Learn To Grow Onions At Home
The 3 Best Methods To Storing Onions
Once you have read our Onion Growing Guide and have a big, beautiful crop of sweet onions, it’s time to store them for the long haul. The curing process can take several weeks depending on your zone, heat, and humidity level. The main thing we want to stress is to make absolutely certain that your onions have completely cured and are totally dried out before storing them. Also, be sure and sort through the entire crop to look for any bulbs that could be of concern in the coming months. Double bulbs, cracked scales or any signs of moisture are all good qualities to go ahead and eat those fresh and not put them up to store.
Where Do You Store Onions?
We know that there are a ton of ways to store onions, but we have chosen our top 3 methods. The first, and most important step is to pick the right spot to make your onions last for months and months.
Finding a cool, dry area with good circulation are the keys to keeping your onions last as long as possible. Moisture and heat will cause onions to prematurely decompose. Finding somewhere dark, like a shed, pantry or, garage, will keep the onions from coming into contact with sunlight and have them sprout. Ideally, storing them between 35ºF – 45ºF will keep the onions at the best temperature for storage.
Which Onion Variety Should You Grow?
Check out our handy onion map to see the best variety for your zone!
Using Pantyhose To Store Onions
A very cost-effective and ingenious way to store onions is using nylon pantyhose. Yes, we said pantyhose! Here’s why:
– The synthetic nylon material will repel moisture and help keep your onions dry.
– The tiny mesh will let allow good airflow all the way around the bulb.
– This method allows you to utilize vertical space that is otherwise wasted, like the back of a pantry door or inside a shed.
– The average cost can be as little as $1.00 to store between 12 – 16 onions per pair of pantyhose.
1. Cut the individual legs off of the pantyhose. Save the top for storing other smaller veggies like shallots or garlic.
2. Drop a single onion bulb to the very bottom of the leg.
3. Tie a knot close to the top of the bulb. Repeat this step until there are approximately 4-6 inches of pantyhose left at the top (between 6-8 onions depending on size).
4. Tie a loop at the top of the hose and hang onions vertically being sure they are not resting against another surface. As you need to use them, cut off the pantyhose just below the knot.
Did You Know?
0 Million Pounds
California is the largest exporter of onions in the United States. In 2020, they exported over 33% of the nations onion supply.
Storing Onions On A Screen
If you have more horizontal space available or a root cellar, the screen method may be your best bet. This is simply a frame of some kind with a mesh screen built in between the slats of the frame. Yes, like a screen door. If you don’t have an extra screen door laying around, thrift stores, antique stores, and secondhand shops are great places to find old doors.
When storing on a screen, lay all of your onions out in a single layer for maximum air circulation. If you prefer a more custom size, building an onion rack is also a great option. It’s very few materials and you can make them any size you’d like and customize it to fit your specific area.
Compostable Onion Storage
Perhaps the most environmentally-friendly option to store onions is the paper bag method. We really like storing onions this way because the benefits of using a paper shopping bag goes far beyond just storing onions and other produce.
By doing something as simple as choosing a paper over plastic at the grocery store, you can help eliminate single-use plastics which have a direct impact on the environment. If you are storing your onions indoors, paper shopping bags fit nicely into a cabinet, on a pantry shelf, or tucked away in a dark corner. Simply cut holes into the bags for ventilation purposes, label them, and that’s it. They can be re-used for months on end until they deteriorate and need to be replaced.
The best part about this method, in our opinion, is that it has the potential to create little to no waste. When your paper bags are past the point of no return, simply shred them and add them to your compost pile. If you’re using worm compost, just remove the bottom section of the bag where the adhesive is and shred the rest of it for worms to munch on. Paper grocery bags can be beneficial from the store to the garden.