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Why Do Onions Sprout? (And Are They Safe to Eat?)

Why Do Onions Sprout? (And Are They Safe to Eat?)

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Onions are very common ingredients that people keep in the kitchen. You likely use onions a lot in various dishes, and they can even be utilized in other ways.

If you have some onions that have gotten a bit old in your kitchen, then you might notice that they will start sprouting. Why do onions sprout and can you eat onions that have sprouted like this?

Keep reading to get all of the information about why onions sprout. This should help you to keep your onions fresh for as long as possible so that you can use them to their full potential.

Onions Sprout Due to Moisture Exposure

What causes onions to sprout is moisture, and this is why you need to keep onions away from moisture when storing them. Onions are capable of being stored for a very long time, but that doesn’t mean that they will keep properly if you aren’t storing them right.

When you store onions improperly, they’re going to be exposed to more moisture than usual. This can cause an onion to start sprouting to try to grow roots, and sometimes onions might even start growing a stalk.

This might seem very weird at first, but onion bulbs are actually meant to grow new plants. You want to keep them from doing this because you’re trying to utilize the onions in your food, and you don’t want the flavor getting ruined.

You need to provide the right storage conditions for onions so that they will remain dormant. This keeps them fresh and ready to be used in dishes.

Can You Eat an Onion That Has Sprouted?

There isn’t anything dangerous about eating an onion that has sprouted, but it isn’t going to be ideal. It’s possible that the taste could be a little off, and you might also note that there isn’t a lot of onion left for you to cut up.

The biggest problem with the onion sprouting is that there will be very little usable onion left for your food. This is why many people choose to just throw out onions that have begun sprouting.

It’s also worth noting that onions that are sprouting could potentially be close to going bad. If you see signs that the onion is decaying or if you notice mold on the onion, then you absolutely should not eat it.

Onions are fine to eat after they have sprouted so long as they’re not going bad and there is no mold present. It just might not be ideal, and it might make sense to throw the onion away and use a fresh onion instead.

How to Store Onions

Storing onions isn’t difficult, but you do need to make sure that you’re doing things right. It’s recommended that you store onions in a dry location where they have the ability to breathe.

Many people opt to store onions in wire baskets because the air circulation will help to prevent moisture buildup. Warm temperatures won’t be good for onions either since that can make it more likely that an onion will sprout.

It’s said that the ideal temperature range for storing onions is between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This means a cool room such as a cellar would be good for storing onions.

Once onions have been peeled, they aren’t going to keep for as long. You’ll want to use any peeled onions up within 14 days or they will go bad.

Sliced onions will keep for even shorter periods of time, and you’ll need to try to use them within 10 days. It’s best to keep an eye on how long it has been since you’ve peeled or sliced onions to avoid wasting them.

Cooked onions should be put in the refrigerator if you want them to keep. Even when they’re placed in the fridge, cooked onions will only stay good for somewhere between three and five days.

It is possible to make cooked onions stay good for longer by utilizing a freezer, though. It’s said that frozen cooked onions will keep for up to three months.

Make your decisions about how to use your onions wisely based on how long they’re supposed to keep. Having the information at hand makes it a lot easier to plan your meals so as not to be wasteful.

Refrigerators Aren’t Ideal for Storing Whole Onions

Refrigerators aren’t going to be ideal for storing whole onions. They will likely cause the onions to sprout faster due to moisture, and the temperatures won’t be good either.

You know that onions are ideally stored in temperatures that are fairly cold, but when temperatures dip too low, it’s not going to be perfect. It’s certainly possible to store onions in your fridge for a certain amount of time, but they won’t keep as long as they would if you kept them in a cellar.

If you don’t have any other places to put your onions, then you could keep them in the fridge and just try to use them fast. Onions aren’t meant to be stored in the fridge, but you can get away with doing this if you’re going to use them quickly enough.

Don’t Store Onions Near Potatoes

Don’t store onions near potatoes no matter where you decide to keep your onions. Potatoes give off a gas that can cause onions to go bad faster than normal.

The moisture and gas that comes off of the potatoes can cause the onions to go bad at a significantly faster rate. If you want to keep onions fresh and tasty for as long as possible, then they need to be stored away from potatoes.

This is important to keep in mind because many people store onions and potatoes in similar places. Do your best to find a separate spot for the onions where they can stay fresh.

Final Thoughts

You know a lot more about onions, why they sprout, and how you should be storing them now. Onions are great and you need to have some around to use in your cooking, but storing them properly is essential.

Avoid putting onions in your fridge and find them a place in your house where it’s dry, dark, and cool. It’ll help you to have the best experience when using onions, and you won’t need to worry so much about them sprouting.

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