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.



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.


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. 


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


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.



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. 


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!


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


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. 



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. 


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. 


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


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

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. 

5 Creative Ways to Use Onions in Your Salads

At Gills Onions, we are unashamedly biased about our favorite vegetable. Our onions are delicious, the best on the market, and a delight to eat. You can use onions in countless ways, and we think every recipe is better with a bit of onion. 

But, there is one type of food that really allows our onions to shine: salads! 

Besides being one of the healthiest food choices you can make, salads are versatile and perfect for any occasion. And before you think that salads are boring, you should take a look at 5 of our favorite creative salad recipes. 

1. Marinated Cucumber, Onion, and Tomato Salad

This simple salad is easy enough for even the most novel chef to prepare, but it tastes like you put a whole lot of effort in. It features rings of white onion alongside cucumbers and tomato wedges in a tangy marinade. 

For this recipe you’ll need: 

  • Water 
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt 
  • Black pepper 
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • White onion

Simply whisk together the marinade ingredients and coat the sliced vegetables. Then, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. Check out the full recipe here

2. Onion and Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is all the rage, and adding sliced white onion to the mix really ups the level of flavor. This recipe also features a homemade dressing and the option to add grilled chicken for extra protein. 

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • Red quinoa
  • Vegetable broth
  • Canola oil
  • White onion
  • Baby kale
  • Apple 
  • Grilled chicken (optional) 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil 
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Dijon mustard

You’ll start by whisking together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and Dijon mustard to make the dressing. Then, you boil the quinoa and broth. While the quinoa cools, you’ll saute the onion and mix it together with the kale, apple, chicken, salt and pepper. Toss in the quinoa. Top with the dressing, and dish up. Check out the full recipe here

3. Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Pickled Onions

Pickled onions are a pleasant surprise in this original take on a salad. You’ll also find sweet strawberries and creamy goat cheese, and you’ll make your own vinaigrette dressing. 

For this recipe you’ll need: 

  • Fresh thyme
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Salt 
  • Black pepper
  • Pickled onion (or fresh white onion that you can pickle yourself in the vinaigrette)
  • Olive oil
  • Goat cheese
  • Baby lettuce
  • Fresh basil 
  • Strawberries
  • Prosciutto
  • Pistachios

You’ll start with your pickled onion vinaigrette mixture. The thyme, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and onions are combined in a jar and left to marinate together. Then, you’ll stir your goat cheese to make it extra creamy. You’ll toss your greens with the basil and top with the strawberries and prosciutto. Add a smattering of pickled onions with the vinaigrette, a dollop of goat cheese, and pistachios for garnish. Check out the full recipe here.

4. Buffalo Chicken, Blue Cheese Guacamole, and Crunchy Baked Onion Ring Salad

This tangy salad brings together the best of buffalo sauce and blue cheese. It’s basically bar food in a salad — with onion rings. It may not top the list of the healthiest salads in the book, but it will be a crowd favorite. 

This recipe is a bit more time intensive since you’ll be making your own chicken, onion rings, and dressing. Check out the full list of ingredients and instructions here

5. Onion and Turkey Lime Salad

This flavorful recipe comes in two versions: family friendly and adults only. For dinner parties without younger guests, the turkey can be cooked in a tequila based sauce. But, if you are looking for a less boozy approach, frozen grapefruit juice concentrate gives you the same zip. 

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • White or yellow onions
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Shredded turkey
  • Tequila or frozen grapefruit juice concentrate
  • Lime peel zest
  • Cumin
  • Dried hot red peppers
  • Garlic 
  • Lime juice
  • Lettuce 
  • Sour cream

Start by sauteing the onions and peppers in oil until tender. Then, add the cooked turkey, tequila or grapefruit juice concentrate, cumin, crushed pepper, and garlic. Finally, add your lime juice to the mix. Place the entire batch into the fridge to cool. Serve over lettuce with a dollop of sour cream. Top with lime zest. Check out the full recipe here

Ready to try onions the Gills Way? For more information, contact our sales department, or look for us in the fresh cut produce aisle of your local grocery store. 

