Onions are a great vegetable, easy to grow, stores well, and they are just so healthy. I know, some recipe books do not even include fresh onions anymore. Powders and artificial spices are taking the onions over. Sad, isn’t it?
There is nothing as good as fresh onions, fried until golden – yummy. And it is ok to cry over onion cuttings, it is just part of the real food experience. Homegrown is the best, locally grown are the second best, and fall is the time to stock up on them.
Onions need to be dry and clean before storing them, it’s called curing the onions. After harvesting, let them dry. If the garden is very dry and the weather is nice, onions can be left there to dry too. Just pull them and let them rest till they are all dry.
If it’s cold and rainy, find a dry and airy spot in a shed, barn, loft, etc.
Note, if you have onions that are not mature enough to dry, it’s better to chop them up and freeze. Blanching is not needed. They are great for cooking and convenient to use.
To store onions in a bag is only good if you can assure that all of them are of equal (great) quality. If one in a bag gets bad, it can affect all of them. To avoid that from happening, here are 3 great ways to store onions, so they do not touch each other. Which way is the best depends on your preferences and even more on the kind of onions you get. We usually use more than one method for our onions.
1. Braiding onions
To braid onions is simpler than you think. It is a great way to store mature onions where the tops are a bit dry and not so thick. Too dry tops will break before you can braid them, too wet, and thick tops will make the braid very thick and there is a danger of getting mold into it.
To stabilize the braid we use a Natural Cord and just simply braid it in. Every layer or every other layer, depending on your preference and the size of the onions, add a new onion. That way you get a nice even braid of onions that can be hung from top to bottom or as a bow.
2. Storing onions in a nylon pantyhose
Everyday Regular Panty Hose is great for storing onions, plus if you use them for onions you will not have to wear them ;). Big, thick-necked onions are best to store in nylons. Just put one onion at the time and make a knot to divide them. Note that thick-necked onions do not store for long, use them first.
3. Storing onions on a grid
Jakob built us this great grid. It is just 4 boards with wire on it on one side and two boards on the bottom side. It provides great airflow and onions of all size and shape store well on there.
Onions prefer a cool, dark, dry place with some ventilation. That way even our northern short season onions last till January.
More information on growing Onions is here.
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Shirley Wood says
Thanks for that great information on storing onions. Do you ever keep them in the refrigerator?
No, I never keep them in the refrigerator.
Kimberly @ Real Homestead Mom says
Great ideas! I always end up with a bad onion in my bag. I want to try the braiding. Very pretty.
I love the look of braided onions. Of all the things I grow, I am terrible at onions. They are always tiny….
I thought onions are the simplest to grow ;). Do you grow them from seeds, that might be the reason, we grow ours from onion sets it is basically a no fail thing.
I tried growing them from seed for the first time this year, and as a control I planted sets as well.
The onions I grew from seed kicked the pants off the sets! My seeded onions are all bigger than the set onions, and the sets were planted out earlier after they started growing.
I’ll definitely be doing seeded onions from now on – they were also dead easy.
Great to hear. We seeded onions for the first time too, and loving it.
I love onions! Can you believe that I only started eating and buying onions 2 years ago (when I was 25)?? My mom said that she put them in the food, but couldn’t tell me that they were there. Even since adulthood, I wouldn’t dare touch a plate that had onions showing in it. I’m so glad I changed, I literally saute onions for everything.
Whitney, your health will thank you too for changing!
Kristen from The Road to Domestication says
I love the look of the braided onions! So pretty!
Christina @ Juggling Real Food and Real Life says
Great information! Thanks so much for sharing this with our Let’s Get Real readers. It may sound funny, but onions have always been a bit of a mystery to me. Where should I put them? How are they stored? I was one of those people who went away from onions. My kids declared they didn’t like them and I was done. I’ve come back to them because I love the flavor and they are so good for the immune system. I can’t afford to be sick. No time for that!
Ma Kettle says
And my kids are the opposite! They will smell only onions sauteing in butter and they already think supper is fantastic!
That is great! I like the smell too.
I’ve used pantyhose since the early ’80’s. Even if you don’t have a ‘cool zone’ to hang them in, you can still do it, just don’t purchase in bulk. Works fabulously and extends the life!
Thank you for sharing Debbie! Pantyhose are great for onions.
Lyndsay with Minibulk says
Wow, those braided onions look great! Onions (and so many other root vegetables!) will keep forever if you put them in the right spot, but they don’t do so great where I usually kept them at first – the fridge! 🙂
Jessica | The 104 Homestead says
Those are some good lookin’ onions! Mine were about the size of my thumb this year. Hopefully next year I can use your awesome tips. Thank you for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday. If you haven’t had the chance to share yet today, there is still time. Posts can be submitted until Wednesday evening.
Not sure why, but it seams some years onions just do not grow well. I think to wet. Happy gardening!
We also store onions in old stockings 🙂
That is a great way to store onions.
I have experimented with both seed and sets. In our short season, my onions are best if started from seed (see Charles Dowding’s method at http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk) in February sometime under lights, planting about 6 seeds per starter pot. Trim the tops at about 4″ to keep them manageable while growing inside. Plant out when the soil is thawed in spring. My onions have grown largest in soil rich in organic material and with lots of water.
Can you wrap them in newspaper and put on the screened frame? Seems like it would be a hassle to untie the panty hose and I don’t have any! I’ll try your planting by seed and curing and storing over winter as I like to be sustainable! Do you plant 4 across and then and then a shallow trench for water? Zone 3