Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Onions


   Fall onions are coming out as spring onions are going in; time for preserving the harvest. Onions are a huge staple in our family kitchen; their flavors lend so well to the many hearty dishes served on our farmhouse table. Over the years I have come to really like three different preservation methods for our garden onions. 

   The first and most basic preservation we use is curing. Once the onions are picked, they are placed on a rack and allowed to form an outer skin which will protect the tender bulb. Once a thin, brown, papery skin forms the onions are bunched in small groups and hung in the kitchen pantry. With our southern heat and humidity, onions preserved this way will easily fall victim to gnats or mold. Knowing this, we only reserved a few 'fresh-dry' onions for on hand use.

   Dehydrating is the second form of preservation we really like. Onions are rough chopped (green tops and all) before being placed on mesh dehydrator racks; six to eight hours lend a nice dry onion. Drying onions send a savory sweet aroma throughout the house and store well in airtight canning jars and vacuum sealed bags. The only downfall in dehydration is the heat. Running a dehydrator in hot weather is just not happening, so when the temps are high or time is short we resort to our final method.

   Plain and simple freezing. If onions are being frozen they don't need to be set to cure first; pull them out of the ground, clean them up good and plop them in a freezer bag. I put some in whole (if they are small) for use in roast meat dishes. Larger onions are chopped and frozen in smaller quantities for sauces and veggie dishes. The only problem I found with freezing is having enough freezer space.

   With onions planted in abundance here on the homestead my kitchen will be busy putting up and setting aside these tasty blessings so they can be enjoyed through the season to come.

This post is linked to : Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways 

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Thanks for the onion tips. I hadn't tried dehydrating them yet, but I think I will give it a go.