counting macros, is a fairly simple way to lose weight. But all diets come with pros and cons, so let’s take a closer look at this lifestyle. 

BEFORE MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR DIET, PLEASE CONSULT A DOCTOR AND/OR A REGISTERED DIETICIAN.

Origin

Flexible dieting revolves around counting macros, which became popular around 2016. If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), created by bodybuilder Anthony Collova, was the first big movement to explore counting macronutrients rather than counting calories. IIFYM involves looking at the protein, carbohydrates, and fat in each food, and finding a balance that fits your specific body. 

Once you figure out how many grams of each macronutrient you need to eat per day in order to lose weight, the IIFYM claim to fame is that you can eat ANYTHING! According to IIFYM, “no foods are off-limits” as long as you stay within your allotted allowance of macros. 

Benefits

Many people feel more freedom with flexible dieting and see results sooner. Because of the precise tracking of food, participants are able to manage weight loss in a more predictable way. This diet is also very popular among bodybuilders, because the body is able to retain more muscle and shed fat while tracking macros. 

Drawbacks

Flexible dieting can feel like a lot of work for many people. From calculating your exact macro numbers, to finding the nutritional info in all of your food, it can seem overwhelming at first. IIFYM also recommends participants buy a food scale to get precise measurements, adding an additional step to meal prep. 

After a while, counting the macros of everything you eat can become tedious and tiring. And overanalyzing foods can lead to obsessive eating habits, making what was once a flexible option into a rigorous daily ritual.

Should You Consider Flexible Dieting?

If you’re looking to see results sooner rather than later, and don’t want to cut out any food groups, flexible dieting may be a good choice for you. As always, consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. 

Is It Sustainable?

While some people find counting macros excessive, others have great success and begin to memorize macros, falling into a sustainable rhythm. 

Tips for Dining At a Restaurant or While Travelling

As with any diet, counting macros can be tricky away from home. Many restaurants are able to provide a list of nutritional information, which is especially helpful with flexible dieting. If no nutrition info is available, choose items you’re familiar with. For example, if you often eat a grilled chicken salad at home, you can probably guess the macros of a similar dish when eating out. 

For airplane rides and road trips, meal prep macro-friendly snacks in pre-allocated portions. This way, you know exactly how many macros you’re consuming, rather than mindlessly snacking on a bag of chips or beef jerky. 

What Area of the Grocery Store to Shop In

With flexible dieting, you pretty much have free reign of the grocery store. However, you’ll feel more full and satisfied by sticking to fruits, veggies (like onions of course), whole grains, and lean protein like chicken and beef. You’ll get more out of your macros by choosing healthy options, every time.

Common Food Alternatives

In order to get the most bang for your buck, consider these food alternatives. 

  • Low fat dairy over full fat
  • Corn tortillas over flour
  • 92/8 lean ground beef
  • Spaghetti squash over spaghetti noodles

Recipes

Thin Crust Pizza

Every diet is better when pizza is involved! To make a macro-friendly thin crust pizza, we recommend using fat-free mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and tons of veggies—including diced celery and onion

Dark Chocolate Mousse

This dessert is macro-friendly and so rich, you’ll only need a single serving to be satisfied. To make a simple mousse, melt about 5 ounces of dark chocolate over a double boiler, then combine with freshly whipped cream, three whipped egg whites, and a little bit of sugar.

If you decide to try flexible dieting, remember to include as many nutrient-dense foods like onions into your diet as possible, in order to feel healthy, happy, and energized.

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department

Three Cheers for Onions! Join Gills Onions to Celebrate National Onion Month

June is National Onion Month! It’s time to celebrate all things onions and all the wonderful ways these versatile vegetables make life healthy and delicious. 

At Gills Onions, we couldn’t be prouder to be part of bringing this amazing product to your kitchens. That’s why we’re marking this month by sharing some of our favorite onion facts. We hope they help you appreciate onions as much as we do. 

Centuries of Amazing Onions

Before farming was invented, humans were eating onions. And, once the earliest humans began cultivating crops more than 5,000 years ago, onions were one of the first to be domesticated.

Onions were the perfect crop for early civilizations. Their hardy nature makes them less perishable than other fruits and vegetables. They are also easy to grow, easy to transport, and can be stored or dried to be used in times of scarcity. 

Ancient civilizations used onions not only for food but also for medicine, art, and worship. In Medieval times, onions were sometimes used as currency, rent payments, and even wedding gifts. 

