Onions are staple food in many cuisines. Whatever the dish you love to cook, onions probably belong in it, likely the reason why we buy them in large bundles instead of individually. Given that onions are used in so many things and are bought in larger quantities, how should we store them to ensure they stay as fresh as possible? We have researched this, so you don't have to.
The best way to store whole onions is in a cool, dry place. It will keep them fresh much longer, and they will be delicious whenever you are ready to use them.
If you are looking for more answers on whether it's safe to store your onions in the refrigerator, how long to store onions, and what other produce you can store with onions, keep reading. We have answered those questions too.
Best Methods For Onion Storage
Keeping fresh onions is simple, as long as you know all the best storage methods. Whether onions are whole, cut, peeled, or cooked makes a difference in how and where they should be stored. Whole onions keep well within their skin, but freshness can be prolonged given the right environment. Either cut, peeled, or cooked, onions will need different conditions for longer-term storage. Depending on how you want to store, prepare, and cook onions there is a correct storage method for you!
Should You Refrigerate Onions?
The safest place for cut onions is in the refrigerator. The cold temperature slows the growth of bacteria on the onions. Cold refrigerator storage ensures the onion does not brown too hastily.
We recommend investing in an airtight container to keep onions' pungent odor from mingling with other foods in your refrigerator. A sealed container also keeps onions fresher, longer; partially due to less exposure to bacteria, but primarily due to less exposure to air, which causes onions to brown. See our article for some great, airtight container options for storing refrigerated onions.
For an unpeeled onion, refrigeration is not the best option. Cooling creates a moist, but cold, environment to inhibit the growth of bacteria. This environment causes onions to soak up too much moisture, becoming mushy and spoiling quickly. It is best to keep unpeeled onions out of the refrigerator.
Where Should You Store Onions?
The best place to store whole onions is in a cool, dry place with a temperature between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. This area should also be well ventilated, to ensure onions stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible! Either a pantry or cellar location in a home meets these requirements. Both locations are typically cool, dry, and well ventilated to prolong the life of onions.
Organize your pantry, or cupboard, for onion storage with this hanging basket; click here to see on Amazon.
For How Long Can You Store Onions?
How long an onion can last in storage depends on the state of the onion. If it is cut or sliced, use an airtight container to store onion in the refrigerator. Refrigerated, cut onion will last for 7-10 days because a cool, airtight environment is optimal to prevent bacterial growth and spoilage.
If your onion is peeled (the onion's papery exterior removed), we suggest storing it in the refrigerator. Again, use an airtight container because it will contain the odor produced from the onion. An airtight container also reduces the amount of moisture the onion is exposed to, so the onion does not get mushy and spoil.
If you have a whole, unpeeled onion, then refrigeration is not recommended. This is because refrigeration contains a significant amount of moisture, which the onion absorbs. Extra dampness inside the onion will cause it to spoil faster.
How Do You Store Onions For A Month?
There are multiple options to be able to store onions for a month or longer. The first option is useful for uncooked onions, by storing them in a cold, dry room. You can also use proper ventilation techniques, discussed later, to extend the life of whole onions past one month.
The second option is to freeze the onion. Make sure to remove as much moisture as possible from storage container. Removing moisture will ensure the onion will not be too mushy for a decent cooked result in the future.
If you are looking to store onions for an extended period, make sure to not utilize plastic wrap or store onions in plastic bags. Plastic wrap and plastic bags reduce ventilation for the onion, meaning the onion will spoil much faster.
How To Store Onions For Long?
Prolong onion storage beyond a month by freezing. Onions can stay in a freezer for up to 8 months. Freezing is best for cooked onions because when they thaw, onions tend to be too mushy for raw consumption.
If you prefer to not freeze onions for future cooking, we suggested storing whole in an open basket, netted bag, paper bag with holes punched into it, or even pantyhose. These techniques provide appropriate ventilation for onions, as long as they are stored properly in a cool and dry place. Whole onions stored by using these techniques stay fresh for a month or longer.
Can You Store Tomatoes And Onions Together?
Generally, tomatoes and onions are best to be stored by themselves because tomatoes contain a significant amount of moisture. The extra humidity nearby causes onions to soak up the moisture from tomatoes and spoil much faster than they would if stored separately.
Choose the right container for tomatoes and onions; click here to see on Amazon.
Can You Store Apples And Onions Together?
Apples and onions do not belong next to each other because apples and onions exchange odors. If apples and onions are stored near each other, the apple will take on an onion flavor and the onion will take on an apple flavor, not enhancing either flavor! Although you shouldn't store them together, apples and onions do need similar conditions to prolong their usefulness.
Keep your produce in check with this hanging basket; click here to see on Amazon.
Can You Store Potatoes And Onions Together?
While potatoes and onions need similar conditions to maintain freshness (cool, dry, and dark space), they should not be stored next to each other. Onions cause potatoes to go bad quickly, and vice versa. Potatoes contain extra moisture, which the onion will absorb. This excess moisture causes onions to become soppy. Potatoes will also spoil for the same reason. Onions are a moist vegetable and will emit moisture into their surroundings. Moisture makes potatoes sprout more quickly.
Can You Store Garlic And Onions Together?
Garlic and onions both require a dark, cold, dry storage space. As long as you keep the peel on the garlic, these two foods are compatible. The moisture of the onion does not affect the garlic's flavor or usefulness.
Storage for onions and garlic can be decorative too, as with these tins; click here to see on Amazon.
Can You Store Avocados And Onions Together?
The answer depends on if the avocado is cut or not. If you have not sliced into an avocado, store the avocado and onion separately to keep both vegetables fresher for longer.
Store a cut onion in the same container as a cut avocado. Onions contain sulfur, which keeps avocados from browning prematurely.
Keep guac fresh with this airtight container; click here to see on Amazon.
Hopefully, you can use some of these techniques when storing your onions to maintain their freshness. Here are some related KitchenSeer.com blogs that we think you would enjoy: