Last Updated: April 15, 2022

How Long Do Onions Last? Find The Best Ways to Store Onions

How Long Do Onions Last

Onion is a perishable vegetable that often goes bad. Two years ago, I was willing to store onions, but I was not familiar with how to store onions. Unfortunately, my giant bags of stored onions became bad within two weeks. 

My onions became dry, had brown spots, and mussy necks. Some of them became softer, and even a rotten smell was coming out. For this problem, I searched on the internet for solutions. I found that onions can be stored either in the pantry or in the fridge.  

Types of Onions 

There are mainly three types of onions- yellow, red, and green. The storage process and timing are different for each category. 

  • Green onion will train fresh till 1-2 weeks in the fridge.
  • Red onions should be stored in a dry place. According to the NOA
    (National Onion Association)
  • Yellow onions (if appropriately stored) for 4-6 weeks in the pantry and 2 months in the refrigerator.

Find a Suitable Place for Onion Storage 

It is essential to find a proper place to store onions. The place which is 

  • cool 
  • dry
  • well-ventilated 

is considered suitable for onion storage. I prefer to store onions as a whole. Try to peel onions before using them. If you cut, dice, or chop onions, store the leftover in a proper airtight pot and carefully put them in the freezer. 

Do you know what the perfect temperature range to store onions is? It is between 45 and 55°F (about 12°C to 15°C). A place that is too hot is not suitable for the onions storage. If you have a cold cellar or pantry, you can store onions there to maintain the conditions.

I find onions remain good in 

  • a mesh bag, 
  • wire basket or 
  • ventilated bag 

where air passes easily. You can also use nylon stockings and tie a knot between each onion and separate them. You can use a net bag too for storing onions. 

What I Should be Careful of Stored Onions

While storing onions, There are certain things that you should be careful about. 

WARNING!

Don’t store onions in plastic bags 

because plastic bags trap moisture from the onions and limit air circulation. Therefore, onions rot very fast. 

But if the plastic bag is the only option, 

  • keep the top of the plastic bag open 
  • poke some holes in the bag to let the air pass smoothly. 

You can use an open wire basket to store onions, 

wire basket to store onions
Image Credit: shutterstock
  • Don’t keep the onions gathering with each other 
  • If you have a bunch of onions in your storage, check them in every week and separate those onions which have already started to spoil or have spots on them.
  • Never store whole onions and chopped or sliced onions together
  • Keep the stored onions away from water

Furthermore, darkness helps the onions last longer because lack of sunlight reduces temperature change and keeps the onions fresh. 

Different Processing Stages

 You may know that proper storage is mandatory for ensuring the onions last long. Here are some best ways to store onions at different processing stages mentioned below.

  • Peeled Onion

You should be aware that once the onion is peeled, it should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container; otherwise it will cause bacterial contamination. USDA says peeled onions stay for 10-14 days. 

  • Sliced, Cut, or Diced Onion

You can keep onions, either sliced, cut, or diced, wrapped in a refrigerator’s plastic bag. It can be stored for 10 days up to six months. Alternatively, you can also buy peeled or pre-sliced onions from the supermarkets. It will lessen your work, but make sure you use them before expiration. 

  • Cooked Onions

You can also store cooked onions for three to five days. Simply make the onions cool down for some time after cooking and keep them in a pot or container and place them in the fridge.

Moreover, cooked onions can be stored in the freezer for three months at cold temperatures.

Pickled

Pickling involves the way of storing onions in a solution that resists the growth of bacteria that usually spoil vegetables. Pickling is a way of increasing the shelf life of onions at low costs. You have to place peeled onions into a glass or ceramic container or jar filled with salt, spices of your taste, sugar, vinegar, and others. Prepared this way, you can store onions for up to six months.

How Long Do Onions Last in The Pantry?

[two weeks in warm season, one month in cold season]

If you keep onions in a pantry and store them, normally in 

  • warm seasons, they will last about two weeks and 
  • up to one month in cold seasons.  

If you put onions in a whole or raw situation, they will last for nearly three to four months in a cool, dry place like a pantry, cellar, garage, or basement. However, finding such a place in our house is tough and challenging.

You may also like: Can you Freeze Liverwurst?

I do a search and find that if onions can be properly handled, they may last for two to three months in the pantry and sometimes longer than that. But when onions are stored for too long, they will start to dry up and rot. Alternatively, if you follow the food preservation system correctly, onions may last for nearly six months.

How long do onions last? From the readings, I find that onions’ lasting timing is mainly dependent on their storage process, place, and proper maintenance.  

How to Tell if An Onion is Bad?

You can tell it by its:

  • color
  • smell
  • touch.

Bad onions will not be the same as fresh ones. Either you will see dark spots or feel a foul smell from your market-bought onions. You will eventually find which onions are rotten.

You may also take the sniffy test. What is it? You may check the smell of leftover onions. Its smell will change. Also, if you feel onions become soft or spongy, throw them away. They are rotten onions.

Image Credit: shutterstock

Tips for Finding Bad Onions

  1. Smelling unpleasant gas? You can’t eat them. 
  2. Slimy color? Throw these rotting onions away.
  3. Front part falling apart while chopping? BAD BAD BAD!!! 

Exclusive tip: Onions mainly start rotting from the inside. So, you may cut it in half to find out if the onions are good or not.

Three things may tell you if an onion is bad. You have to be aware while shopping from vegetable markets.  

How Long Do Onions Last at Room Temperature?

Onions generally last from seven days to one month at room temperature. They will remain good and eatable for two days to one week. You must ensure proper ventilation to keep the onions molding free and fresh. Keeping the cut onions in the fridge within an airtight container is better.

How Long Does Onion Last in The Fridge

Though a fridge is not ideal for storing onions, because onions absorb water and become softer, you will see onions become softer than the original and lose their texture after thawing out from the fridge. But it does not go bad. You can still eat them.

Can we keep cut onions in the fridge? Yes. Though we find that the refrigerator is not a proper place to store onions, you have to keep them in the fridge after peeling or chopping. Otherwise, it will spoil.

You can store fried or cooked onions in the fridge for four days. You have to place them in a box, cover them adequately, and keep the box in the refrigerator.  

You can store cooked onions for up to one year by frozen technique. You can also use aluminum foil to store cut onions.

How to Store Onions After Cutting

I often have onions left in my house after cooking. So, I cannot keep them open. They are not in the whole shape. Now, what to do?

  1. wash the leftovers 
  2. wrap them (with a clean tissue or napkin for a few minutes)
  3. place the cut onions in a clean container
  4. close the cover and keep the box in the fridge for one week.

How Onions are Stored for Trade and Business

I discovered that storing onions for trade and business is quite tricky. It needs a lot of investment. Traders need a big, spacious place and sacks to store onions. They need to maintain proper temperature in their storage. They often rent large places and warehouses, empty mills, and factories to build a place for onion storage.

You may know that fish and meats are stored in cold storage. Still, onions are typically stored in spacious open storage where enough air can pass, and they prefer to keep the place clean and dark.   

I realize that the price rate for the onions may increase if the onions are not stored properly, and they become bad. Then the price of onions in the market will increase to fulfill the general cost.

Conclusion

That’s all for today. I hope this article will be helpful to know about onion storage and its complete procedures. Next time, you don’t need to throw away your leftover onions. You have to follow the simple steps mentioned above, and your onions won’t go bad.

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