Storing onions is not that difficult and they will last for about six months if done properly. Nobody ever wants to take the time to grow fresh produce only to have it rot away before it can be eaten. It’s a waste of time and money when our homegrown vegetables go to waste. Harvesting at the right time and proper storage will reduce your wasted produce tremendously.
Most onions take about twelve weeks to mature to the point that they are ready for consumption. The onion tops will shrink down and appear to die off. This is the telltale sign of when it is time to harvest your onions. If flowers start appearing on the stalks, the onions have been ready and needed to be harvested several days ago. Get the onions out of the ground immediately or they can begin to rot.
Some gardeners believe letting the freshly harvested onions sit in the sunlight for a couple of days helps to keep them preserved. This process will discolor any white onions so be cautious if you choose to try this practice.
Storing Whole Onions
Onions are relatively easy to store but when you have just harvested a ton of them, it takes planning. If you have a shed area, place the onions on an old screen for a few days inside of the shed. As the onions dry, the soil that was on the veggies will also dry up and fall off. The less dirt on the onion and the drier it is, the longer it will keep.
Once most of the debris is off, you must find a cool, dark place to store your produce. Never keep onions in plastic as plastic will enable mold growth. Mold will cause your onions to become inedible hence waste all of your efforts bringing the growing to fruition.
One of the strangest but most effective ways to store onions is by using pantyhose. It sounds crazy but they will keep for about six months with this method. The key to this storage method is to place one onion at a time into the legs of the hose. Yes, be sure they are clean first! Put an onion into the stockings and tie it off. Add another onion and tie it off again. Continue this process until all of your onions are wearing pantyhose! You need to hang the pantyhose in a cool, dark space such as a basement or shed. This will keep your onions fresh for about six months.
Can I Freeze Onions?
Another option for preserving onions through winter is freezing. Onions can be cut or diced and stored in freezer bags for use at a later date. They will never be like fresh onions as raw onions do get soggy in the freezer. If you are storing onions for soups, stews, or sauces, freezing will work just fine.
For those that love caramelized onions, they can cook fresh onions and freeze them for when they need them. Cook your onions as usual and be sure to let them come to room temperature. Separate them into plastic bags that will allow you to use one bag for each recipe. Caramelized onions will taste fresh if sauteed quickly while frozen. Never thaw precooked onions or they will get soggier.
Storing Onions Safely
If onions are not stored properly, they can not only get soft and go bad but grow mold as well. Eating moldy food can create health issues. Proper storage will reduce this risk and make your freshly grown produce as healthy and natural as you anticipated it would be for serving to your loved ones.
Want to learn more about storing onions?
For more information, visit:
Preserving Food Safely: Storing Onions
Iowa State University’s Harvesting and Storing Onions