Onions- A must-have during Summer - Sachi Shiksha

Haven’t we all heard some superstitious beliefs in our houses passed on from generations. Be it the cat crossing our paths or not cutting our nails and hair in the night. Every country and society has its own stock of old-wives tales which by word of mouth are quite popular in modern times as well.

Some people vouch for their credibility by pure logic and implement these in their daily lives as easy and quick remedies while others defy them as myths considering science the supreme. One such age old notion is keeping and using onions in abundance during the summers. Is it some half concocted story or a useful remedy against the extremes of summer?

Onions are members of Allium genus of flowering plants that also include garlic, shallot, chive, leek and Chinese onion. Believed to be originated in Iran, western Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia it is commonly chopped and used as an ingredient in various hearty warm dishes.

You must have often been advised to carry an onion bulb with you when you step outside your place, to avoid heat stroke. There is genuine curiosity over this and let`s bust this myth.  Onions are believed to have several health benefits if consumed raw during the summer season. A variety of onion, red onion commonly found in the whole Indian Subcontinent contains a compound called quercetin, which is anti-histamine.

Histamine is a compound responsible for causing heat rashes and reactions to insect bites. As quercetin reduces the effect of histamine, raw onions can be a savior against heat. Raw onions also have a positive impact on immunity and thus would boost the same. Juice from onions is also recommended for consumption or using externally to treat heat stroke and sun burns respectively. Moreover, onions have essential oils which help in regulating body temperature and also known to have benefited the skin.

If one suffers from digestive problems during summer, onions can be consumed as it releases digestive uses. In the long run if onion consumption is made a daily habit bad cholesterol that causes heart problems can be tackled. In sudden flushes of heat and cold onions are a great cure for fever, cold and allergies. Even if freshly squeezed onion juice is applied on the soles of feet and palms, heat stroke get cured quickly.

But carrying onions with you was just so because in earlier days, travelling was not easy and you would have to walk a lot, even under the blistering sun. With onions available less readily these were kept close by to use and consumed in times of sudden heat stroke or allergies. There is no proven scientific logic behind keeping onions close by.

Onions do have medicinal and healing properties and can do wonders in summers. Consuming raw onions in lunch is considered helpful.Adding in a variety of different raw onions will bring out the flavour of any dish superbly. It maybe something light or a savoury and there are many ways to experiment with the flavourful onions.

Onions can be eaten with a variety of salads such as mixed bean salad, Quinoa-lentil-salad or shredded ribbon salad, where mixed with ingredients such as nuts, honey and cheese will provide an ample amount of nutrients. Our desibhel, a mix of savoury snacks with a variety of chutneys garnished with tomatoes, onions and coriander leaves is spicy plus healthy. Cold onion raita in hot days is the best combination to a avoid heat strokes as curd too provides respite from heat (though not a safe bet for lactose intolerant people). Dosa or its North Indian cousin chilla,can be adorned with raw onions to get that extra crunch and bite.

Even though raw onion will provide the best results, but consuming it can be a challenge for some, what with the odour after consuming it. Slightly sautéing onions but keeping its essence intact, it can be used in a lot more options such as in curries or pastas.

Onion paratha served with chilled onion mint chutney can be a refreshing take on usage of onions.  A pizza topped with onions is also a tasty option but can seem an unhealthy one. French onion soup is not only served as an appetizer but also proven to be a magic potion for the ill.

Onions are perhaps one of the most underrated vegetables and its presence can only be known when it`s actually not there. Maybe sometimes these age old customs have a hidden meaning behind them, it`s just onto us to discover the depth behind them.

Whatever is being cooked at your house now, never forget to add a dash of onion as not only does it tickle your taste buds but also is the best home remedy for summers.

Happy lunching and munching on onions!


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