How to Harvest and Store Onions

[Music] Beautiful, bulbous onions form the
bedrock of many culinary creations. If you’ve grown them this summer, you’ll probably
want to store some to use later on so in this video we’ll show you how to
correctly harvest, cure and store your onions to enjoy well into winter. Onions are ready to harvest
as soon as they reach a usable size. However for storage,
your cue to begin the harvesting process is when the leaves begin to flop over or
turn brown at the edges. After a week like this, carefully dig them out of the
ground using a fork then lay the bulbs on the soil surface, or on a wire rack
for better ventilation, to dry in the sun for a further week. If the weather is wet, dry them under cover,
for instance in a well-ventilated greenhouse or tunnel. Always handle onions carefully to prevent bruising. In order to store onions
you’ll need to cure them first, which simply means drying the outer
skins fully. To do this, move your onions somewhere dry under cover. You can dry onions on racks, or on layers of newspaper in a greenhouse, polythene tunnel or cold frame. This also works for other alliums such as shallots and garlic. Spread the onions out as much as possible
and make sure there is plenty of circulating air to wick away moisture
and to prevent mold or rotting. The onions may take a
further two weeks to dry out. They’re ready to store when the skins a papery, the
leaves are completely shrivelled up, and the roots wiry and dry. At this stage you
should cut off the roots and remove any loose skins. If you want to store your bulbs as onion strings, cut the stems to within 2-3 inches (5-7cm) of the neck of the bulb. If not, cut the stem to the neck. Onions should be stored in a cool, dry,
well-ventilated space out of direct sunlight. A garage or unheated room in the house is ideal. Don’t store any soft or damaged bulbs –
use these up as soon as possible instead. Individual onions can be placed
carefully into net bags. Use purpose-sold vegetable storage nets, or netting sacks used to hold, for example, oranges. The bags should then be hung up off the ground. Check the nets periodically
to remove any onions that have gone bad. Onion strings are a very practical and
attractive way to store onions. To make one, begin by cutting a length of string
to about 3-4 feet (1m) long. Tie the two ends together to form a loop, then hang from a hook to begin working. Insert the first onion through
the center of the loop then bend the stem around the back of the string to
return it through the loop. Push the onion right down to the bottom of the
loop to anchor it into position. Now begin working in additional onions in
exactly the same way – placing the stem through the loop, weaving it around the
back of the string, returning it back through the loop, and pushing down to sit
snugly against the previous onion. Rotate the position of each additional onion so
they sit neatly in a spiral like this. Hang your completed string in a cool dry
place and enjoy the onions as needed, remembering to take onions from the top
of the string rather than the bottom. And there you have it! Preparing onions for storage is very easy,
and will keep you in onions right through the winter. Of course if you’ve
got other ideas for storing these bulbs then do let us know about it – just drop us a comment below. And if this video’s whetted your appetite
for more gardening tips, then why not subscribe? I’ll catch you next time. [Music]

30 thoughts on “How to Harvest and Store Onions

  1. Always use your over-winter onions up 1st and ones with fat necks or have bolted as these store for the least amount of time.

  2. Loving the onion string!! So attractive! Going to do that this year and hang it up along my garlic braid! 🙂

  3. We have to grow short day onions here, so it's planting time now — I can't wait to make an onion string! Great videos.

  4. Here in the Appalachains, a traditional way of storing onions was to use an old panty hose. Simply drop an onion down to the bottom, tie a knot in the panty hose right above that onion, then drop down another onion, tie another knot, and so on and so forth until the panty hose is full. Then hang it up from the ceiling off the ground.

  5. Almost 300 likes, and not one single dislike..

    Funny how trolls stay away from neat videos like these! Keep em coming! …

    If one only got a few onions, one can store them in sand.

    And if one does not have the room for that; punch some holes in a food-graded paper bag, and store dark and cool..

  6. I would like to know how best to store leeks.  I have left them in the ground in the past and they just turn to mush.  This year I dug them out of the almost frozen ground.  I followed your instructions for onions with good success.  I don't think I can do the same with leeks.  Do I clean off all of the dried layers and cut the roots or should I let them dry out like onions, but in the fridge?

  7. cut all those lovely onion leaves off first, wash, cut up and freeze. Almost as good to cook with as the onion itself, and a bit like chives. Delicious.

  8. I'm regrowing an onion in a pot. I started with the bottom half of the onion, planted that and now the top half is starting to grow back. There is no neck on the onion yet but the stalk has grown to about 10 inches. It doesnt look quite like the onions in this video, but since I am starting it from the bottom half of an onion instead of a seed/ bulb, should I still look for the same signs to harvest- stalk flopping over, turning light brown, super talk stalk? How long does it take for an onion to mature?

  9. I have braided the onions and had good success with this method. It is similar with the wrapping technique, just leave more of the stem of the onion to work with.

  10. Loved the video! Couldn't get the onion string to work for me, though. 😕 After watching the second onion untwist itself from the string and drop to the ground and bounce down my porch steps 😞 I decided to give up!

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