Allium schoenoprasum & Allium cepa
The (in Austria and Bavaria also) onion ( Allium cepa ) also onion leeks , Bolle , Zipolle , edible onion , onion , garden onion , summer onion , house onion or Common onion called, is a species of the genus allium ( Allium ).
The term onion describes both the plant species and its shortened shoot, the typical underground storage organ that is also formed by other plant species (see onion as a plant part ). In everyday language, the exact meaning is often ignored. In botany it must always be clear whether we are talking about the species Allium cepa or a plant organ.
The kitchen onion is a perennial herbaceous plant , which is usually only kept for one or two years in culture and then harvested. Your stem axis remains compressed into a flat disk-shaped structure, which is called onion slice or onion cake, until the flowers form. The apical meristem on the upper side of the onion disc produces around 10 to 15 sessile leaves , clearly divided into lower and upper leaves , at its edge, alternately opposite and therefore apparently two-lined (but based on botanical terminology) . The sub-leaves are whitish in color with green veins, shaped like leaf sheaths , and grip each other tightly so that they form a pseudo sprout several centimeters long in their upper part, and the well-known "onion" as a storage organ, fleshy, thickened in the lower part . The pure green upper leaves grow together to form tubes with a closed tip, which are hollow and approximately oval in cross-section. Their cell arrangement is that of a bifacial leaf, the outside of the tube corresponds to the top.
If the biological prerequisites for flower formation are given, usually from the second vegetation period onwards , the onion disc extends into a 20 to 120 cm long, leafless, tubular-hollow inflorescence shaft with a circular cross-section , which appears bulbous in the lower part. The apical meristem remains at its tip and no longer forms new leaves. The inflorescence is an almost spherical umbel made of 20 to more than 100 individual flowers, which are covered by a bract before they bloom. The flowers are stalked 20 to 40 mm long, their bracts are whitish with a green central nerve.
The formation of flowers requires that the plant has developed a certain number of leaves and was also exposed to low temperatures for a certain time towards the end of the previous vegetation period or during the dormant period . Such processes are called vernalization in plant cultivation . The necessary temperature and the duration of exposure depend on the variety and dry matter of the individual onion. In the case of commercially available Central European varieties, one reckons with around 6 ° C over at least two weeks. Relatively high temperatures during the dormant period can destroy an already initiated flower approach. Use is made of this in crop cultivation when flower formation is undesirable.
The nutrient storage and thus the formation of the storage organ is determined by the photoperiod , i. That is, it only gets going with a certain ratio of day and night length. In adaptation to the respective conditions of different geographical latitudes, breeding has led to the differentiation into so-called long-day and short-day varieties . These terms are not to be equated with the so-called long-day and short-day plants in biological terminology, which are all about flower formation . If the exposure requirements of the respective variety are not met, the onion plant can indeed produce leaves, flowers and seeds, but no or only an underdeveloped onion.
The storage organ is classified by botany as a shell onion because it arises from parts of normal leaves, in contrast to scaled onions , which arise from lower leaves . In addition to the fully developed leaves, there are also those that only consist of the lower leaf. As a result, the number of peels found in an onion is usually greater than that of the leaves that were previously easily visible. Between the leaf or shell approaches, d. H. axillary, one or more buds are also created on the surface of the onion slice, which continue growth in the next vegetation period and thereby use up the nutrients stored in the previous year's peel. The emaciated peel dry out into paper-thin skins that last for a long time and form a protective cover around the new onion.
Breeding has also taken on this characteristic and is oriented towards the fact that the "ordinary" kitchen onion only forms a single renewal bud and thus a simple onion. In the case of the shallots , on the other hand, several buds and thus daughter onions are desirable because they are required for vegetative reproduction.
The number of chromosomes is 2n = 16.
Origin and Distribution
Apart from the occasional wilderness, the kitchen onion only exists as a cultivated plant in human care. No wild populations are known, nor has any other wild allium species been identified as a direct ancestor. As long as the origin is unclear, the geographical origin of the kitchen onion cannot be precisely determined. Often you will find information such as “ Central Asia ” or “Afghanistan”. The species Allium vavilovii , currently regarded as the closest relative, is native to Turkmenistan and Iran .
