okra

Onions are a staple in lots of recipes for their flavor adding abilities. They can be pureed, minced, diced, sliced, and are readily available at most any grocery stores. Learn more about these amazing flavorful and edible roots below.

Onions are fully mature when their tops have fallen over. After pulling from the ground allow the onion to dry, clip the roots and cut the tops back to one inch. The key to preserving onions and to prevent bruising is to keep them cool, dry, and separated. In the refrigerator, wrapped separately in foil, onions can be preserved for as long as a year. The best way to store onions id in a mesh bag or nylon stocking. Place an onion in the bag and tie a knot or put a plastic tie between the onions and continue until the stocking is full. Loop the stocking over a rafter or nail in a cool dry building and when and onion is desired, simply clip off the bottom onion with a pair of scissors or remove the plastic tie. Another suggestion is to spread the onions out on a screen which will allow adequate ventilation but remember to keep them from touching each other. As a general rule, the sweeter the onion, the higher the water content, and therefore the less shelf life. A more pungent onion will store longer so eat the sweet varieties first and save the more pungent ones for storage.

Store chopped onions in the refrigerator in a sealed bag with the air removed for up to 5 days.

Did you know?

• Onion is Texas’s leading vegetable crop.

• Onions are a good source of Vitamin C, folic acid, and dietary fiber.

• Onions contain quercetin, a flavonoid, and antioxidant compound that reduces free radicals in the body.

• Onions can have blood sugar-lowering effects in humans.

Cleaning your grill

Using a wire brush to clean your grill can lead to parts of the metal particulate being left on the grill, transferred to the items being grilled, and then ingested. Instead of a wire brush, you can use an onion! Slice the onion in half and rub the flat edge along the grill as it’s heating up or while it’s cooling down. The acidity levels in the onion breaks down the leftover food to clean the grill. Be sure to use tongs, grilling gloves, or other specially made tools to keep your hands safe from the hot grill.

Spicy Okra

makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

• 2 packages frozen cut okra (10 oz each)

• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

• 1 onion (medium, coarsely chopped)

• 1 can tomatoes (14.5 oz, diced, unsalted)

• 1 jalapeno pepper (fresh, or habanero chile, pierced 3 times with a fork)

• ½ teaspoon salt

• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

1. Rinse okra in a colander under hot water.

2. Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes (including juice) and chile, and boil. Stir the mixture for 8 minutes.

4. Add okra and cook, gently stirring, until okra is tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Stir in salt and pepper, discard chile.

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