Proper produce storage ensures a longer shelf life and brings out the full flavors once cooked. Let’s delve into the best ways to keep onions fresh longer.
Where Should You Store Whole Onions?
The best practice for storing whole onions is finding a cool, dark, and dry place for them. These rules apply to yellow, red, and white varieties that are uncut. Different standards apply to sweet onions with green stems, which we'll discuss later.
For most folks, this generally means utilizing the pantry or a cabinet somewhere in the kitchen. However, others prefer using their garage or basement. If you plan to cook the onion within the next day or so, you can leave it on the counter for your convenience, but it's generally best to avoid light to ensure freshness.
How Do You Keep Whole Onions Fresh?
In terms of what storage vessel to use, onion sacks are the best. These bags provide ventilation, so the vegetables can breathe properly and last several months. Another option is to use a perforated storage bin.
Plastic bags from the grocery store’s produce section will hinder the onion’s ability to get air, which will lead to rotting and spoilage. If you use this to carry your produce home, ensure you take it out of the bag shortly afterward.
What Should You Do Once You Cut an Onion?
Once you begin using onions for cooking, you’ll likely wonder about the best ways to keep them fresh longer. This is when your refrigerator can come to the rescue.
Before cutting the onion, though, it's best to avoid the fridge due to the humidity and the overly cold environment. Low temperatures can result in a loss of texture. While cool places are best for whole onions, a study that the NCBI conducted concluded anywhere from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the most optimal storage range.
Cut onions, on the other hand, keep best in the fridge when you use proper storage containers. You can use the options to eliminate moisture:
- Airtight glass containers
- Ziplock bags
In addition to reducing moisture, these prevent the onion's odor from permeating the entire fridge. Once sliced or diced, it generally has a shelf life of 5 to 10 days, though if you’ve only cut it in half, it can stay good for two weeks.
To get ahead on meals, you can freeze your chopped or diced onions for up to six months.
How Do You Store Sweet Onions?
Keep sweet onions in the fridge to get the most out of them. As mentioned earlier, these varieties contain green stems. This applies to green onions but is also true for Walla Wallas and Vidalias. Green varieties do well when you wrap them in a paper towel and store them in a Ziplock bag.
The paper towel method works best for sweet onions too. However, you don't need to store them in an airtight bag. Instead, wrap each individually and place them in the vegetable crisper.