Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Storage Onions are Done

I walked down to the basement to tend to my seedlings recently and my nostrils were filled with the smell of onion. A quick check on the storage onions revealed that they were indeed finished:


Luckily, not all of these onions went to waste. I brought them upstairs, donned rubber gloves, and salvaged what I could. The rest were tossed into the compost pile.

I planted way too many onions last year. The onion seeds were old and I assumed many would not be viable, so I planted them thickly. The seeds germinated better than expected and I ended up rearranging my garden to accommodate the extra onion seedlings. The results were a substantial onion harvest.

Most of the onion harvest were chopped and frozen but some were left loose in a mesh bag and stored down in the cool basement. These stored for seven months.

The last several years, I have grown Patterson and Copra because they are known for their long storage abilities. However, I have found that chopping and freezing onions is more convenient than storing them. It is easy to open a freezer bag, grab a handful of onions, and throw them into soups, stews, roasting pan, or frying pan.

This year, I am reducing the amount of onions in the garden. I always grow a bunching scallion such as Evergreen or White Lisbon. I also plant some Red Barron onion sets, but this year I am trying White Sweet Spanish onions for the first time.

12 comments:

  1. I don't have many storage onions left either. I did chop up and freeze a lot of them. So, I think we will make it through.

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    1. I still have lots of onions in the freezer, so I think I will be ok until this year's crop begins growing. I think I will freeze all onions in the future.

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  2. I'm not planting onions this year. I have not had much luck getting them past golf ball size. I'll try again next season.

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    1. Onions did take up a lot of garden space last year. I did have my share of small onions, but some did really well. I will be growing onions in a different part of the garden this year, so we will see how they do.

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  3. I wish we had your problem. Onions were almost a bust last year. This year, we're trying it again! Gotta have onions.

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    1. Please do try growing onions again. I have onions grow very well in some sections of my garden and very poorly in others. I think soil fertility is the issue. Good luck :)

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  4. I did ok with bunching onions last year, but the storage onions were pitiful. Just before our local produce stand closed for the season in October I bought a 50 lb bag of local (Eastern Washington) yellow onions for $12. There are 4 left and they are starting to sprout. I think I'll pass on trying to grow my own this year and just plan on buying another big bag again in the fall ...

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    1. Luckily, bunching onions always seem to do well for me and I love the mild fresh onion flavor for most things. Storage onions are a work in progress. This past year was the most successful.

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  5. Wow- I really like the onion picture there. I love growing onions but growing storage onions in the winter can be hard here in Tucson. Most of ours are short-term. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Unfortunately, about half of the onions pictured had begun to sprout and rot but i was still impressed that they lasted 7 months stored in the basement.

      I imagine that storage onions are a challenge in Tucson because of the amount of winter sunlight. You must need to focus on short-day to intermediate-day varieties.

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  6. What is this "too many onions" of which you speak? Really, storing sounds terrific. Mine were better chopped and frozen, too. I wish I'd planted three times as much. I fantasize about planting enough of the Cippollini to pickle them. . . Yours always look so good.

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  7. I had the opposite problem last year. Our cool summer wreaked havoc on the onion crop and I got a minimal one and have had to rely almost exclusively on green onions through the late winter and early spring. I have some onions I overwintered which I just filled in gaps on that bed with some red onion sets. I have some Ailsa Craig onions I started ultra early that are growing in containers on my deck, and I have lots of Ailsa Craig and red onions that I started as seeds at the normal time that are ready to go into the ground pretty much any time now (if the rain would let up I could do it!).

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