Onions are the base of a vast variety of dishes from cuisines across the world. But can you bulk prepare onions in advance and then freeze them with success, or should it be avoided?
Can You Freeze Onions?
Yes, you can freeze onions for up to 2 months. There are a variety of ways in which you can freeze onions. You can freeze them chopped, whole, pureed, or mixed with other vegetables.
Do Onions Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Onions? Yes
How to Freeze Onions
This is my basic method for freezing onions. This works for onions of any shape or size whether you want to leave them as large chunks or thin slices:
Time needed: 15 minutes
This is my preferred method for freezing onions
- Prepare Onions
Peel your onion, removing the root and then cut it in half. Chop the onions up into rings or leave them as halves. Onions can be frozen in any shape or size you fancy such as chopped, sliced or diced.
- Bag Up
Place the onion halves or pieces into a freezer bag and then seal the bag up. When you seal it up, try to remove as much of the air from the bag as possible.
Place in the freezer in a single layer. This prevents them from sticking together when freezing. Once the bags are frozen, you can, of course, stack them.
How to Freeze Onion Puree
One of the best ways I’ve found to freeze onions is as a puree. You can turn the puree into frozen cubes that can be popped straight into a pan for a quick onion base to soups and sauce.
- Prepare Onions
Just peel and chop the onions. You only need to chop them up roughly.
Place them in the blender with a splash of water and hold down the button until you get a thick, smooth puree. You can always add other spices, seasoning and garlic at this stage. You may want to add a little more water if it too thick.
- Portion Into Cubes
Peel your onion, removing the root and Transfer the puree to ice cube trays and freeze. This should only take a few hours.
- Final Freeze
Peel your onion, removing the root and When completely frozen, move the iced onion cubes to a plastic bag and leave them in the freezer. You can grab a cube as and when you need them.
How to Freeze Onions Without the Smell
This can be a tricky one, as onions have such a potent aroma, but I’ve got a few strategies that I’ve found work wonders:
First, it’s all about the packaging. I like to double-bag my onions. I put them in a sealable freezer bag, press out as much air as possible, seal it, and then put that bag inside another one. This double layer can help contain the onion smell inside the bag.
My next tip involves a bit of recycling. You know those silica gel packets that come in new shoes, bags, and other products? Don’t throw them away! Instead, pop one or two into the onion bag before you seal it up.
Finally, consider the location of your onions in the freezer. If possible, store your onions in a freezer drawer or compartment away from more odour-sensitive items like ice cream or butter.
Soak in Salt
Before freezing your onions, soak them in salty water (a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water) for about 10 minutes. This can help to reduce the strong smell that onions can have, especially when frozen and then defrosted.
How to Freeze Different Types of Onion
The word onions encompasses so many different types that it’s hard to cover them all. But, here are some of my favourites:
When it comes to red onions, I prefer to chop or slice them before freezing because it saves time during meal prep. I peel the outer layer, chop or slice, and then spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
I pop this into the freezer until they’re solidly frozen, then I transfer them to a freezer bag, press out the air, and seal it up.
For pearl onions, I usually blanch them first to make peeling easier. After peeling, I spread them on a lined baking sheet to freeze individually, then pack them into airtight freezer bags.
They’re tiny, so they freeze quickly!
My only caution is that they can sometimes taste less sweet after freezing.
Sweet onions are a treat; freezing them allows me to have them on hand year-round.
I peel, chop or slice them, and follow the same freezing process as with red onions. Remember to use them straight from the freezer, as thawing can make them a bit watery.
How Long Can You Freeze Onions?
Frozen onions will stay good for 3 to 6 months in the freezer. However, I recommend using them within about 2 months because they can start to lose their flavour after that.
Having reached the 6 months limit, the onions may no longer have much flavour left, defeating the point of having them ready to go in the freezer.
The best way to freeze your onions would be to place small portions at a time in bags (for example, a supply for 3 or 4 weeks), so they maintain their fresh flavour.
Onions will last for around 7 to 10 days in the fridge. They can also be kept in a dark, cool cupboard for around 2 months at optimal temperatures.
How Do You Defrost Onions?
There’s no need to thaw the onions before placing them in the pan. Just add them directly to whatever dish you’re preparing. You can put them briefly under running water to remove any layer of ice if you feel it’s necessary.
When cooking the onions from frozen, make sure you start with low heat to thaw them out gently. If you use high heat, you’ll find that you burn the outside of the onions before you get to thawing out the middle.
Yes, you can defrost onions in the microwave. Use a microwave-safe dish and the defrost setting to avoid cooking them. It’s a quick and easy way to have your frozen onions ready for cooking! Just make sure you use them immediately after thawing to maintain their best quality.
Can you Refreeze Onions?
It’s certainly possible to refreeze onions, and it’s safe to do so… But I’d recommend against doing so. Onions are packed full of flavour, and a lot of that flavour is contained within the onion’s liquid content.
When you thaw out an onion, you draw out some of the moisture and some of the flavour.
If you freeze, defrost, refreeze and defrost, you’ll remove a lot of the moisture and therefore a lot of the delicious onion flavour.
Do Onions Freeze Well?
Frozen onions are only suitable for cooking. I don’t recommend using them in raw dishes such as salads because they become soggy and lose their texture. There’s nothing like a fresh onion if you want to use onion in salads or other raw dishes.
If you’re cooking dinner and want to use your frozen onion, it’s good to know that if you consume your frozen onions within the first 6 weeks after having frozen them, there isn’t much difference in taste and/or nutrient levels.
As time goes by, they start losing their flavour. The closer you get to the six months mark, the flatter the onion’s taste will be.
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