Proper storage of the crop can often be just as difficult as growing it, and requires following certain procedures. In our article, we will share useful information on how to properly store onions.
Preparing for storage
First of all, let’s point out that half of the success is collecting and preparing crops correctly. Before storing, the onion bulbs must be carefully dug up and thoroughly dried. Onions are usually harvested, depending on the variety, 90-120 days after planting. The leaves have had the time to turn yellow, the bulbs have matured, and the scape bases have thinned out. Harvest in dry weather. First, carefully dig up the bulbs, and try not to damage the bottom, then carefully lay them out in a row to dry. Some people simply pull out the onions and shake the dirt off, tapping them on a hard surface, but this is not recommended: it damages the bulbs, and they won’t keep quite as long.
Next, we proceed to drying, and direct sunlight is the best tool for the job: it will eliminate not only excess moisture, but also unwanted microorganisms. In sunny weather, the onion will dry completely in one to two weeks. In cloudy weather, you have to dry the crop in a well-ventilated area, for example, on the veranda, balcony, in the gazebo. It is best to dry the onions on grid-like nets that are ventilated from all sides: no need to turn the bulbs over in this case.
Experienced housewives remove most of the tunic before drying the onion in a drafty area. The peeled onions gradually acquire new scales, which will allow them to keep longer when stored at home.
After drying, start trimming. You need to remove the dry “feathers”, leaving about 10 cm to prevent infection from entering the neck of the bulb. The roots are also subject to pruning; however, it is enough to leave 2 cm here. Finally, excess dry shells are removed.
The ideal place where the crop will keep for a long time is a dry cellar or basement with an air temperature of about 0 ° C. However, chances are, you don’t have such a room in your house. Therefore, before storing onions at home, pay special attention to the preparation of containers.
Most often used for these purposes are:
- wicker containers (baskets);
- wooden boxes and cardboard boxes;
- fabric bags;
- nylon tights or stockings;
- string bags or special nets designed for storing vegetables.
Do not look for over-sized drawers or boxes – their height should not exceed 30 cm, you must also make sure the are ventilation holes. Bags, nets should be medium in size. The maximum height of the layer of onions stored in them is 30 cm. If you had an abundant harvest, it is better to use several smaller containers, than one massive one. It will require more room, but vegetables will keep much longer.
Correctly storing the crop does not mean hiding it in the far corner. Many housewives know how to preserve onions, and at the same time make them a decoration for their kitchen. Do not rush to cut onion feathers after drying, but rather braid them in a braid. Carefully made, such products look great, but they also clean the air of germs.
- Even if you have taken into account all the recommendations and know exactly how to store onions correctly, the crop must be periodically sorted: during selection, infected bulbs that may decay and infect healthy ones might go unnoticed. Also make sure to separate the damp bulbs during the “audit”. You can remedy the dampness with the help of an oven. Heat it to a minimum temperature, turn off the heat and dry the fruits with the door open.
- To avoid moisture, the onions are sprinkled with husk, or ground chalk (in a proportion of 200 g per 10 kg of onion). Chalk absorbs excess moisture and prevents germination and decay.
- Most housewives store several types of vegetables at home at once. You must remember that some of them, such as beets, potatoes, require a high level of humidity. Therefore, onions must be stored separately. For the same reason, you can’t close tightly the containers in which the onions are stored, otherwise, the bulbs will begin to rot.
- The humidity level in the storage room can be reduced by arranging containers with absorbents, such as ash or wood shavings, which will absorb excess moisture.
- It is better to take care of the preservation of the crop before it is planted: the lifespan of an onion at home is largely determined by its varietal characteristics. Yellow onions are stored longer than others, since their scales contain a lot of dry substances and essential oils, and they are more dense than red or white varieties.
- Some homemakers use modern bio chemicals to preserve a large crop. Some of them can increase the shelf life of the product by more than two times. Quality drugs are harmless, and can even be beneficial to humans. Often, they are sold in the convenient form of a spray bottle.