National Garden Month

Growing Your Garden: Tips for Excellent Onions

April is National Garden Month. At Gills Onions, we grow vegetables on a large scale, but it doesn’t matter if you are planting thousands of acres or one window box. Growing your own food is an amazing thing. 

Agriculture brings us back in touch with where our food comes from and how it grows and gives us a sense of accomplishment that you can’t replicate doing anything else. Nurturing a plant and then reaping the delicious rewards deepens our respect for our amazing earth. 

So, if you’re considering getting your hands dirty, we’d like to recommend one of our favorite foods — onions!

Onions You Can Plant in Your Garden

The first thing you need to determine before you ever dig into the dirt is which type of onion you should plant. All onions are not created equal. Different onions grow better in different areas and climates. 

Onion bulbs grow in correlation with the length of daylight the plant receives. That’s why you’ll hear onions referred to as short-day, long-day, or intermediate. Short-day onions need about 10 hours of daylight. Long-day onions need closer to 15 hours of daylight. Intermediate onions tend to grow well in any climate and are less affected by the length of day. 

So, which onions should you plant? 

A good rule of thumb is to envision a line drawn across the United States from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. If you live north of this line, you should grow long-day onions. If you live south of this line, try a short-day instead. Anyone can try their hand at a day-neutral bulb. 

The Right Way to Plant Onions 

It takes about 120 days for an onion to grow. But, when you plant your onions depends largely on the variety of onion you plant. 

Short-day onions are typically planted in the late fall and harvested in spring. Long-day onions should be planted in early spring and harvested in the late summer. Day-neutral onions are planted in early spring for colder regions or in the fall for warmer regions. 

Planting your onions in a simple planter box is a great way to ensure your bulbs get the proper drainage and makes them easier to harvest. Remember, healthy soil grows healthy onions, so you need to focus on the dirt before you ever put bulbs in the ground. 

To ensure your onions have the right pH ranges in the soil and enough nutrients to grow, consider using a formulated raised bed soil from your local nursery or home improvement store. You can also improve the pH of your natural soil by mixing it with a few inches of rich organic matter, aged compost, or other natural fertilizers. Build the soil up high in the planter so your onions have a lot to work with. 

With soil in place, you’re ready to plant. Place each onion plant about 1 inch deep in the soil so that the roots are well covered but the plant’s neck (the green part) has room to breathe. Place each onion plant 6 inches apart. 

Keep the soil moist as your onions grow. Water your onions as soon as the top inch or so of the planter’s soil feels dry. 

The great thing about onions is that you can harvest at any time. Like we said before, you’ll want to wait about 120 days for a fully mature onion, but you can harvest onions when they are small as soon as a few weeks after planting. You’ve seen these onions in the store before — scallions. 

But if you dream of large juicy onions, watch the tops of your onion plant. When the tops begin to yellow and tip over, it’s time to pull the onions up, shake off the dirt, and place them out in the sun to cure. The key is to leave the green tops attached and keep the bulbs dry with circulating air. If you place your onions outside to dry, wait about a week before clipping off the onion tops and the roots. 

Gardening Is Good for You 

Gardening is good for you! It gets you outside absorbing Vitamin D, burns calories, and relieves stress. It also helps you eat healthier as you enjoy the fresh produce you have grown yourself. All of this leads to a stronger mind, a stronger body, and a stronger respect for where your food comes from. 

So, get out and garden!

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

Onions: The World’s Best Kept Secret

For centuries, onions have been a staple in diets around the world. It’s no surprise. Onions are the perfect way to add flavor and nutritional value to the foods you enjoy every day. 

At Gills Onions, we may have a bit of an onion bias. But we’re confident that once you’ve learned a few fun facts about this versatile vegetable, you’ll agree that onions are hard to beat.

Thousands of Years of Eating Onions

Onions have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, long before writing or farming were invented. No one can conclusively say where domesticated onions originated, but most researchers guess either central Asia or Iran and West Pakistan. 

It makes sense that onions were one of the earliest cultivated crops. They are less perishable than other fruits and vegetables, easy to transport, easy to grow, and can thrive in diverse climates. Onions can also be dried for consumption in times of drought or famine. 