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, around 96.8 million tons of onions were harvested worldwide in 2018 .
The following table provides an overview of the 20 largest producers worldwide, who produced 80.9% of the total.
(in t )
|1||People's Republic of China||24,699,576||11||Sudan||1,566,029|
|3||United States||3,284,420||13||South Korea||1,520,969|
The onion is a very diverse crop. The varieties known in German-speaking countries include “Rote Braunschweiger” (red fleshy), “Stuttgarter Riesen” (white fleshy) and “Zittauer Yellow Giant” (white flesh).
In Germany the onion is cultivated especially in the rain shadow of the Harz, near Frankenthal (Palatinate) , Bamberg and Erfurt . It prefers mild or sandy loam and loess soil in a sunny, warm location. The soil should be settled and finely crumbly, which is why basic tillage (e.g. by digging or plowing) should be carried out in the previous autumn. Furthermore, the soil should not contain any undecayed manure and should only be cautiously fertilized with nitrogen , as otherwise the onions ripen poorly and develop too much foliage at the expense of onion formation. In commercial onion cultivation, therefore, excessive nitrogen fertilization is already dispensed with for the previous crop.
Depending on the cultivation method, a distinction is made between "summer onions" and "winter onions". Summer onions (the actual kitchen onions ) are sown in early spring or, if onion sets are grown, pinned and harvested between August and October, with later varieties with a firm consistency in particular being storable until March of the following year. The somewhat juicier and milder winter onions - better said onions cultivated for the winter - are sown in August, ripen next spring and can be harvested from June, but can only be stored for a short time.
The Allium fistulosum , also known as the winter onion , is a different type of plant that differs from the kitchen onion in many properties, including: a. due to their significantly more inconspicuous storage organs. However, both types can be processed into "silver onions".
The onion can be grown as a summer onion for food purposes both in a one-year process by direct sowing and in a two-year process by planting (“sticking”) onions. Onions are small, about the size of a hazelnut, which were obtained by sowing very close together in the previous year. So that the onion plants grown from onion sets do not tend to shoot (bloom), they are subjected to hot storage (kiln) for three to four weeks at temperatures of 30 to 40 ° C after harvest. As a rule, onions are therefore purchased from the seed trade.
The onion is sown at a sowing depth of approx. 1 to 2 cm and row spacing of 25 to 40 cm on dry soil from March to early April. The size of the onions that are ready to be harvested can be decisively influenced by the crop density. For example, for the production of medium-sized onions when sowing at a row spacing of 25 cm, a spacing of the plants in the row of around 4 to 5 cm is aimed for, so that around 80 to 120 plants per m² can develop. Seed onions are ready for harvest between August and October, depending on the date of sowing, the variety and the growing region.
Onion sets are planted at similar intervals at a depth of around 4 cm so that the tip can just be seen, also in March or April. Onions grown from onion sets are ready for harvest earlier, from July. Dry, sunny late summer weather at harvest time is one of the decisive factors for the shelf life and shelf life of the harvested onions. Storage should be in dry, cool and airy conditions. Onions grown from onions are less durable than sown onions.
To grow seeds, the onions are placed in a very flat, heavily fertilized bed in March and placed 30 to 45 cm apart. The seed remains viable for three years.
