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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Onions are mentioned in , among the articles of food for which the Israelites murmured. The onion was early employed as an article of diet in Egypt. It is distinguished from other species of Allium by its fistular leaves and swelling stalks, and is well known to be cultivated in all parts of Europe and in most parts of Asia. Its native country is not known; but it is probable that some part of the Persian region may have first produced it in a wild state, as many species of Allium are found in the mountainous chain which extends from the Caspian to Cashmere, and likewise in the Himalayan Mountains. It is common in Persia, where it is called piaz, and has been long introduced into India, where it receives the same name. The onions of warm dry countries grow to a considerable size, and, instead of being acrid and pungent in taste, are comparatively bland, and mild and nutritious articles of diet. This is particularly conspicuous in the Portugal onions, which are largely imported into this country. Other celebrated varieties are those of Spain and Tripoli; but Egypt itself is famed for the production of fine onions, as stated by Hasselquist: 'Whoever has tasted onions in Egypt, must allow that none can be had better in any part of the universe. Here they are sweet; in other countries they are nauseous and strong. Here they are soft; whereas in the northern and other parts they are hard, and their coats are so compact, that they are difficult of digestion. Hence they cannot in any place be eaten with less prejudice and more satisfaction than in Egypt.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Onion'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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