Do you store onions in your pantry to last throughout the winter season? It’s essential to understand the shelf life of onions in the pantry, as well as additional storage tips, so you can preserve them all winter long!
How Long Do Onions Last in the Pantry?
Onions are not only nutritious but also have a robust flavor that many people enjoy. They serve as the foundation for numerous dishes, such as Spanish paella and French onion soup.
If you’re an onion enthusiast, learning how to store them properly can be incredibly beneficial, particularly if you plan to use them over an extended period.
So, how long do onions last in the pantry? Whole raw onions can remain fresh for up to two to three months in a pantry if stored at temperatures between 45 and 55°F. If not stored correctly, they will lose their flavor and eventually spoil.
Continue reading to discover the shelf life of various types of onions, the best methods for storing them, and ways to extend their longevity.
How Long Do Different Types of Onions Last in the Pantry?
There are several onion varieties, each with a unique lifespan. It’s crucial to know how long each type of onion lasts so you can stock up accordingly and avoid wasting your resources.
Here is a breakdown of the shelf life of different onion varieties when stored in the pantry:
|Onion||How long does it last in pantry|
|Yellow Onion||6 weeks|
|White Onion||6 weeks|
|Red Onion||4-6 weeks|
|Sweet Onion||10 days|
|Green Onion||3 days|
How Long Do Onions Last in the Fridge?
|Onion||How long does it last in fridge|
|Whole, Raw Onions||3+ months|
|Peeled, Whole Onions||10-14 days|
|Cut, Sliced, Chopped Onions||4-7 days|
|Cooked Onions||3 days|
How to Store Onions So They Last?
Onions can easily spoil due to heat, humidity, or even freezing temperatures. The ideal method for storing them is in a cool environment with low humidity (between 40-55°F), allowing any moisture to evaporate quickly when they begin to sweat.
Although whole onions can be stored in a refrigerator, it is not recommended because whole raw onions absorb moisture rapidly, causing them to become soft. In contrast, peeled and sliced onions are better stored in a refrigerator. Peeled onions can last from 10 to 14 days in the fridge, while sliced or cut onions can last about 7 to 10 days.
Here’s a guide on how and where to store each type of onion:
Storing In the Pantry
- Yellow Onions: Store yellow onions in a cool, dark, and dry area. Hot temperatures can cause them to sprout and dampen, leading to rot or mold.
- White Onions: Like yellow onions, white onions should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place to prevent sprouting, dampening, or rotting.
- Red Onions: Store red onions by tying their stalks together and hanging them or placing them in a mesh tube with both ends tied. This method ensures optimal airflow and prevents moisture buildup.
- Shallots: Keep shallots in a cool, dark, and dry location, such as an open basket, pantyhose, a mesh bag, or a bamboo steamer. This storage method allows proper ventilation for up to 4 weeks.
- Sweet Onions: Sweet onions spoil faster than other onion types due to their lower pyruvic acid content. Store them away from moisture in a dry and cool location. If a cool place isn’t available, store them in the refrigerator. The cool environment prevents moisture buildup on the sweet onion’s skin and avoids peeling that can occur when exposed to air for too long.
Storing In the Refrigerator
- Spring Onions: Spring onions can be stored in the pantry for a few days, but they have more moisture than other onion types. To make them last longer, store them in the refrigerator. If you plan to use spring onions within a few days, hang them upside down in a cool, dry area with good air circulation to prevent root moisture buildup and rotting.
- Half an Onion: To store half-cut onions, place the cut side down, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or cling film, and store it in an airtight container such as a plastic zipper bag. This method prevents the onion from drying out and stops excess moisture from seeping through.
- Chopped Onions: Chopped onions should not be wrapped in cling film or plastic wrap. Instead, use a plastic container or a plastic zipper bag.
- Cooked Onions: Cooked onions should be sealed in an airtight container to prevent drying out. After sealing, store them away from other foods in the refrigerator to avoid picking up any smells.
- Whole Raw Onions: Whole raw onions can be stored in the refrigerator if your home is too warm. However, keep in mind that their texture might become softer due to moisture absorption.
Onions can also be stored in a garage, root cellar, basement, or any other cool and dry area away from direct sunlight.
