How to Freeze Onions
Wondering how to freeze onions? Freezing is a simple way to preserve your homegrown onions for year-round use.
How to freeze onions
Every year, I plan to grow all the onions my family will consume until the next year’s onion harvest.
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While I do store many onions whole, in dry storage, I also like to tuck away as many quart-sized bags as possible of frozen chopped onions.
Frozen chopped onions are so versatile! I use them all year long for many cooking purposes. No thawing is necessary: the onions go directly from the freezer to the skillet or cooking pot.
The process of freezing onions could not be easier: simply peel, chop, and load into freezer bags.
Do frozen onions make the freezer smell like onions?
In my experience, no. I always use Ziploc brand freezer bags, and I store all my frozen onions in the same freezer.
There is always a variety of other veggies and foods in the same freezer (like frozen zucchini, frozen tomatoes, and frozen pesto), and I’ve never had a problem with the odor or flavor transferring from my bags of frozen onions to anything else.
Do you have to blanch onions before freezing?
Nope! Simply peel, chop, and freeze. So easy, right?
Can you freeze whole onions?
No! Freezing whole onions is a very bad idea. Instead, peel, chop, and freeze in freezer bags.
How to use frozen chopped onions?
Frozen chopped onions do not require thawing prior to cooking. In fact, I don’t recommend it as they’ll turn into a soggy mess.
Instead, I treat them just like fresh chopped onions: heat the skillet or cooking pot, add fat of choice, then add frozen chopped onions directly from the freezer.
What’s the point of freezing onions?
While some onion varieties do well in long term dry storage, I find that I inevitably lose a significant portion of my whole onion storage. This is normal, but it’s still disappointing.
After all the work I did to grow my own onions from seed, I’d rather make my homegrown harvest last instead of having to toss soft or rotten onions to the compost pile.
So, every year, I squirrel away as many frozen chopped onions as I possibly can. If they’re frozen, I know they’ll last.
I always use up my whole onions first, and save my stash of frozen chopped onions for when my supply of whole onions has run out or gone soft. This frozen stash carries me through until I start harvesting fresh onions from the following year’s garden.
It’s a beautiful cycle.
Tips for freezing onions
- Do all your peeling outside. Keep the dirt in the great outdoors! This is a great task to outsource to kids.
- Use the tops. If the green tops are still viable (fresh and green, as opposed to browning or dry), put them to use! Sometimes I cut them into shorter lengths to fit in a freezer bag, and save them for making homemade broth. Another option is to finely chop and dry for use as a seasoning.
- Compost the rest. Any parts undesirable for eating or preserving should go to the compost pile. Most livestock prefer to avoid eating onions and it can also run the risk of flavoring meat or dairy products produced by said livestock.
- Protect your eyes. It seems like everyone’s got a quirky method for avoiding onion tears. Mine is swim goggles. For me, it’s a simple, bulletproof way to keep my eyes tear-free while chopping mountains of onions.
- Use high quality freezer containers. I generally prefer to avoid plastic, but I make an exception for freezing produce. It really is such a handy and space efficient way to freeze veggies! I always freeze chopped onions in quart-sized Ziploc brand freezer bags. I prefer their standard freezer bags with a pink/blue seal as opposed to the bags with sliders.
- Resist the urge to overfill your bags. If you stuff the bags with onions, the bags will be too fat to store efficiently. Instead, I prefer to scantly fill each bag so that I can lay them stacked in the freezer.
- Maximize freezer space. Once the onions have frozen, the bags can then be stored vertically to maximize freezer space and make them easier to keep organized, and easier to find when you need them!
- Use only what you need. Freezing the bagged onions in flat layers also makes it easier to break off small amounts when you don’t need an entire bag.
- Sharp knife
- Large cutting board
- Large bowl
- Swim goggles
- Long-handled spoon
- Ziploc freezer bags, quart size
- Permanent marker
Do you grow your own onions? Ever tried freezing them?
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