Best location to store onions and keep them edible for six months

It can be tempting to place all fruit and vegetables in the fridge, especially during the summer months when produce is prone to going mouldy quicker due to warmer weather.

But, storing onions in the fridge can result in soft or soggy onions; the fridge is a cold and humid environment, and the cool temperature causes the onion to convert starch to sugar. Over time, onions will become mushy if kept in the fridge.

Instead, brown, red and white onions are best placed somewhere dark, cool, dry and well-ventilated.

Many place onions in kitchen cupboards, but try to choose those away from the cooker and oven, as this will cause the temperature around the onions to fluctuate and potentially create a moist environment.

Ideally, garages or cellars are the best locations for onions, and if stored correctly, they can last up to six months.

In addition to finding an area that’s cool, dry, and well-ventilated, keep onions out of direct sunlight. The heat created by sunlight can encourage mould to grow.

Once a suitable location is chosen, how onions are stored is equally as important as where.

If onions are bought from a supermarket in a plastic bag, remove them from the packaging. If they are in plastic mesh, this should also be removed.

Shop Food Waste explained: “Never keep these items in sealed plastic as it will quickly cause spoilage.” Plastic bags allow moisture to be trapped, which can lead to mould.

Instead, the experts recommend “keeping onions and garlic in a basket or paper bag where air can circulate”. And if stored this way, “onions and garlic can last up to three to six months”.

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If you do want to contain your onions, a net or mesh bag is preferred as it allows for better airflow and helps keep moisture levels down. A perforated basket or bin is also a great container for onions.

If you don’t have any of the above items to store onions, you can use an old pair of tights.

Put the onions into one leg and tie a knot above it, then continue in the same way to the top until the leg of the tight is full. The same can be done for the other leg of the tight and they are now easy to suspend for storage.

Onions stored this way are edible for months – up to six months if conditions are perfect – but do check on them regularly and remove any that are showing signs of deteriorating.

It’s also important to know onions should be stored by themselves – not alongside other produce. Onions absorb moisture and therefore can spoil quicker. They are also pretty pungent, and some fruits and vegetables can take on the onion’s scent and flavour.

Not all onions can be stored this way, spring onions need to be kept in the fridge. Anything that comes bunched can be placed in an airtight container or bag and then into the crisper drawer in the fridge to elongate the shelf life.

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