Harvesting and Storing Onions

Reader Contribution by Benedict Vanheems
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To store onions successfully, they first need to be cured properly.  At harvest time, carefully dig your onions up and lay the bulbs on the soil surface or on a wire rack. If the weather is wet, dry them under cover instead; for example, in a well-ventilated greenhouse or hoop house.

Curing Onions 

If you’ve started drying your onions outside, after about a week move them under cover. You can dry onions on racks or on layers of newspaper in a greenhouse, hoop house or cold frame.

Spread the onions out as much as possible and ensure good ventilation to prevent mold or rotting. Continue to dry them for up to two weeks. They are ready to store when the skins become papery, the leaves are completely shriveled, and the roots are dry and wiry.

At this point, cut off the roots and remove any loose skins. If you plan to store your bulbs in onion strings, cut the stems to within 2 to 3 inches of the neck of the bulb. If not, cut the stem to the neck.

Storing Onions

Use up any soft or thick-necked bulbs as soon as possible, as they won’t store well.

Healthy cured onions can be stored in net bags and hung up in a garage, shed or unheated room in the house — anywhere that is dry, cool, well-ventilated and out of direct sunlight. Check the nets occasionally and remove any onions that have gone bad.

Make an Onion String

To make an onion string, take a length of string about 3 to 4 feet long and tie the two ends together to form a loop. Hang it from a hook to start braiding your onions onto the string.

Insert the first onion through the center of the loop, then weave the stem around the string to return it through the loop. Push the onion to the bottom of the loop. Repeat with the next onion exactly the same way. Make sure to rotate the position of each additional onion so they sit neatly in a spiral. Hang up your completed string in a cool, dry place.

 View the video below for a demonstration.

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