When the first pilgrims arrived in America on the Mayflower, they brought onions, but surprise! Native Americans were already using wild onions for cooking and healing, as a source of dye, and even as toys.  

Americans Can’t Get Enough Onions

Today, onions are the third largest fresh vegetable industry in the United States, with over 125,000 acres of onions planted across the country. The average American eats 20 pounds of onions per year, which means our nation collectively eats over 450 semi-truck loads of onions each day

The onion is used in 93 percent of American dining establishments. It is one of the top menu items for appetizers with popular dishes like onion rings, onion blooms, and French onion soup. 

Hot tip: If you’ve really enjoyed your onions for the evening and are afraid of fragrant breath, freshen up by eating a bit of fresh parsley. 

Onions Are Great for Your Health

They don’t call onions nature’s ninja for nothing. Onions offer countless health benefits to everyone who eats them. 

In fact, the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away could also be said of onions. Like apples, onions contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps delay oxidative damage to cells and tissue. And recent studies at Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands, demonstrate that the body absorbs three times more quercetin from onions than from apples. 

Onions are low in sodium and are fat-free. They are also high in essential nutrients including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Dietary fiber
  • Folic acid
  • Calcium
  • Iron

New research shows that onions may reduce the risk of certain diseases including cancer, gastric ulcers, heart disease, cataracts, and osteoporosis. Their natural ability to reduce inflammation also makes them helpful in treating respiratory illness

Celebrate by Eating an Onion

So, this month when you’re shopping or grabbing take out from your favorite restaurant, reach for the onions. As for Gills Onions, we’ll continue working alongside our fellow US onion growers and wonderful advocates like the National Onion Association to bring this amazing food to consumers like you. 

Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more. 

Enjoy the Value-Add of Gills Diced Celery and Onion

We’re going to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: Gills Onions does more than just onions. 

While onions are our first love, we also find great joy in pairing the world’s best onions with other delicious fresh cut vegetables, like celery. 

Bringing Together the Best of Fresh Veggies 

On the shelves of many local grocers you’ll see a distinctive 6-ounce cup of Gills Diced Celery and Onion. Each cup contains a fairly even mix of diced Gills yellow onion and diced celery produced by our growing partners. 

Unlike the typical, more bitter celery purchased in your produce section, our diced celery is a specially developed sweet variety that pairs perfectly with the flavors of our yellow onion. And like our famous onion crop, it is cultivated from seed, grown, and harvested in the great state of California. 

Still Saving You Time

Like all of our Gills Onions product line, our Diced Celery and Onion comes 100% usable and ready to eat. This value-added product means no more chopping and dicing vegetables in your kitchen, saving you time, eliminating waste, and cutting out the risk of knife injuries. 

And with an 18-day shelf life, there’s no need to use all your diced celery and onion at once. Each cup comes with a lid, making it easy to use what you need and store what you don’t for later, all while taking up less space in your fridge than whole onions or celery bunches. 

How to Use Celery and Onion in Your Dishes

Whether you are using Gills Diced Celery and Onion in your own kitchen or introducing it to the chefs at the restaurants you serve, the possibilities are endless and delicious. 

During the holidays, our pre-cut fresh blend is perfect for stuffing. It can also be used year-round as stuffing ingredients for mushrooms or baked clamshells. 

In the warm weather months, try adding celery and onions to tuna sandwiches, chicken salad, or pasta salad. It makes a great addition to soups and even spaghetti, helping you get an extra serving of vegetables into your day. 

Expand Your Horizons with Celery and Onion

If you’re ready to experience the best of both the onion and celery industry, it’s time to try Gills Diced Celery and Onion. 

As industry leaders in the fresh cut, value-added vegetables industry, delivering the highest quality products is what we do, and we do it best. But don’t take our word for it. Our onions speak for themselves — and our celery does too!

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department. 

From Our Fields to Your Kitchen: Gills Onions Retail Products

There’s nothing better than a freshly diced onion, but actually peeling and chopping the onion can be one of the worst jobs in the kitchen. 

At Gills Onions, we know this fact isn’t just true in commercial kitchens. The average American consumes over 20 pounds of onions each year. That’s a lot of chopping and a lot of tears. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

With our retail line-up of fresh cut onions, we’re bringing the delicious flavor of the world’s best onions to your kitchen. Say goodbye to tears and hello to the best onions you’ve ever had. 

