Onion Family

Red, yellow, white and Spanish onions, shallots, button (pearl) onions, spring onions (scallions), leeks and garlic are all part of this group. This is one of the oldest families of vegetables, used for centuries for their medicinal properties as well as being indispensable for flavouring many savoury dishes and excellent as vegetables in their own right.

To chop an onion

  1. Cut the point off the top of the onion. Pull off all the outer skin, leaving the root intact (this will help stop you crying). Cut the onion in half lengthways through the root.
  2. Hold each half, one at a time, between your thumb and fingers, flat side down on a board, and cut from the root end to the tip at intervals.
  3. Now cut across the first set of cuts. Discard the root end. To chop finely, make all the cuts close together. To chop coarsely, make the cuts wider.


To slice an onion

  1. Don’t peel the onion. Hold it firmly between your thumb and middle finger, with the root end in your hand. Cut into fairly thin slices, starting at the tip end. When you get to the root end, discard it.
  2. Peel off the brown, outer layer and the next layer, if it seems tough, from each slice.
  3. Separate the slices into rings.