Why Onions Turn Green When Cooking

Why Onions Turn Green When Cooking

Cooking is one activity that requires attention, and this spans from the moments of picking out the recipes till the food is present. Being present while you are making a meal helps you identify what may be wrong with the food at the latter outcome or what is right with it.

Onion is a biennial plant that is grown for its edible bulb. Onion is usually added to various dishes all around the world, in a similar pattern as garlic.

Onion has a distinctive smell and flavor and adds to the taste of whatever it is added to. It is one of the many vegetables that is filled with loads of nutrients and is beneficial to the body.

In recent times, there have been various questions from people all around the world on the use of onions. One of the questions includes the change in color when cooking. Is it okay that onions turn green when cooking? What goes on when your onion changes color? Can it still be consumed?

These and more are the questions that will be answered right here.  

Why Do Onions Turn Green When Cooking?

red onions
Source: Epicurious

It is common for an onion to turn green when it is being cooked and a reaction often causes this, these reactions are the same reactions that create the aroma of onion and its family member garlic.

The chemical antecedents of these substances are present in the plant’s cells, but as you cut or grate them, they are exposed to one another and react with the enzyme-rich air. It is typical to notice that while some onions change color, others do not, and this is due to the onion’s age and maturity.

Older onions have a higher concentration of chemical precursors than fresh onions. In some parts of the world, it is believed that the greener the color of the onion, the more flavor it adds to the food.

Can You Prevent Your Onion From Turning Green?

Yes, you can prevent your onions from turning green when they are being cooked and the following are ways to do so;

  1. Ensure your onions are kept cold; when you begin to cut or grate, you can quickly and properly place them in the fridge. You should also cook your onions at a higher temperature than the regular, to get rid of the enzymes.
  2. Keep your onions from acids. If you are cooking anything that includes onions and acids, do not put them into the food at the same time, we recommend that onion is cooked first before you add the other recipes.
  3. Do not cook your onions alongside any of the family members, such as garlic. This is because they have the same antecedents and placing them together will increase the chances of creating green pigments.
Why Onions Turn Green When Cooking
Image: @Art_rich via Twenty20

Is It Safe To Eat Onions That Have Turned Green While Cooking?

Yes. It is safe to eat onions that have turned green as a result of cooking. It is believed that the greener the onion, the more the flavor, which makes it more delicious. Eating such onions will cause no harm to you or your body.

Is It Safe To Eat Red Onions That Have Turned Green?

Similar to the above-asked question, it is completely safe to eat red onions that have turned green. Remember that the pigments that form these colors are naturally red, but when exposed to an alkaline environment, they change to green or blue.

Why Do Onions Turn Blue When Cooking?

Onions turn blue when they are exposed to an alkaline environment; this is also the same for onions that turn green. However, they are healthy and can still be consumed.

Final Thoughts

While a lot of people are worried that colored onions can cause harm to the body, it is important that you know that they do not in any way cause harm to one’s health.

It is considered that the level of greenness determines how flavorful the onion is. Follow the steps above to prevent the colors when you cook.

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