Onion is a vegetable scientifically known as ‘Allium cepa’ from the family ‘Amaryllidaceae’, and it is the second most popular and used vegetable in the world, after tomato.
Onion is mainly used as an ingredient for cooking curries in sliced or chopped forms. It is also roasted, pickled, grilled, mashed, or caramelized to prepare certain dishes and salads. Onion is used alone or along with other ingredients throughout the world for cooking purposes.
Onion is the underground stem- the bulb of the onion plant, which is believed to have originated from southwestern Asia. Its first usages can be traced back to as early as 5500 years ago as the Egyptians and Sumerians are reported to have used it. The Bible and Koran also mention the usages of onion in ancient times.
It is one of the easiest vegetables to grow with less pest issues compared to other ones. Onion can be cultivated on most types of soils like silt loam, sandy loam, clay soils, etc. But fertile sandy or clay loam soils with good drainage to prevent it from decaying and adequate amount of humus-decayed organic materials-are ideal for onions that prefer a mild weather without excessive cold or heat.
Onions can be harvested 4-5 months after the planting which is normally done from November to February. However, onions can be grown and harvested throughout the year depending on the regions and typical climates.
There are many varieties of onion that are used for various cooking purposes, and some of the popular and widely used ones are yellow onion, white onion, Red onion, sweet onion and shallot which are pungent to different degrees. Onions cause eyes to tear up due to the presence of certain chemicals that are volatile-easily vaporizing-and spread around.
Onion contains natural sugar, Vitamins A, B6, C, E, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, and Fibre minerals. Onion is also used as folk medicine since ancient times to treat various ailments like mouth sores, headaches, and heart diseases. Today onion is an unavoidable vegetable in cooking throughout the world.
China is the largest producer of onion in the world, followed by India and the US, and China is also the largest exporter of it. Other major exporters are India, Mexico and Netherlands while the US is the largest importer of onion followed by Malaysia, UK, Germany, and UAE.
In India, Maharashtra is the largest producer of onion and other major producers are Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Some of the major trading markets of onion in India:
Maharashtra(Nasik, Raigad, Satara, Mumbai, Ahmednagar)
Karnataka(Chitradurga, Belgaum, Kolar)
Bihar(Nalanda, Sahasra, Darbhanga, Sheikhpura)
Gujarat(Gandhinagar, Kutch, Vadodara, Surat)
Names of onion in different Indian languages:
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