Other names for the onion, some of which are only used regionally, are or were: Aiugn. Böllen ( St. Gallen , Graubünden ), Bolle ( Brandenburg ), Cibol ( Middle High German ), Cibüll (Middle High German), Cipolle (Middle High German), Czipell (Middle High German), Czwebeln , Czwifall (Middle High German), Czwipolle (Middle High German), Engnin ( Low German ) , Nislauch , Oellig ( Bavaria , Eifel ), Olich ( Middle Low German ), Oyllich (Middle Low German), Planza , Pölla (Graubünden, Davos ), Siebel , Sipolle , Sypolle (Middle High German), Syppolle (Middle High German), Twiwel ( Göttingen ), Tzibol , Tzipolle , Ulch , Ulk , Unlauch , Unleuch (Middle High German), Unlouch , Vich , Vick , Zibbel ( Hessen , Ruhla ), Zibele ( Bern ), Zible (Graubünden), Zwiibla (Bündner Rheintal, Graubünden) Zibölle , Zipel ( East Friesland , Göttingen , Waldeck ), Zippeln (Hessen, Holstein ), Zipolle ( Altmark , Bremen , Hessen, Mecklenburg ), Zuboell (Middle High German), Zubul (Middle High German), Zwebel (Middle Low German), Zweibel ( Transylvania ), Zwibbel (Transylvania), Zwibel , Zwiblon (mi ttelhochdeutsch), Zwibol , Zwifel (Middle High German), Zwippull (Middle High German), Zwobelm , Zybel , Zybölle (Middle High German) and Zypel (Middle High German).
Many of these terms are derived from the late Latin diminutive cepulla from Latin cepa , which is itself a loan word from an unknown language. The term onion also goes back to Old High German zwibolla , which consists of two components, 'two' and 'balls', which represent a folk etymology .
The onion or the actual onion is usually finely chopped or cut into rings; it is eaten raw or roasted or steamed when cooking other dishes (such as in vegetables ). Onions contain an essential oil containing sulphides and are therefore irritating to the stomach. By boiling, steaming or frying the glycosidic compounds of the onion, the sugar is released. This will make the onion sweeter. Sliced onions should not be stored in the refrigerator, or only in the cheese dome, as their smell will be transferred to all other foods and packaging. Their taste also suffers.
Proper storage of a "hand supply" can in a placed near the kitchen work area Zwiebeltopf done.
Onions as a meat tenderizer
Onion juice (pressed juice made from onions from Allium cepa L.) is used as a meat tenderizer , especially in older recipes from the Balkans , the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East . To do this, cubes of meat, which are otherwise rather tough, such as parts of mutton, are placed overnight in a mixture of onion juice and (olive) oil or in milk with spices as desired. The method is particularly recommended for grilled meat. In modern kitchens, which value the shortest possible preparation times, this procedure is used less and less in view of the long marinating time and the effort involved.
The classic spit roast also benefits from the onion as a softener. Raw onions, as well as pepper and salt, are wrapped in the meat. After a resting time of at least twelve hours, the meat has the best conditions for a consistently juicy roast and also has a characteristic taste.
The silver onion (not to be confused with the pearl onion ) is a particularly small variety (15–35 mm in diameter) that lacks its protective skin, which is why it is particularly sensitive. In the trade they are mainly available in glasses. Its name comes from the light silver outer skin. Fresh silver onions are mainly imported from the Netherlands and processed into pickled preserves such as mixed pickles .
The collective term "vegetable onions" is colloquially summarized as varieties with very large and mild-tasting onions, which are particularly suitable for preparation or consumption as a vegetable side dish in the appropriate portions.
One of the traditional Austrian growing areas for the vegetable onion is the region around Laa an der Thaya in Lower Austria. For this reason, the kitchen onion and the vegetable onion with a diameter of up to 15 cm have been included in the register of traditional foods . The corresponding area is also registered as a Laaer onion among Austria's culinary regions .
|Nutritional value per 100 g onion:|
|Calorific value||117 kJ (28 kcal)|
|- fiber||1.8 g|
|Vitamins and minerals|
|Vitamin A||1 µg|
|Vitamin B 1||35 µg|
|Vitamin B 2||20 µm|
|Vitamin B 3||200 µg|
|Vitamin B 5||170 µg|
|Vitamin B 6||150 µg|
|Vitamin B 9||7 µg|
|vitamin C||7 mg|
Like all species of the Allium genus, onions do not contain starch , but rather form and store fructans as reserve material . The human digestive system is incapable of enzymatically breaking down fructans and resorbing them in the small intestine. They reach the large intestine undigested, where they can be metabolized by the bacteria of the natural flora, which produce gas in the process. After consuming onions, flatulence often occurs , the smell of which is responsible not only for the breakdown products of fructans but also for the sulfur-containing ingredients.
