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Onions are common ingredients that people keep in the kitchen. You probably use a lot of onions in a variety of dishes, and they may even be used in other ways.
If you have onions in your kitchen that have aged a bit, you may notice them starting to sprout. Why do onions grow and can you eat onions that have sprouted?
Keep reading to get all the information on why onions grow. This should help keep your onions fresh as long as possible so you can get the most out of them.
Onions grow due to exposure to moisture
What makes onions sprout is moisture, which is why you need to keep onions away from moisture when storing them. Onions can be stored for a very long time, but that doesn’t mean they keep well if you don’t store them properly.
If you don’t store onions properly, they will be exposed to more moisture than usual. This can cause an onion to sprout to try and grow roots, and sometimes onions can even grow a stem.
It may seem very strange at first, but onion bulbs are actually meant to grow new plants. You want to keep them from doing this because you’re trying to use the onions in your food and you don’t want the flavor to be spoiled.
You need to provide the right storage conditions for onions so that they remain dormant. This keeps them fresh and ready to use in dishes.
Can you eat an onion that has sprouted?
There’s nothing dangerous about eating a sprouted onion, but it won’t be ideal. The taste may be a bit off, and you may also notice that there aren’t many onions left to chop.
The main problem with sprouting onions is that there are very few usable onions left for your food. This is why many people choose to discard onions that start sprouting.
It should also be noted that sprouting onions may be on the verge of spoiling. If you see signs that the onion is rotting or if you see mold on the onion, you absolutely should not eat it.
Onions are fine to eat after sprouting as long as they don’t spoil and there is no mold. This may not be ideal and it may be a good idea to discard the onion and use a fresh one instead.
How to store onions
Storing onions isn’t difficult, but you need to make sure you do it right. It is recommended to store onions in a dry place where they can breathe.
Many people choose to store onions in wire baskets because the air circulation helps prevent moisture buildup. Hot temperatures are also not good for onions, as this increases the chances of an onion sprouting.
The ideal temperature range for storing onions is said to be between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that a cool place like a basement would be good for storing onions.
Once peeled, onions have a shorter shelf life. You want to use peeled onions within 14 days or they will go bad.
Sliced onions have an even shorter shelf life and you should aim to use them within 10 days. It’s best to keep track of the time since you peeled or chopped onions to avoid wasting them.
Cooked onions must be refrigerated if you wish to store them. Even refrigerated, cooked onions only last three to five days.
However, it is possible to preserve the freshness of cooked onions longer by using a freezer. Frozen cooked onions are said to keep for up to three months.
Make your decisions about how to use your onions wisely based on shelf life. Having the information at your fingertips makes it much easier to plan your meals to avoid waste.
Refrigerators are not ideal for storing whole onions
Refrigerators will not be ideal for storing whole onions. They’ll probably cause the onions to sprout faster due to the humidity, and the temperatures won’t be good either.
You know that onions keep best at fairly cold temperatures, but if the temperature drops too low, it won’t be perfect. It is certainly possible to keep onions in the refrigerator for a while, but they will not last as long as if you kept them in a cellar.
If you have no other place to store your onions, you can keep them in the refrigerator and try to use them quickly. Onions aren’t meant to be stored in the fridge, but you can get away with it if you start using them early enough.
Do not store onions near potatoes
Do not store onions nearby potatoes no matter where you decide to keep your onions. Potatoes give off a gas that causes onions to spoil faster than normal.
Due to the moisture and gas from potatoes, onions can spoil much faster. If you want to keep onions fresh and flavorful for as long as possible, they should be kept separate from potatoes.
It’s important to keep this in mind because many people store onions and potatoes in similar places. Do your best to find a separate place for the onions where they can stay fresh.
You know a lot more about onions, why they sprout and how to store them now. Onions are great and you should have some for cooking, but storing them properly is essential.
Do not refrigerate the onions and find a place in the house where it is dry, dark and cool. This will help you have the best experience using onions, and you won’t have to worry about sprouting so much.
I have a bachelor’s degree in film/video/media studies and an associate’s degree in communications. I started producing music videos and recordings almost 15 years ago. I’m a guitarist and bassist in southwest Michigan and have been in several different bands since 2009. In 2012 I also started making custom guitars and basses in my home workshop. When I’m home, I enjoy spending time with my three pets (a dog, a cat, and a snake) and gardening in my backyard.
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