‘Ideal temperature’ to store large red and white onions
Onions are a must-have ingredient in every cooking lover’s kitchen, best loved for their pungent flavour and distinctive scent. While this hard root vegetable will easily stay fresh in the cupboard for around three months, there’s a better way to store onions to keep their flavour perfectly “intact” for even longer.
Spring onions are the quickest variety to spoil and should be kept in the fridge to preserve their shape and flavour.
While this is the best place for them to stop the greens from wilting and the bulbs from turning mushy, large white and red varieties are very different.
Similar to potatoes, onions like airy, dry climates and cool temperatures – both when growing and after being harvested.
Matthew Yee, chef at Farm to the People said: “The ideal temperature to store onions is around 7-12C degrees. For this reason it’s best to store onions in a cool, dry place like a cellar, pantry, or even a garage.”
If you’re low on space and have no option but to keep them in the fridge, you will have to compromise the firm texture.
Matthew explained that while they can be stored whole, this causes the onion to convert starch to sugar, and can result in “soft or soggy onions”.
Outside of the fridge, there are a few other rules to follow if you want the best flavour from your onions months after buying them.
One of the most important things to do is remove loose onions from their packaging.
Plastic grocery bags are the worst for storage though even the netting can hinder how fresh your onions are if they’re tightly packed.
Margarethe Cooper, a biomedical science expert said: “If you leave whole onions in a grocery bag without air circulation, it will reduce shelf life by keeping moisture in and encouraging spoilage microbes to grow, such as mould.
“High levels of moisture can also lead onions to sprout.
“If the bag you purchased or stored the onions in from the store is airtight, transfer them to a mesh bag or container that allows air circulation.”
The second thing to consider when storing onions in your kitchen is nearby ingredients.
Anything that emits moisture such as starchy potatoes and squash should be kept well away from items that thrive in dry conditions.
Of course, darkness is a given if you’re keeping vegetables in a cool place like a cupboard, but those left on the kitchen counter also need to be shaded.
For this reason, it is best to keep them out of direct sunlight and in a well-ventilated, dry spot.
If you’re wondering how to store a cut onion for optimal freshness, the same rule applies to your fridge when it comes to nearby produce.
Unlike whole onions, those that have been cut are best stored in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container.
Margarethe said: “It is important to note that apples, pears, and celery will absorb onion odours if stored near them, so making sure the onions are sealed can help prevent this from happening”.
While onions may have a stronger taste, they can easily absorb apple and pear odours, leaving an oddly sweet scent.
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