The sulfur-containing amino acid isoalliin contained in the cell plasma is characteristic . After damage to the cell structure, it is first converted to propensulfenic acid by the enzyme alliinase present in the cell vacuoles . Further reactions follow, in the course of which numerous compounds are formed, including propanthial S-oxide, which irritates the mucous membranes . This is why people have to “cry” when cutting the onion if the substance gets into their eyes through splashes or evaporation. By using sharp knives, the leakage of the substance is significantly reduced.
When cutting onions, these ingredients may cause a pink discoloration. The color is created by reactions of the amino acids with the sulfur compounds. A similar discoloration to green can also be observed when cutting garlic . The dyes are completely harmless to health.
Most plant bulbs are poisonous or at least very indigestible for humans. Kitchen onions and their relatives are almost the only exception that does not apply to other mammals. Kitchen onions in any form (raw, cooked, dried) are also poisonous for animals. Cattle, horses, dogs, cats and poultry are the most sensitive. The dog breeds Akita Inu and Shiba Inu are particularly endangered because of their special metabolic situation.
Use as a medicinal plant
For the drug could antibacterial , the blood pressure , blood lipids and blood sugar are detected weak lowering effects, including anticoagulant and anti-asthmatic properties were detected. The effects of this are said to be mainly due to the antioxidant sulfur compounds in onions.
Externally, onion juice or syrup is used for insect bites, wounds, boils and for the treatment of bruises.
When processing onions and garlic , allergic contact eczema can occur. The frequency of sensitization is given as 4 to 13%. In this case, as with garlic, low-molecular organic sulfur compounds occur as allergens .
Furthermore, rare allergies to three onion proteins are known: All c 3 (a lipid transfer protein), All c 4 ( profilin , cross allergen with grass pollen) and Alliin lyase ( cross allergen with other types of leek).
The kitchen onion is one of the oldest cultivated plants of mankind and has been cultivated as a medicinal , aromatic and vegetable plant for more than 5000 years . With the ancient Egyptians, onions were offered to the gods as an offering, were a kind of currency for the workers employed in building the pyramids and were placed with the dead as food for the journey to the afterlife. The remains of onions found in Tutankhamun's grave testify to this . A Sumerian cuneiform script, which is over 4,000 years old, contains information on cucumber and onion fields, and the Codex Hammurapi specifies bread and onion allocations for the poor.
For the Romans, onions were a staple food, especially for the less well-off. It was also the Roman legionaries who spread the “cepula” (from which, via Middle High German “zwibolle”, and ultimately the German word “onion”) in Central Europe. Here they became one of the most widespread types of vegetables, were a must on every table and, together with theriac, were used to prepare an oil that was supposed to protect against the plague by stimulating sweat . From around the 15th century, people in the Netherlands began to specifically breed diverse varieties with different shapes, colors and flavors.
- Antiquity - late antiquity: Dioscurides 1st century --- Pliny 1st century --- Galen 2nd century
- Arab Middle Ages: Avicenna 11th century --- Pseudo-Serapion 13th century
- Latin Middle Ages: Pseudo-Macer 11th century --- German Macer 13th century --- Galangal and spice treatise 13th / 14th century --- Konrad von Megenberg 14th century --- Nikolaus Frauenlob 15th --- Herbarius Moguntinus 1484 --- Gart der Gesundheit 1485 --- Hortus sanitatis 1491 --- Hieronymus Brunschwig 1500
- Modern times: Paracelsus approx. 1530 --- Otto Brunfels 1537 --- Hieronymus Bock 1539 --- Leonhart Fuchs 1543 --- Mattioli / Handsch / Camerarius 1586
Vienna Dioscurides 6th century
Tacuinum sanitatis . 14th century manuscript
Herbarius Moguntinus 1484
Garden of Health 1485
Hortus sanitatis 1491
Otto Brunfels 1537
Leonhart Fuchs 1543
Hieronymus Bock 1546
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Laaer onion . Entry no. 58 in the register of traditional foods of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism .
