Do Onions Last Longer in the Refrigerator or on the Counter? (ANSWERED!)
I’ve always been a bit of an onion nerd, and I love to learn about new ways to store them. So here are some things that might surprise you about your favorite foodie friend:
How long do onions last in the fridge?
- Onions last for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. They can be stored in a plastic bag with holes in it, which will allow the onions to breathe. If you have an open space between layers of onions, they’re more likely to rot due to moisture buildup.
- Some people store their onions outside of the refrigerator and simply cut off any parts that show signs of spoilage. This method is particularly useful if you have limited space in your fridge or don’t mind having a few rotten pieces floating around on your shelf!
- If you find yourself with half an onion left over, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and throw it in there too! Once opened, store them back in their original container or place them inside a ziplock baggie with some air removed (this will help prevent browning). They’ll be good for at least another week—if they don’t start sprouting little green shoots by then!
How long do onions last on the counter?
Onions can last up to five days on the countertop or in the pantry. If you’re not planning to use them within that time frame, transfer them to the fridge for storage.
Like potatoes and apples, onions have plenty of natural sugars that make them susceptible to mold growth if they’re stored at too high a temperature (70 °F/21 °C) or humidity level (85%). For this reason, we recommend keeping your jarred onions somewhere cool and dry where they won’t be bothered by pests like ants or rodents who might try to sneak a bite while no one is looking!
How to store onions to make them last longer.
Storing onions in a cool, dry place is the best way to keep them fresh. Here are some storage options:
- Please place them in a paper bag and store them on the counter or in a cool, dark cabinet. The paper will help regulate moisture levels while keeping out harmful bacteria.
- Store it in plastic bags. If you’re planning on using onions within a few days, they can be stored in plastic for up to 1 week at room temperature (or 2 weeks if refrigerated).
- If you have access to a basement or garage with moderate temperatures as well as low humidity, this may be an ideal place for your onions too.
- The preferred temperature if you want onions to last the longest is going to be anywhere where it’s really cold and dry. This halts the decomposition process. For example, if you leave your onions on the countertop, they’ll last no more than a week. In the refrigerator, they’ll last about 2 weeks. And in the freezer, they’ll last several months.
If you don’t have any of these options available and want to save money by buying more than what could fit into one bag, consider investing in some mesh onion bags rather than throwing away all those extra unopened packages every time there’s an “emergency” situation where they’re needed urgently.
How to tell if an onion has gone bad
There are a few telltale signs that an onion is no longer usable.
If you’re unsure whether your onions are still good, they can always be tested in one of two ways:
- By cutting off one end (so as not to contaminate whatever food they might touch) and smelling them.
- By breaking apart each clove with your fingers (making sure not to touch any other potential surfaces) and tasting it yourself.
Both methods have their benefits, but you’re also going to need supplemental evidence to figure out if it’s truly gone bad or not:
- Smelling will tell you if there’s any mold growing inside without having anything else get contaminated.
- The tasting will give more information about overall flavor quality than just plain sight alone would provide because different products age at drastically different rates depending on their origin, location, etc.
- So what might look fine but taste bad could be due simply to the fact that they were harvested too soon, whereas another batch nearby looks browned but tastes fine.
How to store cut onions
You can extend the life of cut onions by storing them in a cool, dry place. The refrigerator is one such place, but there are many others as well. Here are some tips on how to store your cut onion:
- Store it in a paper bag. Put your sliced onion inside a paper bag and store it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. This will help keep the air around them fresh and prevent mold from growing on top of them.
- Store it in an airtight container to prevent air from causing your onions to go bad. I recommend buying those containers that have the lid as a pump. And when you cover it up, you manually pump out the air and create this vacuum interior. It will keep your cut onions not only fresh for a much longer time, but will also preserve their taste, smell, and flavor.
How to store peeled onions
- Store them in the fridge.
- Freeze them.
- Keep them in a pantry or cupboard, but store them in a plastic bag to prevent the onions from drying out.
- Please place them in a basket for easy access to onions that have been peeled and chopped but that you don’t want to use right away.
- Put them in boxes so they can be stored for longer than 10 days, as long as you keep good track of what day you pulled out your last onion!
Can you put onions in the freezer?
You can freeze onions for longer storage, but they will lose some of their flavors. You can freeze them whole, chopped, or sliced. To keep the onions from being freezer burned, you should use an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag to store them in the freezer.
They are best used within 2 months of freezing.
Can you still use an onion that has gone bad?
Onions are a great way to add flavor to your dish, but what do you do if you’ve already cut into it and found that it’s starting to go bad? Can you still save it and use it in a recipe?
The answer is yes, you can still use an onion that has gone bad. However, you need to be careful not to contaminate other ingredients or the cooking area with the rot. If the onion is only slightly soft or discolored, then you may be able to salvage it by peeling off the outer layer. If parts of the onion are moldy, then discard them and only use the healthy parts.
However, if your onion has completely gone bad and turned brown or yellowish-brown in color everywhere or if it’s starting to smell funky, I would just recommend throwing it away.
If an onion has started to rot, then cook with caution. Make sure that all areas of contact with food are sanitary and avoid using any part of the onion that is visibly affected by mold growth.
What can you do with an onion that has gone bad?
Don’t think that a little bit of mold on your onion means that you have to throw it away. You can always cut the part of the mold right off and make sure that the rest of your onion isn’t infected.
You can throw whatever parts that are not infected into your next meal. However, do it soon, because when an onion goes bad, the flavor and the texture begin to fall out of the window.
If your onion has gone bad, you can also use it as a fertilizer for your plants or garden. Onions have a lot of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, potassium, calcium, copper, and magnesium. It will nourish the ground and help sprout seeds and plants.
Why you should never store onions near potatoes
The main reason why you should not store these two vegetables together is that they both produce ethylene gas.
Ethylene is a ripening chemical compound that speeds up the process of fruit and vegetable ripening. When onions and potatoes are stored together, ethylene will speed up the process of potato and onion ripening, making them soft and mushy.
Fun facts about onions
Did you know?
- Onions are part of the lily family.
- They’re also an excellent source of vitamins C and B6, plus folic acid.
- These veggies have sulfur compounds that give them their distinctive smell!
In summary, onions can last for up to two months in the refrigerator and up to six months on the counter. You can also store onions at room temperature or in a cool, shaded area outside. You should avoid storing them near potatoes or other fruits and vegetables because they emit ethylene gas, which will cause other food items like apples or tomatoes to come out prematurely ripe or rot. If you want your onions to last longer, make sure they’re stored properly by keeping them at least 50% covered with water in a sealed container away from sunlight.
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