Most onions respond well to organic gardening methods, so if you decide to try some in your garden, you may end up with a bigger yield than you expect. So once again, you may be out canvassing the neighborhood with free veggies at the end of the season. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try drying and storing them instead.
It doesn’t take all that much extra effort to ensure that you have plenty of fresh, homegrown Vidalias or another variety of onion available all through the winter. Just keep in mind that your onions need to be thoroughly dried before you make any attempt to store them at all, or they’re likely to rot. Stored onions are very susceptible to fungus-borne diseases.
Harvesting Onions to Dry
To start with, don’t harvest your onion crop until the tops of the onions begin to dry up and fall over on their own. At that point, carefully lift them out of the ground early on a sunny morning and leave them in the field until late afternoon, so they have time to air dry. Then remove the roots and clip the tops back to one inch.
How to Dry Onions
Once the tops have dried for several days, spread your onions out in a relatively cool, dry, and (above all) well-ventilated place out of direct sunlight. Let them dry for 2-3 weeks; you’ll be able to tell they’re dry enough when several layers of skin are crisp, papery, and of a uniform color. Be sure the neck doesn’t slide at all when you roll it between thumb and forefinger.
Storing Dried Onions
Now that your onions are dry, they should be stored somewhere where plenty of air can flow around each onion, keeping them dry at all times. Check your onions regularly; if you find a spoiled one, discard it immediately before it infects the others. Make sure onions are not stored in plastic bags, only mesh bags for airflow.
Want to learn more about drying onions for storage?