An initiative of :

Stichting Food-Info> Questions and Answers > Food products > Fruits and vegetables

Where do onions come from ?

The exact origin of the onion is unknown, although ancient texts dating back to 3000 B.C. reveal that it was first grown in parts of Asia . Around this period it was also grown in China and later also in India . From there it must have been taken to Greece and Egypt, because it appears frequently in decorations and hieroglyphics in the pyramids. Onions were also used by the Greeks and the Romans.

As a member of the Allium family, which also includes garlic and leek, the Greeks grew the onion in the vegetable garden. One section of the Athenian market was even called “ta skoroda” which means “the garlic” and this indicates that the trade in Allium -species belonged to everyday life.

When the Romans introduced the onion in Europe it quickly became a popular vegetable. This emerges, among other things, from the brisk trade on the London market in the thirteenth century, where even imported onions were sold. From that moment onwards the onions gained ground, both inside and outside Europe.

Despite protracted social and religious taboos through the centuries, the onion has gradually regained respectability. In America, for example, the immigration of the Greeks, Italians and Spanish had a great influence. In their cultures the onion was indeed extremely popular.

Onions are now grown worldwide in many varieties, sizes and flavours and they have gained a permanent place in our present-day kitchen, both raw and cooked.

Source : is an initiative of Stichting Food-Info, The Netherlands

Free counters!