The Magical, Mystical, Magnetic Onion

Listen to Susan’s Onion Podcast

Yes, indeed, the onion is an herb—a self-assertive herb with a fascinating folklore history in cultures all around the world, as well as a favorite in everybody’s kitchen. But there’s more to the onion than you know. It’s magical, mystical, magnetic, and–yes–medicinal!



Recipes from Susan’s Podcast

Bavarian Sauerkraut with Onions
Juniper berries lend this dish the tartness that is associated with German cuisine. As an alternative, 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds will lend their own special distinction.

2 tblsp. olive oil
¾ cup chopped onion
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound sauerkraut (fresh-packed, from the deli section of your supermarket)
1 cup white wine
½ cup chopped apple, peel left on
½ tsp. ground bay or 1 bay leaf
6 juniper berries

Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, wine, apple, bay, and juniper berries (or caraway seeds). Stir, bring to a simmer, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the juniper berries and the bay leaf (if you used a whole one) before serving.

Cucumber and Onion Salad
1 lb. cucumbers, peeled, sliced thin
½ red onion, sliced thin
3 tblsp. olive oil
4 tblsp. rice vinegar
1/8 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
Salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste)

Combine onions and cucumbers in a bowl. In a cup, mix oil, vinegar, sugar, and dill. Pour over the onions and cucumbers and toss. Let stand for 20-30 minutes, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Some Thoughts about Onions

Life is like an onion.
You peel it off one layer at a time;
And sometimes you weep.
—Carl Sandburg

For this is every cook’s opinion,
No savory dish without an onion;
But lest your kissing should be spoiled,
Your onions should be thoroughly boiled.
—Jonathon Swift

Why is it that the poet tells
So little of the sense of smell?
These are the odors I love well:
The smell of coffee freshly ground;
Or rich plum pudding, holly crowned;
Or onions fried and deeply browned…
—Christopher Morley

Onion skins very thin,
Mild winter coming in.
Onion skins very tough,
Coming winter very rough.
—old English rhyme

If you hear an onion ring, answer it.


To learn more about onions, check out these links: