Lots of Layers

To know one’s onion is to know one’s stuff.
– Old English Idiom

It is COLD outside in Washington! I hope everyone has been staying safe and warm in this snowy cold weather.

OnionYou might be wondering how, in these temperatures, can anything edible grow? However, there is a root vegetable that has endured many climates to become a foundational staple of almost every diet in the world: The ONION.

Onions are incredibly resilient and durable, which is why they are considered to be one of the first cultivated crops in the world. The Onion has been around so long, (approx. 5000 years!) horticulturists aren’t exactly sure of its origin. They hypothesize it originated in central Asia, Pakistan, and/or Iraq but really no one is sure. For it’s time, it was quite the progressive vegetable.

The Egyptians believed its anatomy represented eternal life, and included the onion in many feasts and altars to their gods. Egyptologists have even found them in mummies tombs, including Ramses IV.pile of onions

Early century doctors from all around the world used the onion to cure all sorts of aliments. Pompeii’s own Pliny the Elder used the onion to cure a plethora of ailments, like toothaches, insomnia and mouth-sores.

The Greeks made their Olympic Athletes drink onion juice before competitions, and rub onion oil over their bodies. They believed it made them better athletes because it lightened the balance of the blood. Interesting for this years winter Olympics, onions are a very common vegetable in many traditional Russian dishes.

876096_77650520You would be hard pressed to find a country that doesn’t use onions and the United States and Washington state are no exceptions. Here in Washington we grow a large portion of the countries onions and some of the best onions. In fact onions and a particular species of onion have put the Washington city of Walla Walla on the map.

So enjoy some onions this week. They have been a healthy staple for thousands of years of human history and are still delightfully tasty today. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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