Onions – those veggies that make us cry! We just tend to hate them when we need to cut them but then again, we cannot live without onions, can we? They add flavor to the most mundane of foods and of course, they come with tons of health benefits. We are not going to focus on onion health benefits in this article. We are going to take a look into some of the most fascinating onion fun facts and onion trivia that will leave you surprised. So, let’s get started…
Onion Fun Facts and Onion Trivia: 1-5
1. Onions have been around for quite some time. The oldest know cultivation of onion dates back to around 5,000 BCE. This means that they have been around for some 7,000 years. Yes, onions have been around since Bronze Age.
2. Sliced onions don’t become poisonous. That’s an urban myth. Sliced onions anything but prone to contamination by bacterial growth. So, toxic bacteria will not form on them even if you keep sliced bacteria for overnight. You won’t get food poisoning or stomach infection from such onions.
3. In ancient Egypt, onions were worshiped. It was believed by ancient Egyptians that concentric rings and spherical shape of the onions were symbols of eternity.
4. People of ancient Egypt used to cover the tombs of their rulers with onion pictures and onions played a vital role in burial rituals. They believed that onions will help the dead succeed in afterlife.
5. Well, just because the Egyptians were heavily into onions, there is no point thinking that they were the ones who cultivated the veggie for the first time. That’s not true. Onions originated either in central Asia or in West Pakistan (once part of India in ancient times) and Iran.
Onion Fun Facts and Onion Trivia: 6-10
6. During the Middle Ages, onions were actually used as gifts and even currency. People used to pay for services and goods and even paid rent using onions.
7. Slicing onions make us cry and we really hate that. But why do we cry while cutting onions? That’s because, when we cut onions, sulfur is released by the veggie. This sulfur reaches our eyes and combines with the moisture to produce sulfuric acid.
8. The sulfuric acid thus produced in our eyes leads to a painful sensation and the brain immediately acts. In a defensive stance, our brain makes our eyes produce tears that eliminate the acid. That’s what we call crying while cutting onions.
9. One of the best methods that you can deploy while cutting onions to prevent tears is to cut them under running water. Alternately, you can also apply some white vinegar on the cutting board and then cut the onions on them.
10. Did you know that Libyans are famous for eating onions. The per capita onion consumption of Libya per year is a whopping 66.8 pounds.
Onion Fun Facts and Onion Trivia: 11-15
11. According to Old English folklore, if the skin of the onion is thick, it means that a harsh or severe winter is coming. A thin skin on the other hand denotes a mild winter.
12. New York city, which is today known by the moniker ‘Big Apple’ was once known as ‘Big Onion’. This is according to the book called ‘1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die’. The book was authored by Patricia Schultz.
13. China is world’s largest producer of onions. The average annual production of onions by China stands at 20,507,759 metric tons. India takes the second spot with 13,372,100 metric tons and America takes the third spot with 3,320,870 metric tons annually.
14. General Ulysses S. Grant, during American Civil War, sent a telegram. Addressed to the War Department, it read – “I will not move my army without onions”. The result was that three train cars loaded with onions were immediately shipped.
15. Onion is considered to have antiseptic properties and hence, it was heavily used during war times to heal wounds.
Onion Fun Facts and Onion Trivia: 16-20
16. In Nebraska’s Blue Hill, there is a law – quite a bizarre one actually. As per the law, if a woman wears a big hat that can intimidate a timid man, the woman will be forbidden from eating onions. Interestingly, that law is exists in books!
17. Greeks used to think that eating onions would boost strength and hence, athletes during the first Olympic Games of 1st century CE ate onions.
19. Peter Glazebrook – a British farmer grew the world’s largest onion ever in 2011. The onion made it to Guinness Book of World Records and weighed 18 lbs.
20. Onions are world’s 6th most popular vegetable crop (based on the volume produced per year).