You can always rely on an onion or two to elevate a dish, so having a few at home at all times is always handy.
But, you might be wondering, how do I store onions at home without stinking out my house? Well, there are a few easy ways to store onions, some that not many people know about.
So, we’ve made a list of the best ways to store onions, keep reading to find out.
How to know if an onion has gone bad
Before we begin, it’s good to know how long onions keep and what the telltale signs of spoilage are, so you’re not storing them at home beyond their use-by date.
The main things to look out for when checking your onion for spoilage is the color, smell and sometimes feel.
If an onion has gone bad, it will likely develop dark spots and eventually start growing mold. If you smell an onion, and it doesn’t smell ‘normal’ i.e. it doesn’t smell like ‘onion’ anymore, it’s probably spoiled.
You can also sometimes feel if an onion has gone bad. If they feel less firm or even squishy in places, they’re definitely passed their use-by date, and you should not eat them.
Storing onions at room temperature
As you may already know, the best place you can store onions is in a cool, dark place. Fresh, raw onions should last up to three months stored in this way, so if you have a basement or a pantry these would likely be the best places to store onions.
You also need to make sure you store them somewhere with proper ventilation, such as a mesh bag or an open paper bag. This will further help to prevent the onions from going moldy.
If you leave onions out at room temperature, they will likely stay good for about a week so, this isn’t a great option if you want to bulk buy onions.
Storing onions in the refrigerator
If you don’t have anywhere in your house that is dark or cool enough to store whole, raw onions, the next best thing you can do is store them in a refrigerator. This can help to extend their life by at least a couple of days than if you left them out at room temperature.
The main issue with storing onions in the refrigerator is the fact that they absorb moisture quite quickly, so they will likely lose their firmness a lot sooner than if they were stored in a cool, dark place.
That being said, if you wish to store chopped raw onions, the refrigerator is actually the best place for them.
So long as they’re kept in an airtight container, they should last up to 10 days in the refrigerator. Cooked chopped onions will last about 48 hours to 4 days max in the refrigerator.
Storing onions in the freezer
Freezing raw onions is another option. It’s best to chop them up first. Not only will it make them last longer, but it’ll save you on storage space.
Keep them stored in an airtight container and place them in the freezer. They should last up to eight months. This is the best option if you plan to bulk buy, plus, it’s super handy to know you’ve always got some on hand to add to dishes as and when you need them.
If you want to store cooked onions in the freezer, just store them in the exact same way, and they should last up to a whole year, although the sooner you use them the better.
Stringing home-grown onions
Growing your own onions can be a fun hobby and a great way to ensure you always have some on hand and for free!
The best way to store your home-grown onions is by stringing them because it allows you to store quite a lot of them in a small space.
For this, you should store them in a cool, dry place, free from possible frost. If you don’t want to store them inside your house, a garage is a good place for this.
Before you string them, you need to let them fully dry out so, if the weather allows it, leave them out in the sun for a couple of days. If it’s not dry outside, the next best place is a warm dry place like a greenhouse.
Here’s how to string them:
Step 1: knot one end of some string to create a sliding noose, that looks like a little loop
Step 2: tie the other end onto whatever you’re using to hang the onions on. A hook or beam would be ideal
Step 3: tie each onion to the string by tying the tops of them into a simple knot. Start at the bottom and work your way up until you run out of onions or until you can’t fit anymore onto the string
Step 4: repeat the process with another piece of string until you run out of onions
Make sure that once they are strung up, the strung up onions are stored away from direct sunlight until they are ready to be eaten.
The best way to store onions really depends on how long you intend to keep them. If you prefer to buy things in bulk, the best way to store lots of onions is by chopping them up and placing them in an airtight container in the freezer. This way you’ll be able to use them for up to eight months without them going bad.
If you prefer to use fresh ingredients in your cooking, the best way to store fresh, raw onions is by storing them in a cool, dark place for up to three months, which is still a pretty long period of time for a fresh ingredient to stay good.
Either way, just make sure you check your onions for signs of spoilage before eating them, regardless of how you’ve stored them.