6 Genius Ways to Keep Onions Fresh for Longer
Tired of bruised onions? Here are six easy ways to store your onions to keep them fresh for longer, saving you money and reducing waste.
Onions are a foundational ingredient. Whether sautéed for the base of seasonal soup or stew, chopped generously into sauces, or fried in ring form, the sweet, tangy bulb is as useful as it is delicious. Plus, it has a reliable shelf life, lasting for months under the correct conditions. But in order to keep these layered veggies fresh and ready for your menu rotation, proper storage is a must.
While some produce is fickle in its freshness, onions are hearty, and shouldn’t be a factor in your food waste. When not properly disposed of (aka composted), your spoiled veggies and food scraps end up in the landfill. Once there, the food is not afforded the oxygen necessary to properly decompose, instead releasing greenhouse gases and contributing to global warming. And while composting certainly helps matters, eating the food that you buy or grow is the ultimate answer.
Eager to learn how to maximize the life of your onions, the better to avoid unnecessary tears? Here’s how to store onions so that they stay fresh for as long as possible.
How to Store Onions: 6 Techniques to Try
1. Store in a Cool, Dark Place
Onions like things cool and dark. Favorable conditions include a temperature of 45ºF to 55ºF, along with low humidity.
2. Seriously, No Light
We'll say it again: cool and dark! In addition to promoting spoilage, light can lead to sprouting in onions, which are living bulbs. This is awesome if you're interested in regrowing onions from scrap, but less appealing if that's not the plan.
3. Allow for Air Flow
According to the National Onion Association, ventilation is key for extended storage. Rather than piling your stockpile into an airtight plastic bag, store onions in mesh or woven containers for maximum freshness.
4. Avoid the Refrigerator
While the fridge hits the cool and dark markers, moisture is the enemy of fresh onions. Keep onions in the open air until cut, storing leftovers in the fridge for use within 7-10 days.
5. Keep Away From the Potatoes
Onions emit ethylene gas, which can lead to over-ripening and rot in neighboring potatoes. And, as rot begets rot, one spoiled root can accelerate the same in your fresh batch of onions.
So though the foodstuffs are often grouped together in recipes, it’s best to store them separately.
6. Keep Your Halves Covered
To keep halved onions fresh in the fridge, opt for a Food Hugger. The reusable option offers a more sustainable solution than plastic bags, saran wrap, or foil, and the tight seal helps to maintain the onion's crisp texture.
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