Every day we use many vegetables in our kitchens to prepare various meals. And while a lot of them can have quite a few purposes, none is as versatile as the onion. Often known as the king of vegetables, onions suffer neglect when it comes to storing them properly so that they stay fresh for a long time.
As onion lovers, it took us a while to learn how to store these veggies so we don’t have to toss them out before we chop them up. We combined everything we’ve learned along the way to help you store your onions properly so they can retain their freshness longer.
What You Will Need For This
No matter the method you choose, preparation for storing isn’t rocket science. You will need the bare minimum, including:
- Glass container or airtight bag
- Zip-lock bag
- Paper towels
- Cloth bag
1. Storing Diced Onions
If you want to store pre-cut onions in your fridge or freezer, all you need is an airtight container. We recommend glass containers because plastic can absorb smells. An alternative would be airtight freezer bags. However, due to freezer bags being a one time use item, few prefer them.
2. Storing Onions Sliced in Half
If you don’t want to spend time chopping or slicing your onions but want them to take up a little less space in your fridge, you can store them in halves. After cutting your onion in half, place it in a Ziploc bag and toss it in the fridge.
3. Storing Whole Onions
If you have space in your fridge crisper and want to keep your onions there, you will need paper towels and a cloth bag. Moisture is one of the prime reasons onions go bad so keeping them in a cloth bag or wrapped in paper towel can help this.
You can also keep whole onions in your pantry. Onions need dark, dry areas with good ventilation in order to remain fresh longer.
How to Store Onions
As mentioned above, there are quite a few methods to store onions. Which one you choose will depend on the type of onions you have and how long you want to keep them fresh. However, there are four general rules for storing onions for a longer time:
1. Cool Environment
Always keep your onions in a cool location. The best temperature for this purpose is 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that the location you store them isn’t humid, otherwise, they will sprout or rot due to the moisture.
2. Good Ventilation
Onions need to breathe, which is why mesh bags and baskets are a fantastic ways to store them. However, never store onions in plastic tie-off bags because moisture will get trapped on the inside causing your onions to go soft, moldy, or sprout.
3. Dark Places
The pantry, the basement, or even your garage can be a very good spot for storing onions. Dark spaces help to avoid drastic temperature changes.
Likewise, keeping them in the sun for a bit and then putting them away can be a terrible idea because it will create moisture in the onions. And, as you know, they don’t work well together.
4. Dry Places
As we mentioned a few times, humidity is horrible if you want your onions to last a long time. This is why it is crucial to create a dry space to use as your onion storage spot.
Storing Onions in Bulk
Many of us prefer to be ready for the long run and stock up on onions and other supplies well in advance. However, how does one store onions in bulk? Well, the answer is simple – ensure that the onions are dry and use some mesh bags to store them. Also, make sure that they still have their peel on and are out of direct sunlight and in a dark, dry place.
Pro Tip: If you’re out of mesh bags, pick a dark, dry spot to store your onions, preferably under a window that doesn’t receive sunlight. Lay newspapers on the floor and spread the onions on the newspaper. If you have the time, toss them around first. If kept dry, bulk onions spread on the floor on top of papers can last up to three months.
Storing Cut, Diced, and Chopped Onions
This can be easily summed up in three steps:
- Peel the onion, chop, dice, or cut it to the preferred size.
- Store them inside a glass jar, glass food container, or air-tight container. Make sure that you don’t use plastic containers since they absorb smells. If you lack all the above, you can just put them in a bowl and then cover it with cellophane wrap.
- Store in your fridge.
This method is good only for storing onions for one week.
Storing Onions in Your Fridge
Many assume that since most veggies stay good when kept in the fridge, onion would also benefit from being refrigerated.
Remember, if you have whole onions, the fridge is not your best bet. They have better chances of staying fresh in a dark, cool, dry, and well-aerated place. However, if you have some onions already cut that you have used in a meal prep that you want to store for a short term, then you should keep them in the fridge in an air-tight container. However, remember that they will not last more than a week.
Another way to do it is by removing the top peel of the onion and wrapping it in a paper towel. Next, you will need to place the onions inside a cloth bag since this way there will be enough aeration. Finally, place the cloth bag inside the fridge crisper. This method will ensure that your onions last for one to two months.
Freezing is another option for storing onions, and quite frankly, it is the one that will allow you to keep them fresh for the longest time. However, it does have one flaw – these onions will not be crisp and will only be fresh for use in cooking. If you want to freeze the onions, you should slice them, put them in a sheet pan and flash freeze them. Never freeze onions whole.
Once you froze your onions, put them into a freezer bag and ensure that there’s as little air as possible. Vacuum packing also works great. If you have a big bulk of onion that you want to freeze, you should consider working in batches. This way, the strong onion odor will not make your fridge and freezer smelly. Once they are frozen, it won’t be noticeable.
Hopefully, this tutorial gave you more ideas about how to store your onions properly for both short and long periods of time. Considering that onions are a staple in every cook’s kitchen, everyone should know how to keep them fresh! They’re easy to grow, and even easier to store! Moreover, this is important information if you plan growing onions in your garden.
Do you have any other methods for storing onions? Share them with us in the comment section down below and if you liked the article, please go ahead and share it!