I often use onions for cooking. I use them in tuna, egg, and chicken salad, to flavor soups and meats, and I especially like fried potatoes and onions. If you ever get a chance to buy Vidalia onions, grown in the state of Georgia, be sure to give them a try. They are a sweet tasting onion.
Bladder – Animal bladders were used to keep air out of crocks and jars to preserve food.
Fortnight – A two week period.
Hair Sieve – A strainer with a wiry fabric bottom usually woven from horsehair.
Hot Oven – A hot (or quick) oven is about 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit and you could hold your hand in the oven about 35 seconds without burning.
Spanish Onion – The normal yellow onion sold in U.S. grocery stores.
INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS:
Onions are of two general varieties; dried and green. Dried onions have been allowed to grow to maturity and have then been cured, or dried, to a certain extent. Green onions are those which are pulled or taken out of the ground before they have matured and are eaten while fresh. They are especially popular in the spring, although they have a rather long season.
All dried onions have excellent keeping qualities, so after purchasing, no special care need be given to them except to store them in a comparatively cool, dry place. Deterioration is due chiefly to sprouting, for as soon as the new plant begins to grow from the center of the onion, the remainder becomes soft and loses much of its flavor. The green, immature onions, however, will not keep for any length of time, and in order to keep them fresh until they are used, they must be stored in a cool, damp place.
ONIONS FOR FLAVORING
When only the flavor of onions is desired in a salad or a cooked dish of some sort, the onion should be added in the form of juice and pulp rather than in pieces. Then it will not be possible to observe the onion when it is mixed with the food. To prepare an onion in this way, peel it, cut off a crosswise slice, and then grate the onion on a grater over a shallow dish. Add the juice and pulp thus obtained to any food that calls for onion as a flavoring.
Perhaps the simplest method of cooking onions is to boil them. Peel the desired number of onions and if necessary, cut them into halves or quarters. Place them in sufficient boiling water to cover well. To allow the strong volatile oil to escape instead of being reabsorbed by the onions, the cover should be kept off the vessel while they are cooking. Cook until tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, but not so soft as to fall apart. The water in which this vegetable is cooked has not a very agreeable flavor, so no use should be made of it. Pour off the water, season with salt and pepper, and add one tablespoon butter for each four persons to be served.
Put six large onions into a saucepan of water, or water and milk in equal proportions. Add salt and pepper and boil until tender. When done so they can be easily mashed, work them up with butter to the consistency of paste, cover with breadcrumbs, and bake in a moderate oven. If preferred, they may be boiled whole, put in a baking dish, covered with butter and breadcrumbs, then baked.
Chop fine sufficient onions to measure one cup and then place two tablespoons of fat in a frying pan. When hot, add the onions, cover, and simmer slowly until tender. Season with salt, paprika, and three tablespoons of vinegar. Cool and serve as a relish.
CREAM OF ONION SOUP
Slice six medium-sized onions and chop one green pepper. Cook onion and pepper in two tablespoons butter for five minutes without browning. Add one quart water and cook until onions are soft (about forty minutes), then rub through a sieve. Melt one tablespoon butter, add four tablespoons flour and stir to a paste. Gradually add two cups scalded milk, stirring constantly. Combine mixtures and add salt and cayenne to taste. Heat to boiling, remove from the fire, and add the yolk of an egg slightly beaten. Two tablespoons cheese may be added to soup when adding egg yolk. Pass Parmesan cheese and hot, crisp crackers. Serve very hot.
Peel and slice into even rounds four medium-sized onions. Place them first in milk, then in flour. Fry in very hot fat for eight minutes. Remove them carefully and lay on a cloth to dry. Place a folded napkin on a dish, lay the onions on, and serve very hot. Garnish with fried parsley.
Peel the onions and place in a saucepan with a little warmed butter. Add sugar and salt to taste, and pour over it a little soup stock. Place over a moderate fire and cook slowly till quite tender and the outside brown. Remove and serve on a dish. A little of the liquor, thickened with flour, may be served as a sauce.
Peel six large onions and cook them in boiling salted water until almost tender. Remove from the water and take out the inner portions of the onions, leaving the outside layers in the shape of a cup. Chop the portions of the onions which have been removed and mix with one cup dried bread crumbs. Melt two tablespoons butter, and add to it the chopped onion and bread crumbs. Then add one-half teaspoon salt, one-eighth teaspoon pepper, and one-half teaspoon celery salt. Stir all together for a few minutes over the flame. Add one-fourth cup milk, and if it is not sufficient to make the stuffing moist, add more. Fill the onion shells with the stuffing, place in a hot oven, and bake until brown. Serve immediately.
WHITE SPANISH ONION SAUCE
To make a sauce very mild and delicate, use Spanish onions, which can be procured from the beginning of September to Christmas. Peel half a dozen white Spanish onions, cut them in half, and lay them in a pan of spring water for a quarter of an hour. Boil them an hour, or till quite tender, drain them well on a hair sieve, and then chop and bruise them fine. Put them into a clean saucepan with flour and butter, half a teaspoon of salt, and some cream or good milk. Stir it till it boils, rub the whole through a sieve, adding milk or cream to make it of a proper thickness. This is the usual sauce for boiled rabbits, mutton, or tripe, but there requires plenty of it. Two or three tablespoons of cream added just before serving will be found to improve its appearance very much.
Have the onions gathered when quite dry and ripe, and with the fingers, take off the thin outside skin. Then with a silver knife (steel should not be used, as it spoils the color of the onions), remove one more skin, when the onion will look quite clear. Have ready some very dry bottles or jars, and as fast as the onions are peeled, put them in. To each quart of vinegar, add two teaspoons allspice and two teaspoons whole black pepper. Pour over sufficient cold vinegar to cover them, taking care that each jar has its share of the latter ingredients. Tie down with bladder and put them in a dry place. In a fortnight they will be fit for use. This is a most simple recipe and very delicious, the onions being nice and crisp. They should be eaten within six or eight months after being done, as the onions are liable to become soft.
If you like to cook with onions, try this Onion Holder for Slicing:
It is safe, made of stainless steel, and eliminates odors. Will also slice tomatoes, potatoes, and more. Includes a storage pouch.
Do you have any favorite recipes using onions? Leave a comment below.