By now, you have probably all harvested the onions in your garden. But what to do with them?
Onions need to be dried out before they are stored so they will last longer. Like I said in the column on potatoes, a root cellar would be excellent but many of us do not have that available.
Instead, we need to do all we can to make them last as long as possible.
Once you have pulled the onions, lay them out flat on a large tray (I constructed several large screens stretched over frames made of 2x4s) where they can be placed in the sun for a couple of weeks. They will need to be moveable because they have to be put under a shelter at night so the dew does not collect on them. Also, if it rains, they will need to be moved to a dry location.
You will know they are ready to store away when the tops have dried out and turned brown. Then you can cut off the tops about an inch or two above the onion and trim the roots if you want to make them look neater. They are ready to be stored – a cool, dark location is again best for them. If the tops were dried completely, they will last like this for quite a while, but if you have more than you know you will eat over a few months, there are other ways to preserve.
You can always freeze them, which is easy to do. It just take a little time. You can chop the onions or slice them and put them in vacuum-sealed bags. I usually portion them in one cup amounts because that equals about one onion. Freeze them, and they are ready to use whenever you need them.
You also can dry them to make onion powder but it takes a lot of onions to make a little powder. Once they are completely dried, they should be brittle. Crush them up in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, then enjoy the seasoning in your favorite meals.
Until next time, happy garden-fresh eating!
Julie Clements is a Butler County Master Gardener.
Share your ideas for garden-fresh recipes or ways to preserve at firstname.lastname@example.org and some will be featured in upcoming columns.