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- Galangal spice treatise 13th / 14th century. Latin: Clm 13 076 , without place, 1356, sheet 21ra: Cepe (digitized) - Alemannic: Cpg 620 recipe collection, Northern Bavaria, around 1450, sheet 79v – 80r: Cepe ( Digitized) . Transcription: Sepe haist zetäwtsch zwifel and is warm and humid by nature and if you mix soberly with ain little salt, it draws all the dampness in itself and drives you out, it relieves the prust and drives away bad feuhtichait and if you do so in good news he gůt starck däwng Item so he smelled he enjoyed the eyes schedlich when he sadly sy
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- Nikolaus Frauenlob 15th century. Cpg 583 , South-West Germany (Mattighofen), 1482–1486, sheet 27r: Zwival (digitized) . Transcription ( rubricated parts of the text in bold): Zwival has iiij virtue Who hüetten in front of the evil air wil Man sol czwival rain bang and shear off it and put it in a good place and then eat it is for everyone Gifft Wem dÿ oren we thuent Man sol czwival vnd cumel roasting together in oil in ainer pans / vnd so warm should you put it on the door dÿ the man we do or on the other wage it saÿ how it seÿ who is too vol vmb dÿ prust Man sal praten czwival eat the raÿnigt dÿ prust vnd helps throw out the vnflat Who wants to help the gesweren man sol gepaten czwival on dÿ geswer put dÿ now czeÿzig that makes dÿ geswer waich vnd czucht the vnflat out --- Cpg 666 , Kurpfalz, 1478 –1480, sheet 112v: Zwyfal (digitized) . Transcription: Zwyfal has iiij the virtue of a whoever thinks of it and hates bad air wil Man sol dÿ zwibel purely and scheyblin cut from it and put a good vinegar and leave salt there ij ader iij or jn the vinegar and salt then there eat there sal also for all gyfft help and for all bad air b Whom dy oren we do Man roast salty and kumel with each other in a pan and so warmly put it on the dy oren or on other days where there is c which people to vol vmb dy prust is Man sal whale fried zwibel eat daz reynigt dy prust vnd helps throw the vnflat out d who help the geswern wil man sal advised zwibel uff dy geswer put dÿ zeyttig there makes the geswer soft and wears the vnflat out
- Herbarius Moguntinus , Mainz 1484, Part I, Chapter 40: Cepa (digitized version )
- Gart der Gesundheit . Mainz 1485, Chapter 103: Cepe (digitized version )
- Hortus sanitatis 1491, Mainz 1491, Part I, Chapter 109: Cepe (digitized version )
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- Otto Brunfels : Ander Teyl des Teütschen Contrafayten Kreüterbůchs . Johann Schott, Strasbourg 1537, p. 37: Zybelen (digitized version )
- Hieronymus Bock : New Kreütter Bůch . Wendel Rihel, Strasbourg 1539, Part II, Chapter 63: Zwibel (digitized version )
- Leonhart Fuchs : New Kreütterbuch… Michael Isingrin, Basel 1543, Chapter 163: Zwibel (digitized version )
- Pietro Andrea Mattioli : Commentarii, in libros sex Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbei, de medica materia. Translation by Georg Handsch, edited by Joachim Camerarius the Younger , Johan Feyerabend, Franckfurt am Mayn 1586, sheet 170r – 171v: Zwibeln (digitized version )
- Transcription and translation: Cepe. Cepe: complexio calida in 4 °, humida in 3 °, alias sicca. Electio: album aquaticum sucosum. iuvamentum: naturam modificat, urinam provocat, addit in coytu, uisum acuit. nocumentum: infert dolorem capitis. Remotio nocumenti: cum aceto et lacte. Quid generant: lac et sperma. conveniunt frigidis, decrepitis, hyeme et septentrionali regione. --- onions. Onions: Complexion: warm in the 4th, moist in the 3rd, dry after others. Preferable: white, watery, juicy. Benefit: they soften nature, urinate, strengthen sexual potency, sharpen the sense of sight. Harm: they cause headaches. Preventing the harm: with vinegar and milk. What they produce: milk and semen. Beneficial for people with cold complexion, for the weak, in winter and in northern areas.