Onions and Garlic: Storage Tips
Storing food in small amounts is easy, but in larger quantities it can be tricky in our increasingly energy efficient homes. Onions like a cold, dark, and dry place for the best results. Here are some more tips for storing onions.
Storage Conditions A dark place that is just above freezing, 32-38 degrees Fahrenheit and with very little humidity is perfect. Common places that work well are a basement (away from the furnace), garage, root cellar, or a dark and cool closet or kitchen cupboard close the floor.
How to Pack Them Store only onions that are mature and properly cured. Curing means they’ve had time in a warm dry place to set their skins. Do not try to store onions or garlic that are nicked, sliced, or bruised. Eat those first. Place onion and garlic in separate mesh bags or a clean and dry wooden bin or waxed box. Don’t wash your onions or garlic before you store them. Keep them very dry.
While in Storage Check and cull them often to make sure the onions and garlic are not sprouting or developing soft spots. Remove and eat any damaged bulbs.
How Long They Last Usually, bulbs stored in a dry and dark place, at an even temperature, and are culled often, will last through January or February. Once they start softening or growing compost the bulbs. The leaves that grow on your onions or garlic can be eaten!
Other Tips Try to keep the storage temperature even, fluctuating temperatures will encourage rotting and/or sprouting.
A Note on Storing Food Storing food in small amounts is easy, but in larger quantities it can be tricky in our increasingly energy efficient homes. Small amounts of things that like it moist like greens, roots, and tubers can be stored in the refrigerator, and things that like it drier like onions, garlic, and winter squash can be stored on the counter top. When trying to determine the right place in your home to store a box or boxes of produce, a good place to start is by monitoring temperatures in your home. Get a bunch of thermometers and place them in closets, hallways, and the places that are generally dark and have mostly even temperatures. Chart those temperatures through a winter before you get too serious about storing food.
photos: CCF staff