How to Store Onions: Proven Methods for Long-Term Freshness

Do you struggle to keep your onions fresh for an extended period of time? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will teach you the ins and outs of proper onion storage. From curing and long-term storage methods to the best ways to store cut and sweet onions, we’ve got you covered. Say goodbye to wasted produce and hello to fresh, flavorful onions every time. Get ready to take your onion storage game to the next level!

How to Store Onions Long-Term

Storing onions properly is essential to preserving their freshness and taste. Two great ways to store onions long term include curing and freeze drying.

  • Curing
  • Freeze-drying

Curing

One great way to store onions long-term is by curing them. Curing onions is a process where the onions are left to dry in a warm, well-ventilated place before being stored. This removes excess moisture and helps to toughen the skin, which in turn helps to protect the onion from decay. 

Here’s how to cure onions:

  1. Cut the stem and roots off the onions, leaving about 1/4 inch of the stem attached.
  2. Place the onions in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area. A garage or shed is a great place to cure onions. Avoid areas with high humidity or direct sunlight.
  3. Leave the onions to cure for about 2 weeks. During this time, the onions will dry out and the skin will become tough.

Once the curing process is complete, the onions are ready for long-term storage. The ideal storage conditions for onions are cool, dark and dry, with a temperature range between 32-40°F (0-4°C) and relative humidity of 60-70%. This can be achieved by storing them in a cool room or a root cellar, or even in a basement or garage with good ventilation.

To check for spoilage, inspect the onions regularly, they will be spoiled if they are soft, moldy or have a strong smell. Discard any spoiled onions immediately to prevent them from contaminating the others.

curing onions

With proper curing and storage, your onions will stay fresh for several months, allowing you to enjoy their unique flavor and texture whenever you need them.

Freeze-Drying

Another way to keep raw onions fresh for a long time is a food storage preservation method called freeze-drying. See if a home freeze dryer is worth it for you. It removes moisture from food, which helps to prolong its shelf life. Onions are a great candidate for freeze-drying because they have a high water content, which makes them susceptible to spoilage. 

Here’s how to freeze-dry onions:

  1. Start by preparing the onions. Peel and chop the onions into small pieces.
  2. Spread the onion pieces out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the onions until they are solid.
  3. Once the onions are frozen solid, transfer them to a freeze-dryer. A freeze-dryer works by freezing the food and then removing the moisture by sublimation.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific home freeze-dryer. The freeze-drying process typically takes several hours to complete.
  5. Once the freeze-drying process is complete, the onions should be dry and brittle. Break them into smaller pieces if needed.
  6. Store the freeze-dried onions in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag with oxygen absorbers. They can be stored at room temperature for several months.

Freeze-dried onions have many benefits, they can be reconstituted by adding water, they have a longer shelf life than fresh onions, and can be stored in small spaces. They are also great to use in cooking, as they retain their flavor and texture. Just remember that they don’t have the same texture as fresh onions, they are brittle and can be crumbled. See a full list of other types of food that can be freeze-dried.

Also, see how to store these other common types of food:


Storing Cut Onions

When you cut an onion, the exposed flesh begins to oxidize and release enzymes that cause the onion to spoil quickly. To keep cut onions fresh, it is important to store them properly. 

Here are some simple tips for storing cut onions:

  • The best way to keep cut onions fresh is to store them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. This will prevent air and moisture from entering and causing spoilage.
  • To prevent browning, squeeze a small amount of lemon juice over the cut onion or dip them in a bowl of cold water before storing.
  • To store cut onions in the refrigerator, wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in the crisper drawer. They will stay fresh for about a week.
  • Avoid storing cut onions near other strong smelling foods such as garlic, as they can absorb odors easily.
  • If you have leftover cut onions that you know you won’t use within a week, you can chop them and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. They will lose their texture when thawed, but will still have their flavor.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your cut onions will stay fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. This will allow you to enjoy onions in your cooking without worrying about spoilage.

storing cut onions

Should You Store Onions in the Fridge?

It is generally not recommended to store whole onions in the refrigerator. Onions are best stored in a cool, dark, and dry place with a temperature range between 32-40°F (0-4°C) and relative humidity of 60-70%. This can be achieved by storing them in a cool room or a root cellar, or even in a basement or garage with good ventilation.

When stored in the refrigerator, the cold temperatures can cause the onions to become soft and spoil more quickly. The humidity level in the refrigerator is also higher than ideal for onions storage, and this can cause the onions to become moldy or develop a strong odor.

If you need to store whole onions in the refrigerator, it’s best to store them in a paper bag or wrapped in a dry paper towel. It’s also important to check them regularly and discard any that show signs of spoilage, such as softness, mold, or a strong smell.

Do Onions last longer in the fridge or on the counter?

Onions will likely last longer in the refrigerator wrapped in a dry bag rather than exposed to warm temperatures and light on the counter. 

Storing onions on the counter at room temperature can cause them to become soft and spoil more quickly. The warm temperatures and exposure to light can cause the onions to ripen, which can cause them to lose flavor and texture.

On the other hand, if you refrigerate onions it can be beneficial, as long as they are stored properly in a dry and well-ventilated area. And as mentioned before, if you need to store whole onions in the refrigerator, it’s best to store them in a paper bag or wrapped in a dry paper towel, and check them regularly to discard any that show signs of spoilage.


Food Storage Containers for Onions

Proper container selection is an important aspect of onion storage, as it can help to keep the onions fresh and prevent spoilage. 

