Onions are one of those vegetables that everyone has on hand for cooking. They are the go-to veggie for flavoring soups, stews, and sauces. The great thing about this vegetable is how versatile it is. You can serve crispy varieties on a green bean casserole, or eat pickled ones with a BBQ sandwich. One thing not many people are clear on is, how long do onions last?
Their shelf life depends on where and how you store them. The National Onion Association determined that this vegetable needs to be stored in a cool, dry place, with proper air circulation for the best results.
Here are the best food storage options to increase the shelf life of everyone's favorite vegetable.
How to Store Onions
If you want to store whole onions, keep them at room temperature in a dark place. They will last about two to three months using this method.
Miles Kimball Potato & Onion Sprout-Free Vegetable Storage Bags
You can store them in a mesh bag, basket or bowl, but leave the peel intact! These breathable bags keep your onions dark and cool.
Make sure to avoid storing them in a plastic bag, as this vegetable needs ventilation. Also, avoid storing them with potatoes. Potatoes emit ethylene, which can cause your veggies and fruits to rot quickly.
This storage method works well for red, yellow, and white onions, as well as shallots.
If you have some leftover raw onions, your best bet is to store them in the refrigerator. This works best for diced or chopped varieties, as they are easier to store. Make sure to store the cut version in an airtight container to keep out moisture.
Your chopped onions will last about 7-10 days, while a whole onion can last up to two months.
Spring onions and scallions are also best kept in the fridge. Take the bunches and wrap them in a damp paper towel before storing them in a plastic bag.
Freezing Onions for Later
The cooked variety is great to keep in the freezer. Frozen onions can last 10-12 months if stored properly.
To store, simply wrap the chopped onions in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, or store in an airtight freezer bag.
How To Tell When They Go Bad
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Luckily for us, this vegetable has some strong signs of spoilage.
If you see dark brown spots, discoloration, or mold on the onion, it's time to throw them away.
The feel of the bulb will also tell you if it's bad. Onions will develop soft spots and can shoots can be seen sprouting from the bulb. If it's wilting, it's gone bad.
If you're still unsure, smell your vegetable. If it smells like anything other than an onion, it's time to toss it.