Bulk Buy: Storing 40 Lbs of Walla Walla Sweet Onion
This weeks bulk buy is sweet onion. Lots of sweet onion. In your neck of the woods they might be called Vidalia or Texas or Maui. Around my place they’re called Walla Walla Sweets, and they’re they best sweet onion you can get. Storing these guys is different than a regular yellow onion though, they need some special handling if you want to keep them for a while.
Not in a Box but in Your Socks
The first thing to know about storing sweet onions – you do not store them in the box they came in. The sweet onion bruises easily and needs special handling. You need to keep them cool, dry and separated. This can be accomplished by wrapping them individually in paper towels and then placing them in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator. This is a great way to keep them, for up to a month, but you might not have enough refrigerator space for 40 pounds.
Yes, in your socks…well pantyhose, really! Get a clean pair of pantyhose (that goes without saying, right?) and load each leg with a series of onions. Tie a knot between them. This allows air to circulate around the onions, slowing spoilage. I hang mine in the pantry and cut off an onion as I need it. Your sweet onions, hanging in hose, can last for four to six months.
Freeze Them in Small Batches
I have the luxury of enough space to have two chest freezers in my garage. I am constantly rotating fruits and vegetables in and out of there. It’s part of my food storage plan. The goal is to store enough of the things we eat for a year and then replenish it the next harvest.
I spent yesterday chopping, chopping, chopping and dividing my onion into 2 or 3 cup serving sizes. It is not necessary to blanch an onion before freezing it. I used my FoodSaver and was able to get 15 packages put away. That won’t last a year, but since this bulk buy only cost me .75 cents a pound it’s a good start. LifeHacker has a post – The Best Tear Free Tricks for Cutting Onion – you might want to check it out!
If you choose to freeze some of your sweet onion, you will only want to use them for cooking. Once they’re thawed they will be soft and not good for fresh eating or salads. Onions stored this way can last for one year or maybe even longer.
Can You Can Them?
Of course! Preserving your bulk buy onions in a favorite recipe is another great way to have access to them in them in the future. So far, I’ve made Salsa and Sweet Onion Relish with my box of onions. I’ve included a few recipes below. You can use the water bath method to preserve onion as long as you are using vinegar for acidity. Preserves made this way will last up to five years in your food storage.
Recipe: Sweet Onion Jelly Makes 3.5 cups of jelly
3 cups chopped onions (Vidalia, Walla Walla or your favorite sweet variety)
3/4 cup cider vinegar
2 1/2-3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (1 5/8 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin (Ball Fruit Jell No Sugar Needed variety)
1. Puree the onion and vinegar together in a blender until smooth.
2. Pour into a saucepan.
3. Add the sugar and crushed pepper and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
4. Boil for five (5) minutes and then stir in the powdered pectin.
5. Bring to a hard boil and boil for one (1) minute.
6. Pour into hot sterilized jars, secure the lids and process for ten (10) minutes in a boiling water bath.
Recipe: Sweet Onion Relish
10 c. chopped sweet onions
2 1/4 c. white vinegar
1 c. sugar
2 T celery seed
2 t salt
Combine all ingredients in a non reactive pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 min. Ladle relish into clean hot jars with 1/2 in head-space. Cap and seal. Process for 10 min in boiling water bath.
You can safely reduce the amount of sugar, but not the amount of vinegar. This is pretty tasty on hot dogs, you definitely want it to sit for 2 weeks before you open a jar for flavors to marry. (from the GardenWeb Forum)
Leave a comment below: Do you have a favorite Sweet Onion Recipe to share?
Shared with: From the Farm