What’s the best way to store onions?


My onions have been hanging in the shed but now it’s getting cold and I’m afraid they will freeze. Last year when I brought them in they all got condensation inside the skins and eventually rotted. (This had never happened before,) what to do now? I don’t have a really cool area in the house to store them.


Lynne M. Holland, Horticulture and Social Media Professional

Proper curing is the first step long term storage. Certain onion varieties store better than others so that is a factor as well. Lastly, lack of space means you will need to be strategic in how you use them up.

This is probably a review, but this video is a good reminder about curing onions. Getting any greens removed but not removing the outer skin should help a little with this as well. Properly cured onions are less likely to host mold or other rot.

Once you know that the curing is done, then prioritize by variety which onions need to be used first. In general the sweeter the onion the sooner it should be used. Sweet onions and other onions with a naturally high moisture content are not going to store well no matter where you put them. An option for them, and other onions is to freeze some. Dehydrating or drying some of the lower content onions is another option as well. Making and freezing a few batches of onion soup might make sense and save you time this winter. 

Lastly, look for several spots to store your whole onions. A cabinet or pantry, an unheated garage (until the really cold weather sets in), even the basement are options to consider. If you can’t store them all in one place then prioritize all the ones that have the shortest shelf life closest to where you will use them and the ones with longer storage capacity in cooler, dryer places. Check all the stored onions every few weeks and remove any “bad” ones since it is also true that “One bad onion can spoil the whole bunch..”  (My apologies to Donnie Osmond).