When it comes to cooking, there are not many dishes that don’t use onions. When growing them in your garden, you can be awash with them come harvest time.
New gardeners in this position may wonder how to deal with loads of onions to prevent them from going off. One of the great things with onions is keeping them a while if you treat them right.
In our guide, you can learn more about harvesting onions, how to store them and much more besides.
Do You Wash Onions Before Storing?
When storing onions from the garden, you may be tempted to wash them to remove any dirt. When harvesting, washing onions is the last thing, you should do. (Read our Guide to Growing Onions in Containers)
Onion sets are best stored in cool, dry, dark and ventilated rooms. Onions can easily absorb moisture, and should temperatures or humidity be high; they can sprout or rot.
How Do You Preserve Onions from the Garden?
When storing onions from garden, you can discover thick-necked, fresh green onions and spring onions (wet onion varieties) don’t store well. You will need to use these varieties first after harvest.
Should you have an abundance of these, you can freeze them for storage rather than curing them.
Another thing is never to store onions close to potatoes. Onions cause your potatoes to go off quicker. Likewise, the potatoes cause your onions to go off faster as well.
Use onions to make onion powder and onion salt. So long as you dry your onions correctly, they’ll keep indefinitely.
When planning onion types for next year, select keeping onions or storage onions varieties, you know you can store for long periods.
The onions that are dry and pungent are the best types to store for long periods. (Learn How to Grow Green Onions in Water)
How Long Do You Hang Onions to Dry?
Place your whole onion plant, and make sure to include all the bulbs and leaves, in a cool, dry place.
It is possible to hang your onions in bunches, or you can spread them on a rack to cure. Much of this is a personal preference and available space.
It would help if you allowed your onions to dry for two to three weeks. If they need longer, check the tops and necks to be sure they are dry to the touch, and your outer skins are shrunken and feel papery.
Rather than remove leaves, you let them stay, or if you plan on braiding your onions, you can trim them to no less than an inch of the bulb.
Should you plan on storing onions lose, then don’t cut them short because you shorten the storage life.
Once you hand them for this duration, your onions are ready to store.
Please keep them in a cool, dark place. Make sure the temperature is 32 to 40 f. Make sure the storage area offers good air circulation and limited light exposure. Keep them in the dark, and they won’t deteriorate or begin to sprout. If the conditions are right, you can store your onions for months.
What is the Best Way to Store Onions?
Gardeners love to grow onions as they are easy to grow, and produce a decent crop for little effort.
When you harvest your onions, you can find you have quite a lot remaining, and the good thing with onions is, once harvested, you can keep them a long time when you store them correctly.
It is advisable to learn how to store onions and keep them for months over the winter. You need to be careful as some varieties don’t last, such as store fresh green onions. (Read Can You Still Eat Potatoes That Have Sprouted)
You will discover, these types you can keep in the refrigerator crisper for a week or a bit longer, yet they are best eaten when fresh. Such onion varieties are used for stems as much as they are for their bulbs. Stems have to be kept green, so they are crisp and offer the best taste.
You can store green onions, which still have roots in 1/4-inch of water in your refrigerator, as this can help keep your onions fresher for longer. You will, however, have to change the water daily to prevent bacteria.
You may think about how to keep onions well into the winter months. Bulbs are tough and keep well when you harvest at the right time, and you allow them to harden off. Once you dig them up, then you need to cure and store them. (Find the Best Garden Hose)
The right time to start onions curing is before harvest when sprouts die back. Curing onions dry the bulb’s outer skins, which stops them from being prone to rotting and going moldy.
Spread the onions on a single layer on a clean, dry surface. A basket is ideal as it offers lots of air circulation.
Let them dry for two to three weeks until necks dry, and the outer skin is papery.
Once they are cured, you can store onions a couple of different ways.
Cut off the onion tops or necks of the onions after you have cured them.
Discard any bad ones.
Use bulbs with thick necks first since they are moist and won’t store as well. A fun way of storing onions is to use old stockings. Make a knot between each bulb then hang your nylons. Using this method offers lots of air circulation and makes it easy to cut when you need an onion or two.
A more common way of storing garden onions is to place them in a crate or basket.
All garden food keeps best in cool conditions, as this slows decay.
Onions need temps of 32 to 40 F.
Unheated basements, garages are suitable so long as internal temperatures don’t reach freezing. You need to be sure this location is dry and has low humidity to prevent rot and mold. Storage time varies between onion varieties, yet some bulbs can be stored for several months.