The Best Way To Store Onions

Close up of crate of variety of onions
Aleksander Rubtsov/Getty Images

What is the best way to store onions? You may have a bumper crop from your garden. Perhaps you bought them in bulk at the farmers market, grocery or warehouse store. They were a good deal at the time, but only if you can use them before they go bad. With the proper storage technique, you can keep them for fresh months and months.

But there is also the question of how to store onions once you've already cut it in half and used part of a bulb, or you have sliced and diced it.

How long can you keep those, and how?

Storing Sweet Onions

Sweet onions produced in early summer have a high moisture content and they will not keep as long. To keep them longer, the National Onion Council recommends wrapping each one in a paper towel and keeping them in your refrigerator. You will need to use them within a few weeks.

Storing Dry Bulb Onions

The pungent onions harvested in late summer and early fall can be stored for months. They have sulfurous compounds (the stuff that makes you cry when you cut them) that help preserve them. The National Onion Council says to store dry bulb onions in a place that is well ventilated, cool and dry. You don't want to store them in a plastic bag, they need to breathe.

What You Need: pantyhose

  1. Inspect all onions for soft spots, mold or other signs of damage. Only perfect onions are suitable for long-term storage. If they are already sprouting, don't think of storing them - use them immediately.
  1. Cut off the legs from a clean pair of pantyhose.
  2. Drop an onion into the foot of the first leg, and tie a knot.
  3. Continue adding onions and tying knots until both legs are full.
  4. Hang the pantyhose in a cool, dry place (a location with a temperature between 40-45° is ideal).
  5. When you need an onion, simply cut a slit in the side of one of the tied off sections. This will allow you to reuse the pantyhose again and again. Next time, just slip an onion into the section via the slit.

    Tips for Storing Dry Bulb Onions:

    1. If the onions are homegrown, allow them to dry before storing.
    2. Avoid storing onions near other produce. Many fruits and vegetables will absorb the onion's flavor.
    3. Onions can also be stored in mesh bags or braided.
    4. Expect your onions to last up to eight months in storage.

    Storing Cut Onions

    It is an urban legend that cut onions are a magnet for bacteria and viruses. In fact, the cut surface is acidic and has sulfur compounds which inhibit bacteria and mold. You can keep cut onions once you have cut into the bulb or sliced or chopped them. Keep them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for seven to ten days, according to the USDA and the National Onion Council. You can also freeze sliced or chopped onions to use in recipes, although they won't be as crisp when thawed.

    Continue Reading...