How to Select, Cut, Prepare & Store Onions
Onions are the third most consumed fresh vegetable in the Unites States and available in grocery stores all year long. Ranging in size from less than one-inch in diameter to over 4.5 inches in diameter, bulb onions can be yellow, red, or white in color. There are specific ways to find, prepare and store your onions for maximum flavor.
How to Select
Dry bulb onions should be firm for their size and have little to no scent. Avoid bulbs with any cuts, bruises, or blemishes. When purchasing whole peeled onions, select ones with an outside layer that does not show signs of being dehydrated. Fresh-cut onions should be purchased before the expiration date.
How to Prepare
A staple in the kitchen, onions can be prepared in a number of ways and can be found in almost every cuisine. Aside from the many ways onions are used raw, these are the four most common methods found in recipes:
We found a great onion grilling hack! See the video below to find out how to get the great taste of a grilled onion on your burger in half the time!
How to Caramelize Like a Ninja
Nothing beats the sweet flavor of caramelized onions, but the reward is not without a little effort. Truly caramelized onions that are dark brown and soft with a flavor as sweet as candy take around 45 minutes to make — sometimes longer. They also need to be watched closely.
Since not everyone has that kind of time, we found a short-cut. The trick to getting onions to caramelize more quickly is to add baking soda.
Are you curious about this time-saving trick? Read on to find out how it went in our test kitchen.
How to Store
Whole dry bulb onions should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air movement. Lack of ventilation will reduce their storage life.
Refrigeration is only necessary when trying to extend the shelf life of sweet or mild onion varieties with high water content, but be sure to use a low humidity setting; they must be kept dry.
- Refrigerate whole peeled onions after purchasing.
- Store cut onions in a sealed container for up to 7 days.
- Always keep pre-cut onions refrigerated and use before the expiration date.
How to Can, Freeze or Dehydrate
Canning is commonly called for in pickled onion recipes. Pearl, boiler, or cut onion pieces are usually hot packed into jars and processed in a boiling water canner. The USDA offers a complete guide to canning here.
Q: How do I dehydrate onions for cooking?
A: Most methods call for onions to be blanched first, then dried in a dehydrator or oven. Drying time for onions is 6-10 hours. The procedure and technique may require some trial and error until you to decide which technique works best. Remember, onions vary in water content from spring/summer to fall/winter.
Approximate Yield: 12 pounds raw = 1-1/2 pounds dry.
Storage Tip: Dried onions will reabsorb moisture and deteriorate during storage. Package in airtight containers and keep in the freezer for best results.
Q: Can I freeze onions?
A: Yes, you can freeze cut onions to use for cooking. Because the texture of an onion will deteriorate in the freezing process, it would not be suitable to use raw.