Onion in season: Young - May and June; stored - August to October.
A native of the south of Europe, introduced before the time of Henry VIII. The Shallot is a native of Palestine; it has been cultivated in England as long as the leek. It possesses a strong and fetid oil in it called oil of garlic, which is much disliked in our country.
The Onion is remarkably nutritious. The dried onion-root contains from twenty-five to thirty per cent, of gluten. Burnt onions are the best for flavouring and colouring made dishes and soups. The onion keeps well.
It has a strong and unpleasant smell, arising from an oil in it called garlic oil (it is still stronger in garlic), which is retained for a long time in the breath after swallowing it in onion or garlic. It exudes from the pores of the skin in garlic eaters, giving them a strong scent of it, familiar to travellers in Spain, Egypt, Malta, etc. The common onion will scent a steel knife and convey the taste of the garlic oil also to any substance cut by it.
The onion is used much in cookery by ourselves, and to a certain extent raw; it is the common food of the Portuguese, Spaniards, Arabs, and North African people, and being very nutritive takes with them the place of the English labourer's cheese with their bread.
The onion was an object of worship of the ancient Egyptians, and is still excellent upon the banks of the Nile.
The onion is a compound of sulphur and allyle, which exercise a certain action on the system favourable to its general comfort. It is thought that the onion promotes sleep, and is a good cure, put hot into the ear, for earache.