Sometimes a small piece of onion is enough for your recipe and then you don't know what to do with the rest. Luckily, it is possible to store the chopped onion, but it has to be packaged in a different way. Without the skin, the onion is exposed to bacteria and fungi. To reuse the chopped onion, it is necessary to prepare it the right way, choose a suitable container and store it at the right temperature. With some care, you can use the rest of the onion when you need it.
Method 1 of 2: Cooling the sliced onion
Step 1. Keep the onion clean when preparing it for storage
Minimize the onion's exposure to bacteria, avoiding cross-contamination with raw meat. Use a cutting board only for meats, always wash your hands after handling raw meat and make sure the knife is clean.
- If you have space, set aside a specific area just to prepare meats and not spread germs throughout the kitchen.
- It is critical to avoid cross-contamination when preparing food for storage, as storage allows for the proliferation of bacteria.
Step 2. Wrap large pieces of onion in plastic wrap
If you have half an onion or a few thick slices left, wrap them securely in a piece of plastic wrap. It prevents air from coming into contact with the onion, as well as retaining moisture.
Step 3. Place smaller pieces of onion in an airtight bag
Is there any chopped onion left? Use an airtight bag with a zip closure. Never use a cloth bag, which serves to store other types of food and does not prevent the air from coming into contact with the cut onion.
Step 4. Use a reusable container if you have one
Buy airtight plastic containers at any supermarket. This type of container is good for putting sliced onions in the fridge.
There is also waxed paper for food, an ecological substitute for plastic-film that can be reused
Step 5. Store the onion in the refrigerator at a temperature equal to or less than 5 °C
Chopped onion needs to be kept in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. The low temperature prevents the proliferation of bacteria, which allows you to use leftovers without any risks.
Don't listen to anyone who tells you to store the onion at room temperature, such as in a bowl of water in the kitchen sink. This sort of thing only serves to encourage bacterial contamination
Step 6. Use the onion within seven to ten days or throw it in the trash
It is best to use the chilled onion as soon as possible, but never use it after ten days.
This is the maximum term, regardless of the variety. While you can find different storage tips out there for each variety of onions, such as white, red or yellow, these recommendations only apply to whole onions, not sliced ones
Step 7. Make sure the onion is fresh for use after remaining in the refrigerator
Discard it if it is opaque, shriveled, slimy, or musty. Smell it to see if it smells different, and if it gives off a strong or unusual odor, throw it away.
Step 8. Saute the stored onion
Never serve onion that has been stored raw. You should cook it first as the heat kills any bacteria that may have multiplied during storage.
Method 2 of 2: Freezing the chopped onion to make it last longer
Step 1. chop the onion into small pieces.
Large pieces, such as halves or thick slices, do not freeze well. To freeze an onion properly, you should cut it into small pieces, preferably into cubes of about 0.5 cm.
Small onions freeze evenly, while larger pieces tend to be bad
Step 2. Place the chopped onion in a bowl suitable for freezing
You can use a zip-lock bag or a glass or plastic freezing container. Whichever you choose, spread the onion well inside. The thinner the layer of chopped onion, the better the freezing and thawing.
Step 3. Label the container with the date of freezing
Put the date clearly on the container or on a label.
It's easy to forget when you prepared some food to freeze. Note the date is a good way to keep track of storage time
Step 4. Store onion in the freezer for six to eight months
Even frozen, it doesn't last forever. Check the date before using it and don't let it go longer than eight months.
Step 5. Use frozen onion in soft textured dishes
Frozen onions are tender and sometimes a little soft after cooking. Use it in sauces, soups, stir-fries and recipes where this texture is not noticed.
Step 6. Put the chopped frozen onion straight into the pan or skillet
You don't have to wait for it to thaw to put it in the recipe. In fact, it can even leave it with a weird texture. If you are going to use a small portion of the frozen chopped onion, place the container under warm water until you can get the necessary amount.
- Choose onions that are in good condition so they will last longer after storage. Avoid stained or soft areas.
- These tips are for all varieties of onion.
- Don't confuse storage tips for chopped and whole onions.
- Follow the directions on the package if you buy an onion that has already been cut. The expiration date can vary widely.