curing onions (for overwintering in the garden) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

what is the best way to cure onions so they will keep thru' the winter. I've read of several ways but which ones work. How do you know when they are ready to pick for harvest. Do you have to snap the tops off and let them die back first?????

-- jamie (, July 13, 2001


I'm not sure if this is right but this is the way we have always done it.When the onions are the size you want,I leave mine till as late as possible in the fall,we walk on the tops to bend them over in the soil,then when the tops are dead and dry looking we move them to a picnic table to dry in the sun.We hang them in those mesh bags ,or if they are huge spanish ,you can tie them one at a time in ladies nylons.Put one in tie the knot,etc ,and hang in a dry place.Then you just cut them out as needed.I have done the nylon thing when they were partially dry,it works well.blessings....

-- teri (, July 14, 2001.

We do it the same way as teri described!

-- Ardie from WI (, July 14, 2001.

Keep in mind that onions for keeping need to have been planted shallowly enough so that the necks will be fairly thin. The deeper you plant an onion start, the thicker the neck will be. Thick-necked onions won't generally won't dry and keep well and usually end up rotting if you try to store them. The variety of onion has a lot to do with whether they will keep or not as does the moisture content of the onion. Some varieties just don't keep well.

When I lived in Georgia, I would wait until late in the season when the leaves fell over or bent on their own. For early, sweet onions (Vidalia types), this was usually when dry weather and the heat of the summer began. I'm not sure when you would harvest fall planted onions as I never tried any when I lived there.

Here in Alaska, I pull them onions once frost hits them in August! Any later and cold weather will freeze them and ruin the onion. The onions I've grown here are usually very dense and dry anyway -- curing very quickly for storage even though they are pulled somewhat green.

I keep mine by pulling them, placing on a wire screen and allowing to dry/cure in a warm and dry location sheltered from rain and overly hot sun. Here in Alaska, I don't have to worry about the heat cooking them too much but down in Georgia that was always a concern and I lost onions that way. The relative humidity around them as they cure is important too. In Georgia, they dried very slowly while in Alaska its one or two afternoons (the humidity here is often very low). Once they are dry (no moisture left in the stems) they should be stored in a cool, dark location such as a root cellar. I've also read that you shouldn't store them with potatos -- though I can't remember why (anyone else ever hear this?).

Hope this helps.

-- Michael Nuckols (, July 17, 2001.

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