Once written records were kept, many civilizations reference the use of onions in food, art, medicine, and even mummification. By the Middle Ages, onions were one of the three main vegetables used in European cuisine.

The first Pilgrims brought onions with them on the Mayflower to North America, but when they arrived, they discovered that wild onions were already growing plentifully across the continent. Native Americans ate onions raw and cooked and used them to season meat and other vegetables. 

An Onion a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Onions are known for their delicious flavor, but they should also be known for their numerous health benefits. 

Onions are high in essential nutrients including:

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

Onions are also low in sodium and are naturally fat-free. 

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. 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. 

And recent studies at Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands, demonstrate that the body absorbs three times more quercetin from onions than from apples. 

Other studies show that onions may reduce the risk of certain diseases including cancer, gastric ulcers, heart disease, cataracts, and osteoporosis.

How the World Eats Onions

Today, onions are the third largest fresh vegetable industry in the United States, grown in 25 of the 50 states. The average American consumes about 22 pounds of onions per year. This number represents a 79 percent increase in onion eating over the last three decades. 

Worldwide, onion production amounts to approximately 105 billion pounds each year. The average onion consumption equals about 13.67 pounds of onions per person. Libya has the highest rate of onion consumption per capita, averaging 66.8 pounds per person. 

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. 

Red onions are also gaining popularity in the U.S. food service scene. You’ll find them on pizza, salads, and sandwiches. 

Celebrate American Heart Month with Onions

When you think of February, you probably think of hearts. True, the month does host one of the most heart-filled holidays around — looking at you Valentine’s Day — but it’s also American Heart Month. 

Our hearts work hard. The average heart beats about 115 thousand times each day and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood. It’s a crucial organ for survival, and yet 1 in 4 deaths in the United States each year is caused by heart disease. 

It’s time to take better care of our hearts, and onions are a great way to start!

Help Out Your Heart with Fresh Vegetables 

Heart disease is bad news. The good news is that it can often be prevented. Along with exercise, your diet is key to heart health. 

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great place to start. The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at mealtimes to help achieve 4 to 5 servings of both food groups each day. 

Onions are one of the most flavorful vegetables, but they also offer powerful health benefits, especially for the heart. 

The same organosulfur compounds that are responsible for the taste and smell of onions have anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects. That means they can reduce the risk of blood clots, which are often associated with heart disease. Onions also decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels. 

Quercetin, a flavonoid, is found in all varieties of onions. It works to remove free radicals in the body that could otherwise cause damage to cell membranes. The National Onion Association reports that quercetin’s antioxidant activities help protect against heart disease as well as several types of cancer. 

This nutrient dense vegetable is also a good source of potassium, which is essential for proper heart function. If you think you’re getting enough potassium in your diet, think again. Most Americans are only consuming half of the recommended daily value

Onions are loaded with Vitamin C, are a great source of fiber, and are the perfect low calorie option. One cup of onion contains just 64 calories

Fresh produce like Gills Whole Peeled and Fresh Cut Onions are typically better for your heart than canned, dried, or frozen options, which can contain added sodium and sugars. 

Boost Heart Health with Onions 

You’ve probably heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but as you can see, an onion a day can easily do the same. And it’s easy to incorporate onions into your diet. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add chopped onions into homemade salsa or guacamole 
  • Combine onions with garlic and your favorite broth as a base for soups and chilis
  • Carmelize onions and place them on top of meat or tofu or add to savory baked goods
  • Add onions to your favorite rice, stir-fry, or fajita dishes 
  • Puree or blend onions into sauces or salad dressings 
  • Boost your breakfast with onion in your egg dishes or with avocado on toast

Click here for more delicious onion recipes from Gills Onions. 

A Healthy Heart Starts Here 

American Heart Month is all about sharing and starting heart health habits. Even the smallest changes can make a difference. Instead of seasoning food with salt, try adding spices or flavorful veggies instead. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or set up an appointment with your doctor to check and see how your heart is doing. 

As we work together to raise awareness and embrace healthier lifestyles, we can all enjoy happier and stronger hearts. 

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