Our Onions, Your Grocery Store

We pack our retail products in 6 oz., BPA-free, recyclable clear cups with reusable lids. A breathable under-lid film seals in that sweet onion aroma and locks in freshness. 

Customers crave convenience as much as they crave flavor. This packaging makes it easy to store fresh onions in your fridge, use what you need, and reseal the container until the next time. 

Currently, we process and package:

  • Diced Yellow Onions – Use to spice up any recipe that calls for chopped or diced onions. 
  • Diced Red Onions – Add something extra to soups, chilis, and sauces, or use as a colorful condiment. 
  • Diced Celery and Onions – The perfect blend for potato salads, tuna salads, and holiday stuffings and casseroles. 
  • Diced Mirepoix – An aromatic mix of onions, carrots, and celery. Add to sauces, braised meats, and marinades. 

You’ll find our products in the value-added section of retail grocers throughout California. 

Quality, Convenience, and Flavor

Our retail line-up comes 100% washed and ready-to-use with an 18-day shelf life — the longest shelf life of any fresh cut onion. All our products are kosher-certified, gluten-free, and non-GMO verified. 

Gills Onions is the only vertically integrated grower, processor, and shipper in the U.S. That means we grow, cut, and ship every onion that arrives in your kitchen, allowing us to maintain the highest quality standards. Our onions are grown “The Gill Way.” We are dedicated to innovative and sustainable agricultural practices, which create better tasting onions and better fields for future generations. 

Growing Our Retail Options

Our retail product line is growing! There are exciting new products on the horizon, like diced pickled onions — a tangy complement to grilled meats, dips, deviled eggs, potato salad, and more. 

We’re also working on partnerships with major retailers that would allow us to make our delicious fresh cut onions available in grocery stores across the United States. We can’t wait for you to taste the difference — and enjoy the convenience — of onions grown “The Gill Way.” 

If you’re still chopping onions, it’s a crying shame. 

A Little Onion Goes a Long Way: Boosting Your Respiratory Health

You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” and it’s true! What we put into our bodies becomes the fuel that allows our essential systems to function. And when we’re sick, the food we eat becomes critical medicine that enables us to fight off illnesses. 

We’re living in an unprecedented time as COVID-19 challenges our health, our jobs, and our sense of normalcy. But, at Gills Onions, we are proud to continue to work hard to supply America with a safe product that works to promote healthy living and tastes great, too. 

Boost Your Respiratory Health with Onions

The best thing you can do during the COVID-19 crisis is practice social distancing guidelines and follow recommendations from the CDC and WHO. But, while you are staying home, remember that the food you eat can help your immune system prepare to fight germs and disease. Instead of gravitating toward processed foods, reach for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Onions, especially, give your body the power to battle toxins that lead to illness because they contain high amounts of essential nutrients including: 

  • Vitamin C
  • Dietary fiber
  • Folic acid
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc

The National Onion Association also reports that the organosulfur compounds responsible for the taste and smell of onions can reduce symptoms from diabetes and prevent inflammation from asthma.

For centuries, onions have been used as a home remedy to treat coughs and colds. Drinking onion juice or making your own onion syrup can soothe irritated throats. Those same sulfuric compounds that prevent inflammation also help fight mucus and act as a natural expectorant. 

Quercetin: Key for Good Health

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but the same could be said of onions. Like apples, onions contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps delay oxidative damage to cells and tissue. It also has antiviral properties and histamine regulating effects. 

Studies have shown that quercetin eliminates free radicals in the body, protects and regenerates vitamin E, and deactivates the harmful effects of chelate metal ions. It strengthens capillary walls to reduce inflammation and can also protect the lining of the lungs and bronchial tubes from damage caused by pollution and other contaminants in the air. 

Recent studies at Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, demonstrate that the body absorbs three times more quercetin from onions than from apples. So, when in doubt, add some onion into your diet. 

Uniting Together to Fight for Good Health 

At Gills Onions and throughout the onion industry, we truly believe that onions are the perfect vegetable. For centuries, they have been a staple in diets around the world, and modern science continues to show us what eating onions can do for our collective health. Every fruit or vegetable that you eat fuels your body and boosts your immune system. 

As we face uncertainty, we hope that you will stand together with your communities and work to keep each other safe. Our team will continue to work hard to provide you with fresh vegetables that elevate your health and provide a consistent source of nutrition for our society year-round. 

Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.