Can you freeze onions? Onions are a very popular cooking ingredient. Chopped onions are often used as a food flavoring, but sometimes onions are used as the main ingredient as well. So, you’ve bought a large bag of onions on a sale because you wanted to save some money. Unfortunately, you realized that some of the onions might go bad before you’ll use them, so you’re thinking whether onions can be frozen to extend their shelf life. Fortunately for you, you can freeze onions and this is pretty popular process. Let’s go even further – you can actually buy frozen (chopped) onions at some stores. Many people buy onions in bulk to save money, so can you! There are a few issues concerning freezing this vegetable – let’s discuss them in detail.
How freezing affects onions
Similarly to very many different products, freezing and thawing has an effect on onions. Once frozen and thawed, onions become a little watery – they lose some of their texture. Please bear in mind that thawed onions won’t be crisp anymore. That’s a pretty major problem if you’re thinking about using them in raw dishes. Because of that, avoid using frozen and thawed onions in raw meals. If you plan to use frozen and defrosted onions in cooked or fried dishes – you’re free to go. Frozen and thawed onions are good for stews, soups, etc.
Image used under Creative Commons from William Ross
How to freeze onions
There are a few issues related to freezing onions. Firstly, you need to clean and peel the onions you plan to freeze. They should be dry before cutting them. Now it’s time to chop the vegetables. Most people do this using a knife, but you can use a blender as well. In fact, you can use whatever utensil you want, just make sure that the size of the chopped onions is appropriate for your needs.
Now it’s time to pack the onions. Get a sandwich bag, scoop some chopped onions and put them into the bag. The amount you scoop depends on your needs, a quarter or half onion might be a good idea, but it definitely depends on your needs. After you’ve put all your onions into few sandwich bags, remove air from those bags and put them all in a zip lock bag, zip the bag and put it in the freezer. This was you can easily thaw only as little onions as you need at a time.
Instead of using the sandwich bags you can use an ice-cube tray. Put chopped onions into the trays, and freeze them. After they’re frozen you just need to remove them from the trays and put them all into the zip lock bag. This way you can also thaw onions as you go.
Before putting the zip lock bag into the freezer, make sure to date and label the bag properly, so you’ll know how many onions are in there and when you’ve frozen them. Frozen onions should be of best quality for about a year, after that time their quality might deteriorate a little.
As you should know by now, you can freeze onions, but that’s recommended only in case you plan to consume it in cooked meals. Using defrosted onions in raw dishes isn’t the best idea.