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There might be many reasons why you’re wondering the answer to the question “can you freeze onions?”. Perhaps you purchased a lot of onions (good deals come by from time to time and can help you save money) or maybe your garden yielded more than enough onions for your family. So what do you do then?
Can you freeze onions?
Well, as you wonder, can you freeze onions? We’re here to reaffirm your faith in the might of the freezer. Yes, you can freeze onions, and freezing onions is fast but most importantly helps you prolong the life of the onions. You may want to freeze onions for easy preps in future meals or simply storing excess onions instead of having them rot on your counter or garden.
Freezing onions would definitely remove that pungent crunch that we so desire in dishes like salads. You wouldn’t get the freshness of the onion that was once there when cut raw. However, you can use frozen onions in many dishes like stews, soups, and more as it still packs a punch. Now that you know that you can freeze onions, let’s look at how you can go about doing it.
How to freeze onions
Now that we’ve answered the main question “can you freeze onions?”, you may be thinking that putting onions in the freezer is the right way to go about freezing onions, however, that is not the case. There are different ways you can freeze an onion.
So, freezing whole onion bulbs is a bit technical and needs to be blanched before freezing. Blanching onions is simply putting onions in boiling water or steaming it. For small onions, make sure to blanch them for around 3 minutes while larger onions require more time roughly around 7 minutes. You must heat the onion bulbs all the way to the core before being able to freeze them properly.
What if you don’t want to blanch whole onions and want to save space in your freezer by having chopped onions. Well, it’s much more simple than blanching whole onion bulbs. Wash your onions and start chopping them according to your needs. It is important not to chop your onions very fine as onions lose their texture when they’re thawed. So if you have super fine onions, then thawing them would lead to a mush.
Okay back to the chopped onions. Get a zipper bag and transfer all the chopped onions into the bag. The best thing to do is to be super organized in the kitchen. Hence, have a few zipper bags at hand so you can equally divide the chopped onions.
This is great as you can thaw portions of onions rather than the entire zipper bag and then freezing the remaining again. This can lead to bacterial growth. You can lay out the onions in the zipper bag by laying them flat. When you want to use the chopped onions, simply break off the frozen layer of onions and use them in your dish. Many people prefer to have a bit of texture or use individual onion pieces in their dish, how to go about that then?
Individual chopped onions
Get your chopped onions and line them on a parchment tray. Pop the tray in the freezer which will help freeze individual onions. Once frozen, transfer them to a zipper bag and shift them to the freezer. Freezing individual chopped onions allows cooks to scoop out the onions instead of breaking off a layer of onions. This helps maintain as much shape as possible. Scoop out as many onions as you want without thawing the entire batch.
These are considered to be onions on the verge of getting worse. This can be consumed before the onions completely become soft, however, we would recommend staying away from them. But just in case you want to freeze soft onions because you have a batch of onions getting soft, we recommend pureeing them. This can be used later on to add onion flavor to food giving it a hearty touch.
Get your soft onions in a food processor and add a bit of olive oil to it. Puree your onions and transfer the puree to ice cube trays. Freezing these trays will result in onion cubes that you can take out, transfer to ziplock bags, and freeze for later use. You can also caramelize onions before freezing them to add a bit of rustic and slow-cooked taste to your dishes in just a few minutes.
Tips before freezing onions
The sulfur in onions tends to cause tears and having a well-ventilated place can breeze away from the sulfur fumes and avoid tears. However, not everyone has a well-ventilated kitchen or a kitchen prep table in their outside area. In such situations, chill the onions 30 minutes before you want to prep the onions.
You can also use a candle as many believe the flame from the candle consumes the fume. Besides the onion tears, here’s another tip that can be useful. Don’t throw away the end chunks of the onions as it can be used to create a delicious broth.
What’s important when it comes to freezing onions is not how you cut or prep them but sealing them in airtight containers. This helps avoid odors spreading in the freezer which can affect other foods. Consume frozen onions within 3 to 6 months.