Gardening Articles: Health :: Cooking

Preserving Onions (page 2 of 2)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Freezing

Onions are so easy to store for fresh use that you probably won't want to bother freezing any. However, if some of your onions aren't keeping well or are starting to sprout, you can salvage them by peeling and pureeing them in a blender. Pour the puree into ice trays, cover them with plastic (so the odor won't affect other foods) and freeze them. After the onion cubes have frozen, transfer them to a plastic bag in your freezer. They're good for gravies and taking the "canned" taste away from canned soup.

If you want to freeze whole onions, however, here's how: Peel and wash the onions and blanch them in scalding water until the centers are heated (three minutes for small onions, seven minutes for medium to large ones). Cool, drain and put the onions on cookie sheets, and place the sheets in the freezer. After they're frozen, put the onions in a plastic bag for convenient storage. Freezing them in this two-step way makes them easier to use; they stay separate, so it's easy to take out only the amount you need.

To keep large, European onions that don't store well, wash, chop and freeze them without blanching. Pack them in small containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.

For the best flavor, use frozen onions within a month or two.

Canning

Onions can be canned in a pressure canner, but they discolor and lose their shape. It's easier and more satisfactory to pickle them, freeze them or just store them. Even the "canned" onions you find in the store aren't plain - they're usually pickled with a brine and spices.

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