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Cut onions ahead of time

c
Cattie May 12, 2008 09:33 AM

Hi all!
Is it ok to slice/cut onions a few hours before you're going to cook with it and keep it in a glass container in the fridge until you're ready to start cooking?

I seem to remember my Mom saying that cutting onion ahead of time made it bitter or sour or something like that...

  1. carswell May 12, 2008 09:55 AM

    As soon as you cut onions, shallots and garlic, they begin to oxidize and develop off flavours. How quickly the off flavours develop depends on factors like the variety, your sensitivity to them and ambient temperature. Refrigeration slows the process; storage in a glass or other non-reactive container won't (though it may keep them from smelling up your fridge). To be on the safe side, when prepping far ahead of time, coat the pieces with oil or cover them with wine or vinegar. You can also soak cut onions in water or milk, which will make them less sharp.

    4 Replies
    1. re: carswell
      c
      Cattie May 13, 2008 09:19 AM

      Thank you all for your input! carswell, I love the idea of putting them in oil or vinegar, I almost always sautee them in oil anyway so that would be perfect. How would the vinegar affect the taste in the dish if I store them in that for an hour or two? Or won't it? Or if in milk, would you rinse them off before sauteeing?

      I know I heard somewhere that you're supposed to chop garlic at least 10 minutes before it goes into a dish in order to reap the maximum health benefits from it.

      1. re: Cattie
        danhole May 13, 2008 09:26 AM

        I've heard that about garlic, too. It releases some kind of compound that other wise you wouldn't get.

        1. re: Cattie
          carswell May 13, 2008 09:45 AM

          I use oil if I'm going to be cooking them in oil, vinegar if I'm going to be adding them raw to a salad (the vinegar pickles and sweetens them a little). Soaking in milk is best for onions used in baked dishes and -- the classic application -- breaded, deep-fried onion rings. Just drain, don't rinse. I don't imagine onions soaked in liquid would lend themselves to sautéing, but can't say as I've tried.

          1. re: carswell
            c
            Cattie May 13, 2008 09:50 AM

            Great ideas! Thank you! :-)

      2. scubadoo97 May 12, 2008 09:51 AM

        Although I heard some on some TV cooking show that the onions get stronger or what ever if not cut right before use restaurants precut just about everything early in the day for service many hours later.

        1. jfood May 12, 2008 09:39 AM

          jfood agrees with MMRuth. Never been a problem for jfood. In fact he sometimes cuts and leaves on the counter for use later.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jfood
            w
            wayne keyser May 12, 2008 07:20 PM

            So do I. Often knocks some of the "too acrid" out of 'em.

          2. MMRuth May 12, 2008 09:34 AM

            I've never had a problem with doing that.

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