Every time I take a package of my own home grown, chopped and prepped onions from the freezer to use in cooking, I am very thankful the work is already done! I spend one week a year on onions when harvest time is at hand so I can get the entire process out of the way all at once for the year.
I have never had very good luck with storing onions no matter what I tried until I hit on this method, and it sure works for me. (This process only works for onion used as chopped or ground, such as in meat loaf, chili, and spaghetti sauce, slow cooking roasts, etc. It does not work for sliced onions on hamburgers or onion slices for deep frying.)
At harvest time, I divide the work load into manageable parts, such as pulling onions one day, cleaning off tops and dirt the next day preparatory to getting them into the kitchen; peeling the skins the next and storing overnight in zippered refrigerator bags, chopping into segments that will fit into my grinder the next day, and so on. It all depends upon how many onions we have in the harvest.
Set your own schedule as to how best it works for you. There is no other ingredient you need to add to the onions for the freezing process.
I prefer to use a small electric chopper or grinder but if you prefer to hand chop, then that's what works best for you. As I grind the onion down into tiny bits, I pack the onion bits and resulting juice (there will be some) into pint-sized freezer bags, pressing out all the air I can to make them very flat.
After they are at this stage, I can spread out 6 or 7 bags of onions on a large cookie sheet and freeze fully. When fully frozen, these bags stack beautifully up the side of the chest freezer inside plastic or brown paper grocery bags. I pack all individually frozen packages into the plastic bags and then put those in the brown paper bags to make doubly sure I won't have onion smells permeating anything else.
When I want onion for a recipe, I take a bag out of the freezer, estimate or "eyeball" how much I need, whack the top portion of the frozen onion bag against a countertop edge, and take what I need. It won't be an exact measurement but I can get it close enough. The bag is back into the freezer in less than 60 seconds, waiting for the next time I need onion without storing, peeling, or chopping.
By ronsan from southwest Missouri
I am thankful anytime I have work already out of the way! For some reason when I go to cook, if I have to stop and cut up onion, I just sort of hate it! I don't grow onions but this would be a very good idea when onions are on sale. I have occasionally frozen some leftover chopped onion so I know it keeps well and I don't think there's usually a reason to even defrost it, in the case of throwing in a soup, chili or stew.
Thanks for the idea and the great story! You sound like someone who loves to garden!
ronsan that is an excellent idea. I too dislike chopping onions and have a dozen or so different "onion" chopping gizmos.
I don't grow onions but should set a day after a trip to the Farmer's Market and freeze them as you do. On occasion I will buy the already frozen chopped onions in the grocery store but would like to try your method instead.
Thank you for sharing!
Since you don't have to blanch onions to freeze them, I usually dice some onions. slice some and also cut some in rings. I then place them in extra large freezer bags only have full, when partially frozen, I then shake the bag to loosen them and place bag back in freezer. I then double bag them to prevent onion odors thru the rest of the items in the freezer. When onions are needed for chili, fried onions etc just take out what you need and place bag back in freezer. I also freeze green beans, carrots etc when Have been blanched in only half full bags and shake them when partially frozen so that you can take only what is needed if you have extra company for a meal.
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