How to Cure Onions

When your onions reach maturity, it’s time to cure and harvest them. Knowing how to cure onions is important for keeping them fresh while in storage. Curing onions is the process of drying them completely before gathering them from your garden or drying shed. The following tips can help you cure your onions for long-lasting freshness.


How to Tell if Your Onions Are Mature Enough to Harvest

Before curing your onions, make sure they’re ready. If you notice theonion stalks turning yellow, then they’re almost ready to harvest. After they turn yellow, the stalks will tip over and dry out. Once this happens, use one of the following methods for curing:

  • Garden curing – Curing your onions right in your garden is the easiest method. Just use a garden fork to lift the onion bulbs out of the soil. Let the sunshine dry out the onion bulbs until they’re completely dry. This takes about two weeks.
  • Shed curing – If you’re expecting rainy weather when your onions reach maturity, you can cure them in a shed. The shed should have adequate ventilation to prevent fungus and mold growth. You can also cure them in your garage or lean-to. Let your onions cure in a cool, dry area for two weeks.

Get Ready to Store Your Onions

After curing your onions, it’s time to prepare them for storage. With proper preparation, your onions will keep for months.

  • Trim the onion tops to about one inch above the bulb. If you’re planning to braid your onions together for storage, ignore this step.
  • Toss out any onions that feel mushy.
  • Check the bulbs for bruises, fungus or injuries. Discard any that you find.
  • Separate thick-necked onions. Use them right away because they’re not good for storing.

How to Store Your Cured Onions

After curing and preparing your onions for storage, you can use several different types of containers for the onions. Mesh bags, wooden crates and wire baskets are good choices because they provide good air circulation to keep your bulbs dry. Another method is to put your onions in nylon stockings. The stockings hold quite a few onions, and they’re thin enough to allow air to flow through the nylon.

Place your storage containers in a dry, cool area that stays from 32ºF (0ºC) to 40ºF (4.4ºC). The humidity in the storage area should be approximately 70 percent. If you plan to store your onions in a garage or shed, keep track of the outside temperature. If the temperature drops below freezing, move your onions to a warmer spot.