Onions exist in different colors, sizes, and shapes, and are a staple ingredient in the kitchen. Knowing how best to store them helps keep them fresh for a long time.
As far as kitchen staples are concerned, we arguably agree that onions are among the most indispensable staples. That is the reason why we keep buying onions in bulk. However, these very onions go about sprouting or getting soft, even before we get the chance to use them at all. Thus, people wonder, ‘how best can we store onions to keep them fresh for long and enjoy our spending on them?’ This article is your primer; it tells all the things you might want to know about the best way to store any type, size, and shape of onion to keep it fresh for longer.
The ultimate guide: store your onions in a cool dry dark well-ventilated room
In recommending how best to handle red onions, the National Onion Association suggests a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated room for onion storage. Such a space could mean the garage, basement, cellar, or pantry. Onions easily absorb moisture when they detect it, thereby rotting or sprouting. Therefore, keeping them in a moist environment or an environment with high humidity readings will mean that you won’t have your onions fresh for long.
The ideal temperatures for onion storage range between 4-10 degrees Celsius, as this will prevent sprouting. Proper ventilation also lowers the chances of the onions sprouting, and that’s why storing your onions in a netted bag, pantyhose, an open basket, a mesh bag, or a bamboo steamer goes a long way to maintain onions’ natural characteristics. The dark environment is preferred over the sun-lit environment as the former helps the onions retain their natural characteristics which keep them fresh. The sun, on the other hand, often alters the characteristics of the onions, causing them to easily rot. Humidity and temperature are two components of the weather that also determine the longevity of onion, and a slight change in them could mean a reduced shelf life of your cherished onions.
Should you store whole onions in the fridge?
That’s a question that many ask and the answer to it is a straight no. When the onion dealers get the onions from the farmers, they cure them, making these onions stay longer if their natural characteristics are not altered. And as previously discussed, temperatures and humidity are two factors that determine how mushy or fresh your onions will remain. Storing whole onions in the fridge predisposes them to humid conditions, and they may easily absorb moisture, leading them to fast getting mushy and less fresh.
However, for peeled or sliced onions, fridge storage could be ideal. These have their skins removed already and are not going to be affected much by the humid conditions of the fridge. Slicing or dicing your onions and storing them in the fridge keeps them fresh for 7-10 days. Peeled onions can stay a bit longer in the fridge, and can last for 14 days maximum.
Storing your shallots
You probably know shallots if you are a regular visitor at the kitchen and spends time cooking there. These are close to onions, but their taste is much milder and sweeter. Since they have whole skins like an onion when you get them from the store, cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated storage conditions are the most ideal for them. Such conditions allow the onions to retain the best temperate and humidity conditions, which is why they will easily maintain their natural characteristics and stay fresh for longer.
You could keep them in the pantry, garage, basement, or cellar. As you do this, ensure that you keep them ventilated by putting them in an open basket, pantyhose, netted bag, mesh bag, or bamboo steamer. In these conditions, the shallots remain fresh for a whole month. If you prefer storing them in the freezer, that’s ok, and you can do so for up to six months. You first have to have them peeled and take out their cloves. Keeping them in an airtight container or a resealable bag ensures there is no interaction with air, which is why the peeled shallots are going to stay fresh for as long as six months.
Storing onions at different processing stages
Even for onions whose processing has started, proper storage is paramount in ensuring they last long. Here are tips on storing onions at different processing stages;
Once you have peeled your onions, the natural protection they had because of the coverings is now removed. That’s why they will not need cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated storage. Rather, the only option left is storing them in the refrigerator. Before you can do this, ensure the onions are placed in an airtight container. This way, you can have them fresh for 10-14 days.
Diced, sliced, or cut onions
These can be stored in the fridge or freezer. Have them placed in a resealable bag or a plastic wrap, place them in the fridge, and you will have them fresh for a maximum of ten days. You can also keep them in an airtight container, place them in the freezer, and have them fresh for six months. The pre-sliced onions from the supermarkets can be stored in the fridge and have them fresh until the expiry date.
You can ensure that your cooked onions remain fresh by placing them in an airtight container or resealable bag a few hours after cooking them and placing them in the fridge where they will remain fresh for 3-5 days. In the same airtight container, you can have the cooked onions remain fresh for 3months by storing them in the freezer.
You can pickle your onions to increase their shelf life. Make a solution of vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices according to your preference, peel the onions, and keep them airtight in his solution. Once you open the container with the solution and onion, have it refrigerated. Pickled onions can stay fresh for up to six months.
Onions are a kitchen staple and having the best storage techniques at the fingertips is paramount. This is especially true if we wish or want to keep them for longer and fresher, which we do. This article is your ultimate guide for storing and types, size, and color of onion in the kitchen the best way.
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