Harvesting And Curing Onions

  1. Drying Onions

The hot topic these days seems to be how to harvest and cure your onions.  I have had many people come up to me and ask

how to cure the onions. Curing on onions is an important process.  You want to be sure and remove an adequate amount

of moisture from the outer area of the onion so that is will not spoil.  If you cure your onions properly they will hold for 6-9

months.  That is just in time for fresh ones! Let me help you along with this process, it is really very easy and the onions keep

really well.  My only problem is I always run out! but I always have scallions in the garden, so I am never without an onion,

have no fear!

First things first

If you had an onion bloom you need to use that onion right away.  The flower stalk that was sent up is hard and unlike garlic

is poses a problem for spoilage.  The onion will spoil where that stalk is, and rather quickly.  Take any onions  that have

flowered and set them aside and use them first. You can tell the onions are ready to harvest because the leaves have started to

yellow and the skin has started to become papery around the onion.  your onions have fallen over they will be ready to

harvest 10 to 14 days later. If you leave them in longer than the 14 days they are likely to start to rot or start to grow again.  If

you want to harvest early you may push the onion tops over gently (not break their neck!)

Make sure you harvest on a sunny day.  After you have waited what seemed like and eternity, get a digging fork or shovel and

gently dig your onions out.  Pulling them by the tops may damage them for storage.  Lay them on their side for one day in the

heat, letting the tops to cover them from sunburn.  The onions are dry when the roots are hard and  wiry like a little bristle

brush. This is important so the onion doesn’t start to grow again.

Next,  take them to a shaded, well ventilated spot and let them cure for two weeks.  This shrinks the outer wrapping and seals

it  from the outside elements of moisture, bacteria and germs.  You may cut the tops off at this time if you wish.  However do

not cut them off any shorter than 1”.  1” is necessary to keep them from rotting.  You may also braid the necks and hang them

from the braid.  You may put them in trays to let them cure, just make sure they are getting a lot of air flow.  If you do not have

a shady spot, then put them on the ground covered by a sheet to cure.  This will protect them from sunburn and the dew.

When the skins rattle they are finished.

Once they are cured, brush the dirt off and grade the onions. Use the flowering onions first. The sweet vidalia onions have a

higher moisture content, so use them soon. The next batch that you will want to use will be thick necked onions.

The circumference around the neck of the onion.   Thick necked spoil quicker than thin.  Onions need to be stored in mesh

bags so they have lots of ventilation.  Put them in a cool dry place.  Optimal is 32-40 degrees F. I store mine hanging braided

or in the fridge and they make it for many months. I also store loose ones in mesh bags.

Good Luck and Happy Growing!


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