Science factoid - Why are Onions Sweet?
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  1. #1
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    Default Science factoid - Why are Onions Sweet?

    Why is it that onions taste much sweeter when cooked than when raw?
    The main reason is that they contain a substance called fructan which is not itself sweet tasting, but which breaks down into fructose, a sugar, when cooked. So when chefs talk about caramelization, they are referring not only to the slight burning of sugar to give toffee-like flavours, but to the breakdown of long polysaccharide chains into shorter, simpler, sweeter-tasting chemicals.
    Onions also contain substances similar to artificial sweeteners, but the natural versions in the humble onion taste much nicer than the synthetic ones. This is because many molecules exist as two distinct types that are mirror images; a good analogy is metal screws, which mostly have right-hand threads, but which could just as easily work the other way round. Natural molecules are all of the left-handed variety, which means that our bodies don't handle right-handed molecules very well. The onion tastes nice and natural because it contains only L molecules, whereas the synthetic sweeteners contain both L and R, so they don't taste right and we can't digest them.
    Happy cooking Currynauts!
    Heston Ferrethal
    Last edited by ferret; 27-01-2013 at 10:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for this Tim.
    It's always good to know a bit of the science of it all from time to time.
    Cheers,
    Mick

  3. #3
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    sced is offline Senior Member Curry Master
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    Yes i agree very interesting
    pete
    I posted on Real Curry Recipes so can you!

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    It would seem Ferret, that you truly know your onions!

    Malc.
    I posted on Real Curry Recipes so can you!

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    Clever stuff Tim.

    cheers,

    Graham.
    I posted on Real Curry Recipes so can you!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Malc_ View Post
    It would seem Ferret, that you truly know your onions!

    Malc.
    I like it! As an onion lover who lives in France, I have always had a hankering for a beret and stripey jumper and a bicyclette laden with onions.
    Ho-hee-ho-hee-haw, mes petits Currynauts!
    Marcel Ferrét

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