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How to store onions, garlic, & shallots and make them last

Turns out I have been storing my onions, garlic, and shallots all wrong, have you? This method can help your items last up to 3 months with no mould or wilting in sight!

Monica Matheny shared this amazing tutorial on the blog The Yummy Life. I adopted this method straight away in my kitchen with brilliant results!

Up to 30% of food we buy is wasted, at an estimated national cost of $5 billion-plus a year. Cut down on food waste by not letting food go out of date, avoiding over-catering and looking after any leftovers.

Step 1. Gather the supplies

  • Get your onions, garlic, and/or shallots -- make sure they are firm and without mould spots. If you buy in bulk and find any with rotten spots or a soft texture, cut off the bad part and use it right away.
  • Brown paper bags -- I used the lunch bag size, because they're easy to fold and punch holes in. Also, bigger bags hold a higher volume and density of onions, and that reduces the amount of air circulation around them and accelerates spoilage. Smaller quantities of onions in lunch size bags are ideal.
  • A hole punch -- you can buy one of these anywhere that sells office or craft supplies.
  • Marker -- for labelling.
  • Paper clips -- for holding the bag closed.

Step 2. Punch the bags

Fold the bag in half lengthwise, punch along one edge; you'll be punching thorough multiple layers. Flip the folded bag over and punch along the other edge; approximately 1" between punches (but it doesn't have to be perfect). The result is multiple rows of holes.

Step 3. Fill 'em up

Fill the bag up to half full, fold over the top, label it (if you'll have more than one bag), and paper clip it to hold the top down.

Additional tips:

  • Temperature: Onions, garlic, & shallots will last the longest in a dark, cool (but not cold), dry storage area. Onions should not be stored for an extended time in the refrigerator because the cold temperature will soften their texture; plus, onions will impart their flavor on surrounding produce.
  • No plastic bags: Don't ever store onions in plastic bags. That will accelerate sprouting and spoilage because of the lack of air circulation.
  • No potatoes nearby: Potatoes and onions should not be stored together. They give off gases that will accelerate spoilage of each other.

What you can do

Recycle at home or away to avoid wasting resources

Recycle everything you can. Anything made from metal, wood, most plastics, paper and cardboard, and electronic e-waste are all likely to have a recycling option.

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