How to Harvest and Store Onions


Onions have been pleasing eaters (and sometimes annoying their tablemates) for at least 5,000 years, and the potent bulbs' popularity shows no sign of waning. In the United States, only potatoes and head lettuce rank ahead of onions on the list of most-eaten vegetables.

Things You'll Need

  • Baskets
  • Garden Knives
  • Garden Trowels
  • Gardening Gloves
  • Harvest scallions, or green onions, when the tops are about 6 inches tall. The younger they are the milder their flavor will be.

  • Harvest mature onions when their tops turn yellow and begin to topple.

  • Loosen the soil around each bulb and pull or dig it up carefully; damaged onions rot quickly.

  • Spread the bulbs - tops intact - on a flat surface above the ground and leave them until the skins are dry and the tops have withered completely (2 to 10 days outside; roughly two weeks indoors in a well-ventilated spot).

  • Cut off the tops, leaving about an inch of stem, and store the bulbs in mesh bags in a place that's cool (35 to 40 degrees F), dry and well-ventilated.

  • Check your stash frequently; if any bulbs have sprouted, use them right away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never store onions near potatoes, which give off moisture as well as a gas that makes onions spoil more quickly.

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