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Oct 13, 2009 05:22 PM

Best way to store onions & garlic?

We usually keep them in an open container in our pantry (cabinet really). The garlic sprouts and the onions will get powdery black (mold?) on them, both after a few weeks. Is that about as long as I can expect to keep them? What's a better way? I've read about pantyhose, mesh bags, vented crates, open paper bags. Will air circulation make a big difference inside a cabinet? We're talking only three or four of each at a time. Thanks for all ideas.

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  1. I store mine in a pretty bowl on the counter. I used to have a terracotta garlic keeper but it broke. I also used to store the potatoes and onions one opposite sides of a cool wooder 'basket' i found at a yard sale, but the potatoes seemed to go bad faster with that method. So I started keeping the onions in the bowl and have had better luck with my 'taters.

    1. Hmm, if you can't consume 3 or 4 onions or garlic cloves in a few weeks time, I think you should rethink how many of each you buy at a time.

      Maybe buy less so that storage for extended periods is not an issue?

      Read more about garlic storage here:

      5 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Sometimes it's more, sometimes that few. It depends on what we're cooking and when. It's really mostly with onions. The problem is that when we need them........ we need them, and don't necessarily know in advance how many. If there's a best way to store them it would help. It's just something that's worth looking into.

        1. re: Midlife

          i just keep mine in a wire basket, all together on the kitchen counter, and they last for a good deal of time, weeks

          1. re: Midlife

            I have a small basket in my pantry shelf that I store the onions, shallots, and garlic in. It is dark most of the time and cool. I keep the potatoes as far away as possible. I have kept onions, shallot, and garlic for weeks this way without any difficulties. Good luck.

            1. re: Midlife

              Chop and freeze your onions - they cook faster right from the freezer than fresh-chopped at room temp because the cell walls have broken.

              I have always refrigerated both onions and potatoes in the crisper, together, and find they last a long time that way. But now in cooler months I more often buy at Costco, so the bags are larger. What won't fit in the crisper, I keep in mesh bags in a cool spot, out of the light. The Costco stuff seems fresher than the local supermarket so it's rare for them to start going bad, or sprout a lot. If need be, I'll make an emergency casserole of potatoes au gratin or a large pot of mashed potatoes, and freeze the chopped onion. Note - cold onions won't make your eyes tear.

            2. re: ipsedixit

              Jfood's with Ipse. Jfood has no more than 2-3 as his emergency stash of onions and one head of garlic. He stores them in a drawer that has separations for onions, potatoes, etc. And if he finds that the garlic has been there for a week, he usually wraps in some foil and throws in the oven when he roasts a chicken for some roasted garlic.

              And to answer your other question, jfood's onions rarely have a life expectancy of more than 10 days in casa jfood.

            3. Consider also rethinking where you buy your onions - freshness at purchase could be a factor for storage time. I have been lured by a good price on yellow bagged onions at one store one too many times - they have a self-destruct date in the very short term! Another store, with a busier produce section, not a problem. The red onions I get from my supermarket are significantly shorter-lived than the red onions I get from my farmer's market, which easily last well over a month (in bowls on the counter) if I find myself having overbought. Try buying onions at a different place and see if that makes the difference. - Cay

              1. I store in an open container in the cupboard. I buy onions about every 2 - 3 weeks. Garlic lasts a little longer. They don't sprout. Both should be able to be stored for much longer than this.