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
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.