They’re wonderful on burgers and cooked down to put on a steak. They season stews and add zest to salads, but there are dozens of other uses for onions outside of just the flavor. And they don’t even all involve eating them! Today we’re going to discuss the benefits and uses of onions for survival and for every day hacks.
First off, I need to expound the health benefits of them, since their number-one use is consumption. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including quercetin that help protect your heart and immune system, they’re low-calorie, and they keep that creepy guy or chick in the cubicle next to you from creeping on you.
Of course, the same thing applies to nice people too, so you may not what to use them as a repellant – kidding!
Seriously, eat onions. They’re healthy.
Now, besides slicing onto a burger, or dicing up for your hotdog, what else are onions good for? Let’s find out.
Bugs and Bug Bites
Onions are a great mosquito repellant if you put it on your skin. Of course, it’s an everything-else repellent, too, so take that with a grain of salt. However, onions are wonderful for soothing bites as soon as you get them. As a matter of fact, this was something we used regularly when I was a kid, especially for bee stings.
It smells to high heaven, but it works. Just rub a piece of onion on the bite and it will take the sting out. The same goes for burns.
Help Dizziness and Vertigo
If you’re feeling a little woozy, sniff some onion. Just cut one open and smell it. It’s as good as smelling salts and much handier. For instance, right now I can tell you right where my onions are, but what about my smelling salts? Oh wait. I don’t keep smelling salts in the house! But I do have onions.
I don’t know how this works, but it does. As a kid, we hardly ever wore shoes and our decks were all mostly made of wood That means that if you run across it barefoot, you were likely to get a splinter and let me tell you – a splinter of treated lumber in your foot becomes infected lickety-split and it hurts like crazy when it does.
The last thing you need, especially in a survival situation where doctors and antibiotics may be out of reach, is to get an infection that blooms into something that could kill you.
If you can’t get it out using your fingers, tape a piece onion onto the affected area and leave it there for an hour or two. It’ll help draw it out.
This one was new to me. I’d never heard of it until now, so I tried it out, on a small scale. I used it on one of my silver necklaces and it really did make it shine.
Simply mash the juice out of the onion add a little bit of water, then rub it on the silver. It polishes right up.
Onion skins have been used for centuries to make dye. Take a pantyhose and stuff it full of red (or yellow) onion skins, tying the open end shut. Add it to a pot full of several cups of boiling water and boil for about thirty minutes. If you want a brighter color, use more skins to less water. Let it cool and you have a permanent dye that you can use on cloth, easter eggs, or anything else that’s absorbent.
Revive Burned Rice
In a survival situation, food may be at a premium. Even today, wasting food is a costly habit, but if you burn the rice, you pretty much have to toss it, right? Not necessarily. Toss an onion on top of the rice and let it sit. The onion will absorb the burnt taste.
Extend the life of your Avocados
To keep your avocados from turning brown, cut a red onion or just slice off the end – and place it skin-side-up in a container, then put your avocados in. The onion will keep them from turning color. This also works for guacamole. Place slices of red onion on top of it.
Remove Rust from Kitchen Knives
There’s nothing worse for your knives than rust, whether they’re the ones you use in the kitchen or the one you keep in your pocket. If your knife gets rusty, run the blade through and onion a few times and the rust will come off as you slice.
Rid Your Skin of Blemishes
Quercetin is not only an antioxidant, it’s also an antibacterial that is good for many things, among them getting rid of skin blemishes such as pimples and acne. That’s because both are often caused by bacteria. Make a wash using onions and water and wipe onto your face. Leave it on all night or for fifteen minutes or so, then wash if you don’t want to smell like onions all the time.
Avoid Pet Messes
If your pet has a chewing problem or a specific place where he or she is prone to having inside toileting incidents, place a few slices of onion on a plate or towel and leave them there. Both cats and dogs are averse to the smell of onions and will avoid returning to that particular crime scene. If it’s a shoe problem, wipe an onion on part of the shoe and it’ll do the trick.
Warning note here though. If your pet appears to have an oddball affinity for the onions, don’t use this trick anymore because onions aren’t particularly good for them. So, keep an eye out at first, and if you’d rather avoid the risk, just use a combination of onion juice and water.
Make an Organic, Environmentally-Friendly Pesticide
Most bugs don’t like the smell of onions any more than we do, and if you add in a few more ingredients, you have a fairly effective pesticide. Combine four onions, two cloves of garlic, two tablespoons of cayenne pepper and a quart of water in your blender.
Blend until it it’s pureed then set it aside. In a separate container, add to tablespoons of dish soap to two gallons of water. Add the soapy water to the pureed onion mixture and stir well without causing the mixture to bubble because of the soap.
I’ve actually used this and, though the instructions say to add this straight to a sprayer, it gets clogged up so I allow the mixture to set for a couple of days in a bucket, stirring a few times a day, then I strain it to get the pulp out so that it doesn’t clog up my sprayer.
You can add neem oil to this too, if you have any. Or even a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. It may smell weird, but after you spritz it on the leaves of your plants, you won’t notice it nearly as much as the bugs will, and they’ll avoid it!
Remove Sweat Stains or Even Burn Marks from clothes and fabrics
Onions work much the same way that peroxide does, and rubbing it onto your clothes or fabrics, directly on the stain, will help remove these ugly marks so that you can wear the shirt again with confidence.
These are just a few uses of onions that I can think of and I’m sure there are many more. If you can think of them, please share them with us in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.