How to Sort + Store Onions

Onion harvest curing on wire racks

Sorting your crops into good keepers and bad keepers is key to long storage – old fashioned smarts! Separate out the ones that are damaged and therefore wont keep, from the ones that will. This makes the most of your crop – using up the ones that wont last first and keeping the keepers in good nick for longer without the risk of rot spreading. One bad apple really does spoil the bunch.

onion keeper
A nicely sealed neck – she’s a keeper!

Find out which onion is a keeper (or not) with this simple test. Hold the onion by the leaves, and if it bends at the neck it’s a keeper.

not a keeper
Stiff, thick necks don’t store

If it doesn’t bend, it wont store.

Trim the tops off the ones that wont store, pile them into a basket and bring them into the kitchen for using first. Perfect timing considering all the preserving that’s going on at the mo.  If you’ve got a heap, perhaps a batch of caramelised onions is on the cards.

onion strings

I store my onions under the deck, out of the sun and in the breeze. I love looking at them when I’m in the kitchen. A years supply of onions makes me feel like I’ve hit the jackpot!

If I have time I string them up, otherwise I trim the tops off and bag them up in onion sacks, hanging them off strong hooks under the deck.


  1. Jen Cashmore says

    How exactly do you tie your onions as per your pic , first q. Secondly, does one pick the onions when they go to seed , if so, does one wait for seed to ripen , a bit and then lift, I live in Waikenae
    Great job in the garden, keep hoing, I so want to visit you , thanks, Jen

    • Hi Jen
      Stringing onions is simple as and probably best to see done rather than describe – jump onto youtube and watch a video. To dfifierent harvest here – if you are wanting seed then leave them in ground until seedheads form. If you want onions you dont want seed! Seedheads create a hard stalk through the centre of your onion rendering the onion inedible. Harvest them when the tops start falling over.
      happy harvest