Let’s admit it, a lot of delicious dishes start with slices of onion. And it’s only reasonable that you buy this kitchen staple in bulk at the nearby farmers’ market. But the problem is, there’s no more storage space left for them in your pantry.
Now you’re wondering, can you freeze onions instead? The short answer is, yes! Instead of tossing out the unused or leftover onions, try freezing them to extend their shelf life!
Freezing onions is super easy! Just how you can freeze celery to preserve them, onions also store well in the freezer. Plus, frozen onions always come in handy when you like to whip up a quick dinner or some yummy onion recipes.
In this article, we’ll share with you a few easy ways to freeze these versatile veggies for later use. We’ll also give you some ideas on how to extend their shelf life, where you can use these frozen onions, and more!
How to Freeze Onions
Freezing is actually one of the best ways to delay onion spoilage. And it’s easy-peasy! You’ll only be needing onions, a reliable sharp knife, a cutting board, cookie sheets, and freezer bags. Follow these simple steps and we guarantee you, once you learn how to freeze onions, prepping your dinner will be a breeze!
- First, pick fully mature onions.
- Next, wash them well under running water. You can use a handy vegetable brush for a more thorough cleaning.
- Then, peel the skin off and chop to your preferred sizes.
- Lastly, freeze them using either of these methods:
Dry Pack – Place the chopped onions in freezer bags. Remove all air and seal tightly. Lay the freezer bags flat on a tray before putting them in the freezer so they’ll cool much faster.
Tray Pack – Spread out the onion slices on a clean cookie sheet, then place in the freezer. Wait for about an hour before transferring the sliced or diced onions to the freezer bags. Squeeze out air from the bags, then put them in the freezer.
Tips in Freezing Onions
Now that you know how to keep onions fresh through freezing, here are some additional tips that might be of help:
- Minimize the onions’ strong odor. The trick to making this possible is quite easy. After chopping the bulbs, transfer them to a strainer and wash under running water. Let the slices dry off first before transferring them to the freezer bags.
- Use thicker freezer bags. It’s best to use such containers to avoid the spread of the pungent smell into your freezer. You can also use canning jars or airtight containers.
- Date the containers. Make sure to label the bags with the date you’ll be putting them in the freezer.
How to Store Onions
Onions are undoubtedly the most indispensable culinary staple there is. They’re always included in your shopping lists and you tend to overbuy.
How long do onions last? You’re probably wondering this while looking at the stockpiles sitting on your kitchen counter. Aside from the freezing method, there are other best ways to store onions to extend their shelf life.
Storing Frozen Onions
To extend the shelf life of your frozen onions much longer, always place them in freezer-friendly containers such as plastic freezer bags, freezer paper, freezer aluminum foil, and airtight plastic containers. The use of such containers also prevents the pungent smell from spreading throughout your freezer.
Keep the freezer temperature at or below 0 degrees F. Frozen onions, just like any other frozen veggies, last for about eight months. Rest assured that you’ll only be using the best onions when you make crispy onion rings for a late-night movie.
Storing Fresh Onions
Like any other vegetable such as potatoes, the best way to store raw onions is to keep them in a cool, dark place between 45 and 55 degrees F. Hang those strings of onions in your basement or root cellar. If properly stored, they can keep for two to three months.
When stored at room temperature, they’ll last for up to a week. However, it’s ideal to place them in a container with proper ventilation such as an open basket or a mesh bag. And if stored in the fridge, raw onions can last for up to two weeks.
Can you freeze whole, fresh onions? Freezing whole onions is discouraged because they’ll be hard to thaw and use when cooking. We recommend that you cut them first before putting them in the freezer.
Storing Cooked Onions
Have any leftover cooked onions? Don’t toss them away and store them in the fridge instead. Place them in an airtight container. They can keep for three to five days when refrigerated. Remember that you should store them properly within a few hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth.
Can you freeze cooked onions? Absolutely. If stored in the freezer, they can last for up to three months. Reheat the leftovers properly when ready to eat.
Where to Use Frozen Onions
The good thing about homemade frozen onions is that you get to chop them to your preferred sizes. The downside, however, is that freezing may change their texture, making them not suitable for fresh dishes like salads and salsas.
Well, fret not as you can still make some delicious meals out of these frozen veggies. They work perfectly with cooked dishes such as stews, soups, and casseroles. And of course, dishes also make use of frozen onions as a flavorsome ingredient for sautéing.
Here are more delish recipes that you should add to your menu:
- French Onion Soup – Bring this crowd-favorite soup to your home with this easy recipe! Sweet caramelized onions give this stew extra flavor. Pair this savory soup with French bread for a filling meal.
- French Onion Chicken – Chicken breasts slathered with French onion broth make a sumptuous weeknight meal. It’s baked to perfection, making each bite much more palatable.
- Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Soup – Looking for a hearty meal? Give this recipe a try! You can never go wrong with this filling vegetable dish.
- Mexican Meatball Stew – This Mexican-inspired dish makes for the perfect comfort food! Plus, the blend of sweet and sour from the tomatoes and corn will truly delight your taste buds.
Freezing Onions Is Definitely a Good Idea
There’s no need to throw out unused chopped onions anymore. Freezing them is yet another way to keep them at the best quality for later use. Plus, preparing your onions in advance is truly a time-saver! When ready to use, all you have to do is pull them out of the freezer and start cooking. You’ll surely enjoy the convenience it’ll bring to you.