You have perhaps experienced onions sprouting several times. You bring home a bag of onions or fresh, whole garlic, and a few days later, you notice that a number of them have developed roots and green shoots.
So, why are your onions sprouting? Your onions are sprouting because they are exposed to the right sprouting conditions in the space where they are stored. Your onions are similar to the bulbs you plant in your garden. When you expose them to sufficient light, heat, and moisture, they are bound to sprout.
In this article, we look at ways you can stop onions sprouting, what to do with sprouted onions, and how to store your onions so that they can last longer.
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How to Stop Onions Sprouting
Storing onions in the right way will help in stopping them from sprouting or going soft before you use them. Your onions are not different from the bulbs you plant in the garden. Therefore, they should remain dormant until conditions are right for sprouting. Keep it in a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated area.
How to Store Onions So That They Last Longer
Onions like storage spaces that are cool, dry, and dark. A refrigerator is cold (not cool) and humid (not dry). If you store your onions in the fridge, they are likely to get soft, which makes them easy to spoil.
• Whenever possible, keep whole onions away from light. Onions are living bulbs – light is a trigger for them to sprout, and you do not want them to sprout since sprouting alters their flavor.
• Avoid keeping whole onions in plastic bags. Trapped moisture can lead to mould. Your onions need to breathe. If they are in a plastic bag, take them out of the bag.
• Use mesh or perforated storage bins. This ensures a better airflow that keeps moisture levels down.
• If you are storing your onions for a short term – planning to use them in a day or two – a bowl in the cupboard or counter will do just fine.
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Chopped or Cut Onions:
Most of the recipes require half an onion. You can keep your unused half in a plastic bag, seal it and refrigerate it for up to a week.
Slicing or pre-chopping onions can be a great meal preparation strategy for faster weeknight cooking. Put them into an airtight container or zip-top bag and plan to use them within five days. Their onion smell only gets stronger with age.
Is It Safe to Eat Sprouted Onions?
Sprouted onions are safe to eat since they are not poisonous or toxic. The only difference from a non-sprouted onion is that it will be a little mushy after it sprouts. But as long as the shoots and roots are still small, it is still good for eating.
Most people intentionally eat the sprouts since they contain more protein (hence its popularity with vegans and vegetarians). A number of people even like the taste of sprouted onion. However, some think the shoots are too bitter.
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What Do You Do With Onions that Have Sprouted?
Unless you want to eat a sprouted onion, you can chop the sprout off, cut the onion in half, and get rid of any remnants of the shoots. You should also check for mould and rot.
What to Look for When Buying Onions
Select the best, freshest onions so that they can last longer. You can use your senses to select the best onions – smell, look, and feel.
Smell the onions to pick out the best. A fresh, firm onion will have a mild onion scent. In case you smell a strong onion scent when you pick up a bag of onions, it may not be the freshest.
Look for any signs of damage, sprouting, or brown spots. A blemish-free onion is likely to last longer under the right storage conditions.
Feel for firm onions with dry, papery skins. Keep off from soft onions.
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How Do You Know When Onions Are Bad?
Irrespective of which onion you purchase, store, and use, they all have a shelf life and will go bad at some point. So, how does one tell if an onion is bad?
There are a number of ways that you can do this.
First, inspect the onion to gauge if it is solid or soft. Check if the papery outer skin is crisp and dry. Your onions should always have crisp and dry outer skins, and the flesh should feel firm when squeezed. Also, check if there are any abnormal colors or powdery residues. Last, confirm if there is any sprouting from the onion.
Additionally, there should not be any discoloration or powdery mold growing, and they’re definitely shouldn’t be any green growing from it. If there is only a little silver-green powdery mould, this can be cleaned, and the onions still are used.
Secondly, check the smell of the onion. A spoiled or rotten onion will have a distinct odor, same as rotting compost. If the onion has any other smell apart from the zingy onion smell, it may be fit for your bin and not your chopping board.
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