You’ve probably experienced your garlic growing a little green sprout out of the top of it and your onions getting moldy. While it’s a good thing when garlic sprouts if you’re planning on planting it, that can be a problem when you are planning on eating it.
Here is a very simple and inexpensive way to keep your onions and garlic fresh for months:
What you’ll need
- Onions and garlic that are firm and blemish free.
- Brown lunch paper bags.
- A Hole punch.
- Paper clips for holding the bags closed.
How to make:
1. Punch the bags. You can do this any way you wish, even randomly all about the upper half of the bags. Typically holes are punched by folding the bag a few times and then punching in a row, spacing the punches an inch or so apart. Another method would be to fold the bag in half lengthwise, punch along one edge, flip the folded bag over and punch along the other edge, approximately 1″ between punches. It by no means needs to be perfect, simply punch holes for ventilation. The result is multiple rows of holes.
2. Fill the bag up to half full (just below or at first punched holes), fold over the top, label it and paper clip it to hold the top down.
I store my bags in the same drawer in the kitchen as before. It’s important not to crowd them. Air needs to circulate around the bags–that’s the whole point of punching the holes. I use the same plastic bins as before; they help keep the bags upright and orderly and are roomy enough for air circulation between the bags. The bins can also be placed on pantry or cabinet shelves.
This punched paper bag method should extend the life of onions, garlic, and shallots in most situations. However, their specific life may vary depending on the temperature, humidity, and light conditions where the bags are stored.
Temperature: These will last the longest in a dark, cool (but not cold), dry storage area. I’ve successfully kept them in my 65-70ish degree kitchen drawer for up to 3 months. A cool, dark basement is a good choice, if you happen to have one. Onions should not be stored for an extended time in the refrigerator because the cold temperature will soften their texture; plus, onions will impart their flavor on surrounding produce.
No plastic bags: Don’t ever store onions in plastic bags. That will accelerate sprouting and spoilage because of the lack of air circulation.
No potatoes nearby: Potatoes and onions should not be stored together. They give off gases that will accelerate spoilage of each other.