One of my common food themes this past year was a deep craving for onions. It started out with caramelizing a cast iron skillet full of onions almost weekly during the first few months of the pandemic, and sprinkling them on everything I cooked throughout the week. Then as Spring started to return here in California in late January/early February I started to make Purple Pickles (recipe coming soon) with red cabbage, red onions, and radishes.
Last week I found a recipe for onion marmalade, full of cane sugar, and I immediately wanted to explore making a healthy and delicious version of this recipe. You have probably experienced Onion Marmalade in dishes like your favorite pizza or veg burgers, and not even known it. You can find my version of this fan-favorite food below.
In addition to the upheaval we all experienced during the Covid pandemic, at the beginning of 2020 I found out I had been exposed to mold, and was in the process of “digesting” natural treatments to detox my body from what had been mysteriously effecting my health the past few years.
Beyond their potential immune boosting powers, it turns out that onions can be a major helper in balancing your body after mold exposure.
Like garlic, onions have a detoxifying effect on the body and are highly anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic. Another great thing about onions, they help to flush excess fluids from the body. It is common for mold and yeast victims to experience water retention. Onions also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lower blood sugar levels, and improved bone health. Onions are nutrient-dense, meaning they are low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals.
From the USDA - one cup of onions contain:
15 grams of carbohydrate
0.16 grams of fat
2.7 grams of fibre
1.76 grams of protein
6.78 grams of sugar
12% of the daily requirement of vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and manganese
small amounts of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and the antioxidants quercetin and sulfur
Onions are one of the main dietary sources of prebiotic fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. This leads to the formation of short-chain fatty acids that have been found to improve colon health, reduce inflammation, and cut your risk of colon cancer. A diet rich in prebiotics helps improve the absorption of important minerals like calcium, which may improve bone health.
For some sensitive people, onions can cause unpleasant digestive symptoms. For instance, those with IBS are often prescribed to eliminate them from their diet. So, like all medicine, onions are not the right food prescription for everyone, and it is up to you to consult your health professionals to decide what is best for your overall health.
ONION MARMALADE INGREDIENTS
2 cups thinly sliced organic red onion
1 cup thinly sliced organic shallots
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon pink salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh rosemary (keep whole)
½ cup granulated date sugar
3 tablespoons dry white wine
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Add olive oil to a large skillet and warm on medium heat. Use a cast iron skillet if you have one, otherwise any large pan will do. Stir in onions and keep the pan covered until the onions begin to change color. When they do, add in salt, pepper, bay leaf, and rosemary sprigs and cook on medium low heat. After 20 minutes add in the date sugar, wine and vinegar and simmer until most of the liquids have evaporated and the onions are nice and soft – about 30 minutes, stirring frequently so that the mixture does not burn. When finished remove your pan from the heat, and pull out the bulky herbs. After cooling you can store your Onion Marmalade in the fridge to use for up to two weeks without canning.
Onion Marmalade goes great on salads, veg tacos, lentil burgers, and as a base layer on a cauliflower crust pizza.