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Onions are part of the Allium family which contains over 300 species; this also includes Leeks, Garlic, Spring Onions, Shallots and Chives. The pungent onion smell is caused by the presence of allicins, they are released when part of the plant is cut. This is what causes your eyes to water.
Onions (Allium spp) are planted throughout the year depending on the region and climatic conditions.. It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months months for onions to germinate from seed to onion bulb. The plants are monitored closely for pests and diseases An agronomist is usually consulted during the season. The most recognisable sign that an onion crop has reached maturity is the fall of the leaf or the lodging.
Harvesting - the onions are lifted by running a metal rod underneath the buried onion bulb severing the roots and killing the plant. As the leaf dies the onion begins to develop its crispy husk exterior. Once harvested onions are then dried. This process is can be in bins by using fans as well as natural airflow or dried on the ground once lifted. Drying techniques depend on climatic conditions and regions grown.
Packing - onions are packed in various different ways. One example is: the onions pass through a series of conveyor belts where the tail and roots are removed, this is often done mechanically. Onions then pass inspection tables where graders monitor and remove non conforming onions..
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Onions might make you cry but their benefits outweigh this!