Here are some tips for selecting the best container for storing onions:

  • The best materials for onion storage containers are those that are breathable, such as mesh bags, paper bags, or perforated plastic bags. These materials allow air to circulate around the onions and prevent moisture buildup.
  • When choosing the size of the container, make sure to select one that is large enough to accommodate all of the onions without overcrowding. This will help to prevent spoilage caused by crushing or overheating.
  • The advantages of using a container with a lid are that it can help to protect the onions from light and moisture, and prevent the absorption of odors from other foods.
  • Avoid using sealed containers that don’t allow air circulation, as this can cause the onions to become moldy or spoil more quickly.
  • A wire basket or wooden crate can be a great option to store onions in open air, they are breathable and can hold a significant amount of onions.

By selecting the appropriate container and keeping in mind the right size, material and lid, you can help to ensure that your onions stay fresh and flavorful for an extended period of time. Proper container selection will also help to prevent spoilage, and allow you to enjoy the taste and texture of onions in your cooking for an extended period of time.

store onions in bags that allow for air flow

Do Onions Need Air When Stored?

Onions do need air when stored, as they need to be kept in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. Adequate air circulation allows the onions to breathe and prevents moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and spoilage. 

We try to store onions in a mesh bag, paper bag, or perforated plastic bag. These materials allow air to circulate around the onions, keeping them fresh and preventing spoilage. Avoid using sealed containers that don’t allow air circulation, as this can cause the onions to become moldy or spoil more quickly.


Best Ways to Store Sweet Onions

Sweet onions are one of our family favorites that have a unique flavor and texture and should be preserved for as long as possible. Here are some tips for storing sweet onions to maintain their flavor and texture.

How to preserve the unique flavor of sweet onions:

Store them in a cool, dark, and dry place with a temperature range between 32-40°F (0-4°C) and relative humidity of 60-70%. This can be achieved by storing them in a cool room or a root cellar, or even in a basement or garage with good ventilation.

How to prevent mold growth:

Make sure the onions are completely dry before storing them, and store them in a container that allows air circulation, such as a mesh bag, paper bag, or perforated plastic bag.

How to store sweet onions in the refrigerator:

If you need to store sweet onions in the refrigerator, wrap them in a dry paper towel or store them in a perforated plastic bag. Avoid storing them near fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, such as apples and bananas, as this can cause the onions to ripen and spoil more quickly.

Another good option is to store sweet onions in the freezer if you won’t be able to consume them before they spoil, peel and chop them into small pieces and freeze them in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag. They will retain their flavor and texture for up to 6 months.

how to store sweet onions

By following these tips, you can ensure that your sweet onions stay fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. Proper storage will help to preserve their unique flavor and texture, allowing you to enjoy the taste of sweet onions in your cooking for an extended period of time.


Best Ways to Store Spring Onions

Spring onions, also known as scallions or green onions, have a delicate flavor and texture that should be preserved for as long as possible. Here are some tips for storing spring onions to maintain their flavor and texture.

How to preserve the delicate flavor of spring onions:

Store them in a cool, dark, and dry place with a temperature range between 32-40°F (0-4°C) and relative humidity of 60-70%. This can be achieved by storing them in a cool room or a root cellar, or even in a basement or garage with good ventilation.

How to prevent wilting:

Make sure the onions are completely dry before storing them, and store them in a container that allows air circulation, such as a mesh bag, paper bag, or perforated plastic bag.

How to store spring onions in the refrigerator:

If you need to store spring onions in the refrigerator, wrap them in a dry paper towel or store them in a perforated plastic bag. Avoid storing them near fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, such as apples and bananas, as this can cause the onions to ripen and spoil more quickly.

Another good option is to store them in the fridge with the green tops cut off and the white part wrapped in a damp paper towel, this will keep the onions fresh for a week.

how to store spring onions

Should you Store Potatoes with Onions?

It is not recommended to store onions and potatoes together because they release gasses that can cause the other to spoil faster. Potatoes release moisture and ethylene gas which can cause onions to sprout and rot, while onions release sulfur compounds that can cause potatoes to become rubbery and spoil.

To properly store onions and potatoes separately, keep them in separate containers or bags, in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. The ideal storage conditions for onions are between 32-40°F (0-4°C) and relative humidity of 60-70%. Potatoes prefer a slightly warmer environment, between 45-50°F (7-10°C) and humidity of 85-90%.

Additionally, it’s important to check for spoilage regularly and discard any spoiled vegetables immediately to prevent them from contaminating the others. By storing onions and potatoes separately, you can help to ensure that they stay fresh and flavorful for an extended period of time.


In Conclusion

In conclusion, proper storage is crucial to preserving the quality and longevity of onions. Whether you’re storing them long-term, in the fridge, or using alternative methods like freezing or freeze-drying, the key is to keep them in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. Additionally, it’s important to choose the right container and know the best way to store different types of onions, like sweet onions.

We hope that this article has provided you with valuable tips and information on how to store onions properly and make them last as long as possible. Remember to check for spoilage regularly, discard any spoiled onions immediately, and to store onions and potatoes separately.

Feel free to share this article with your friends and family or on social media. Happy cooking!

Colton Blair

I'm Colton Blair, co-owner of EZ-Prepping with my wife Kaycee. I value the safety, protection, and well-being of my family above all else. Finding easy and practical ways of prepping for emergencies or unexpected disaster has become very important to me.

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