5 Tips For Storing Onion
Here are some general tips to help extend your onions’ shelf life:
- Keep Onions Away from Moisture: Store onions in a dry pantry to prevent spoiling or rotting. Avoid humid areas like under the sink or in the basement.
- Store in the Right Temperature: The optimal temperature for storing onions is between 40-55°F. Storing them in hot or cold temperatures can cause them to dry out, sprout, rot, or become moldy.
- Refrigerate if Necessary: Always store sliced, chopped, and cooked onions in the refrigerator. These types of onions are not suitable for pantry storage and will spoil quickly outside the fridge.
- Use the Right Type of Packaging: Store onions in mesh bags or brown bags with holes to ensure adequate airflow and moisture control. Avoid using plastic bags for fresh whole onions in the pantry, as they can cause moisture buildup and rotting. However, when storing onions in the refrigerator, keep them away from other foods, especially potatoes, to prevent odor absorption.
- Wrap and Store Cut Onions Properly: Half-cut onions should be wrapped tightly in cling film or plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container, while chopped onions should be stored in a plastic zipper bag.
Can You Freeze Onions?
Good news! You can extend the shelf-life of your onions by freezing them, which is especially useful when you have a surplus of onions that you don’t plan to use immediately.
Here are some tips to help you freeze your onions effectively:
- Peel and chop or slice your onions into thick pieces before freezing. Whole onions don’t fare well in freezing temperatures and become soft, mushy, or squishy when defrosting.
- Store your onions in smaller portions, allowing you to defrost just the right amount without losing much freshness.
- Remove as much air as possible from your freezer bag when storing onions in the freezer, or use a freezer-safe container.
- For the best flavor, use frozen onions within three months of freezing.
How Long Can Onions Be In Freezer?
When stored properly, raw onions can last up to eight months in the freezer, while cooked onions can last up to one year.
The lifespan of an onion depends on the type and how it was prepared before freezing. Chopped onions stored in a proper freezer container will last much longer than whole onions or onions not stored in a freezer-safe bag.
You can also sauté chopped onions and freeze them in individual meal-sized portions.
How to Tell If an Onion Is Bad
If you’re unsure whether your onions have gone bad, there are several telltale signs to look for:
- Mold: One of the most obvious signs of food spoilage is mold. If you notice mold on the surface of your onions, it means they’ve been exposed to too much moisture. You can salvage a molding onion with only a small amount of mold and no other signs of spoilage by wiping away the moldy part with a dry cloth and storing it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. However, it’s safer to discard the onion.
- Discoloration: If your onion has gone bad, you’ll see black or brown spots on the outer layer, which typically occurs when an onion sits out for too long. You can still use a discolored onion by peeling and cutting out the discolored spots and using the onion as soon as possible. However, if the brown or black spots have reached the inner layer of your onion, it’s time to discard it.
- Putrid Smell: Onions have a distinct smell, so you can tell if your whole or cut onion smells off. This is usually one of the biggest indicators that your onion has gone bad. If your onion starts to smell off, it will also have other signs of spoilage, such as leaking, discoloration, or a soft texture. Cooked onions often smell fishy and have a strange, slimy texture. It’s best to discard cooked onions that are more than three days old.
- Mushy or Soft Texture: If an onion becomes mushy, slimy, or soft, it indicates that it has lost all moisture and is no longer suitable for use. If only part of your onion has gone soft, peel a layer or two and use the rest of the onion as soon as possible.
Is it safe to eat sprouted onion?
It’s safe to eat onions that have sprouted, but they may taste more bitter than usual. It’s best to eat sprouted onions as soon as possible and remove the green parts from the center of the onion.
Should you wash onions before storing?
You shouldn’t wash onions before storing them in a pantry, as the moisture can cause them to rot quickly. Ensure that your onions are stored in a dry, dark place away from moisture.
Which onions have the longest shelf life?
If you’re growing your own onions to store later, you can consider the storage duration of each type to determine what’s best for you. Some onion suppliers, such as Dixondale, include a storage duration for each type. For example, shallots can last 7-8 months in a root cellar, making them an excellent choice for long-term storage.