QUESTION: How do you store onions for a long time? How do I prepare them? -Kasey T.
ANSWER: In order to store onions for an extended period, they need to be cured to remove excess moisture. Curing is a month-long drying process that prepares your onions for extended storage by removing excess moisture which would otherwise cause your onions to rot too quickly.
To cure onions, spread them out on a flat surface in a sunny location just after harvesting, and allow them to dry for two to three days until the roots and bulbs begin to dry and turn brown and the outer skin becomes paperlike and crisp. If there is rain on the way, move them indoors until it’s dry again. Once your onions have sundried, slice the tops off of the bulbs to just about an inch above the bulbs themselves and snip off all the roots. Continue to cure your bulbs indoors by placing them on a counter or table in a dry, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight for two to three weeks. Now your onions are cured and ready for storage.
Proper storage techniques are just as important as correctly curing your onion crop when it comes to preserving your onions for a long time. To get the longest life out of your cured onions, place them in an open basket, hang them in a netted-bag, or braid them into an onion string and store them in a cool, dark, dry location, such as a cellar, garage, or basement, using them as needed. Be sure not to expose them to sunlight or put them in the refrigerator, as those are two easy ways to make your onions turn quickly.
If you are getting close to winter time and you still have an abundance of onions, you may want to consider chopping them and freezing them to extend their usefulness. Cut onions can last in the refrigerator in plastic wrap or a resealable bag for up to 10 days, or in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag for three to six months. Peeled onions need to be kept in a refrigerator set to 40 degrees F or lower in an airtight container and will last 10 to 14 days. Cooked onions can be stored in the fridge for three to five days or in an airtight container or resealable bag in the freezer for up to three months. Pickling your onions can also extend their shelf life, as onions that are pickled and stored correctly can last up to six months. Once the jar of pickled onions has been opened, store it in the refrigerator to help preserve freshness.
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