We sure love alliums in this family. Onions, leeks, garlic.. oftentimes all in the same dish. They are cheap to buy, and also super simple to grow, especially leeks and green onions, that can stay in the ground all winter even and be just fine. But what about storage onions? Is it difficult to prep onions to keep?
Great news! Storage onions are super easy too. The easiest way to grow them is with onion sets, which look like little dried up mini-onions. There are tons of onion varieties, the ones we planted were called “Stuttgarter” and honestly, they came from a box I bought at Fred Meyer. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but last year we picked onions as they grew and used them fresh, and we still ended up with about 16 pounds of onions that lasted us all winter long! I don’t think I bought onions until.. March maybe, from last summer. And now that our onions have grown again, I won’t need to for a good long while.
But how do you prep the onions for storage? Basically, you pull them out of the ground and let them dry. You need nice warm/hot weather for this, and a dry, somewhat sheltered area or a space in a garage. When your onion stems topple over on their own, they are ready to be pulled. (See photo below) Pull them out of the ground, when they are dry (it’s best if you haven’t watered them in a day or two, but our onions got watered regularly as they are right in the middle of our garden, and we just waited until the next morning before watering and they were fine)
Last year we laid all the onions out on an old cabinet door propped between the wheelbarrow and a chair or something. THIS year we’ve gotten fancier, and we’ll be laying them out on an old picnic table. Movin’ on up. You can use a sheet and lay them on the ground on a warm driveway or in a garage. I wanted them up and off the ground to keep them dry just in case it rained. Then they sat out back in our covered car port for a couple of weeks drying in the heat. The exact time to sit out is not specific, basically you leave them until the stalks are all shrively and there doesn’t seem to be any moisture in them anymore. You can see in the top picture last years onions, a few newer ones thrown in with some very shriveled ones. Once they are nice and dry, cut the stems off close to the bulb, and cut the excess roots off. Dust them off a little if you like, and stack them gently in a box for storage. Store where you would usually keep onion, a cool, dark place.
You could no doubt get all fancy with your onion drying and storage, and if you wanna, go for it. This was the easiest way to do it, and it provided us with onions for like half the year! We’re going to replant some sets as we clear out the onion box, and those we’ll probably use smaller and straight from the garden as summer and fall progress.
I hope you find this post a-peel-ing! haaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..