How to store onions
Onions are considered indispensable kitchen ingredients. They come in various different colors, shapes, and sizes. Every single one has unique cooking uses. Due to the fact that onions are culinary staples, they tend to be bought in bulk. The problem is that it is very easy to end up with onions that are spoiled simply because they are not properly stored. Fortunately, it is not difficult to learn how to store onions.
Wondering how long do onions last when stored and how to store them? Some of the most important things that you have to remember are presented below.
What are the Proper Storage Conditions
When storing onions, it is really important that they are stored in dark, cool dry, and well-ventilated rooms. Examples of proper conditions include cellars, garages, basements, and pantries.
The problem with most onions is that they will easily absorb moisture. Whenever humidity or temperatures are high, onions end up rotting or sprouting.
For most onions, the ideal storage temperature is 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 10 degrees Celsius). This helps maintain onion characteristics.
Another important thing to remember is that you have to guarantee proper ventilation. This is necessary to prevent rotting and molding. It is best to use something like bamboo steamers, open baskets, netted bags or mesh bags for storage.
Do not use plastic bags to store onions. This can easily make them spoil very fast since ventilation is poor. Also, darkness increases the onion’s shelf life. When sunlight is not present, humidity and temperature changes are less likely to happen.
Simply put, the best possible way to store your regular onions is to put them in a dry, well-ventilated, dark and cool room.
Storing Whole Onions Inside The Fridge
Onions you buy from the store have papery skin. This is because they were cured after harvesting. The process removes extra moisture and makes onions last a lot longer. Due to this process, you want to store onions in a dry and dark place. Such conditions guarantee that the onion cannot absorb a lot of moisture and that humidity and heat are not problems.
If you decide to keep your whole onions inside a refrigerator, you expose them to humid, cold conditions. Moisture will be easily absorbed so the onions spoil faster and become mushy.
How Long Do Onions Last In The Fridge?
Fortunately, when considering diced, sliced or peeled onions, this rule does not apply. You can store peeled onions inside the refrigerator for a maximum of 14 days. If you cut onions, they will last less. Sliced and diced onions are going to last for a maximum of 10 days.
How To Store Onions During Different Processing Stages
Different storage conditions are recommended for onions at different processing stages. The following applies:
The best way to store peeled onions is inside the fridge. This avoids contamination from bacteria. Place the onions inside airtight containers and make sure that the fridge temperature is under 37 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the peeled onions to last for up to two weeks inside the refrigerator.
Diced, Cut Or Sliced Onions
You can store cut onions inside the refrigerator for a maximum of 10 days. You have to wrap them in plastic wrap. Alternatively, they have to be placed in resealable bags.
Another thing that you can do is to buy pre-sliced onions. They are available in most supermarkets. Keep these refrigerated and always use them before the listed expiration date.
When looking at long-term use, diced, sliced or cut onions can be put inside the freezer for a period of three to six months. The preferred use is in cooked dishes, like stews, casseroles, and soups.
These can be stored inside a fridge for a maximum of five days. All you have to do is put them inside resealable bags or airtight containers. Make sure you do this a few hours after you cook them. When you leave them outside for a longer period of time, bacteria will appear.
Another good option is to cook the onions and then store them inside a freezer. This extends their life for up to three months.
A cheap and effective way to extend an onion shelf life is to pickle them. You store them inside a solution that is going to hinder bacteria growth, which is exactly what normally spoils vegetables. If you preserve the onions, it is possible for them to last a maximum of six months.
In order to pickle your onions, peel them and put them inside a ceramic or glass jar. Fill that jar with vinegar. Then, add a combination of spices (based on taste), sugar, and salt. After you open the jar you used to store the pickled onions, you need to put the container inside the refrigerator.
How To Store Shallots
Shallots are very similar to onions but they have a taste that is sweeter and milder. Similarly to onions, you have to store shallots in a dry, well-ventilated and cool place. The best rooms of the home are still the garage, pantry, cellar, and basement. Also, it is best to keep the shallots in the bag they came in.
You want to store shallots in a bamboo steamer, mesh bag, pantyhose or open basked so that proper ventilation is guaranteed. When you sore shallots in this way, you can expect them to last for up to one month.
Shallots can also be stored inside the freezer so you extend their life for a maximum of six months. In order to freeze the shallots, separate cloves and peel off the skin. Peeled shallots can be placed in resealable bags and/or airtight containers. This allows proper freezer storage.
Other Things To Consider About Onion Storage
The fundamentals of how to store onions are very easy to understand. However, there might be some extra questions you may have. The most common ones are the following:
Can I Dehydrate Onions To Cook With Them?
You can do this and, in fact, many cooks prefer dehydrated onions. Most of the methods involve blanched onions. They are then dried inside an oven or a dehydrator for six to 10 hours. Onions do vary in terms of how much water they contain, based on picking conditions.
Generally speaking, 12 pounds of raw onions produce around 1.5 pounds when drying onions. Store these properly since dried onions can easily reabsorb moisture. Airtight containers are mandatory.
Can You Save Half An Onion?
Yes, you can save half an onion. There’s no point to throw it away when you can keep it in the fridge just as you would keep diced or peeled onions. If you wrap the onion tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a resealable bag, you can store it for up to seven days. The cut onion won’t absorb germs and it won’t release toxins into the air if it properly covered in plastic wrap.
Can I Freeze Onions For Cooking?
Onions can be stored inside your fridge, as already mentioned, and they can also be frozen. However, because onion texture deteriorates during freezing, you need to be sure that you do not freeze raw onions.
To freeze onions, you have to:
- Peel the onions.
- Dice or slice the onions.
- Place the onions in a freezer bag and seal it. Make sure you squeeze out the air.
- Extra tip – freeze the onions in portions you would normally use in your recipes because onions do not refreeze well.
Can I Use Frozen Onions When Cooking?
Most cooks agree that frozen onions can be used when cooking but there are problems associated with taste and texture. Frozen vegetables, in general, lose the natural crunch they have when they are fresh. Firmer vegetables always hold up a lot better to freezing.
With frozen onions, you need to take into account that they are weaker than the fresh ones. However, since they are stored in a different way than in the pantry, you save a lot of time when you actually start to cook. They are very good in dishes like sauces or soups. In other dishes, it is better to use fresh onions so what you cook will dictate whether or not frozen onions should be used.