[Music] Beautiful, bulbous onions form the
bedrock of many culinary creations. If you’ve grown them this summer, you’ll probably
want to store some to use later on so in this video we’ll show you how to
correctly harvest, cure and store your onions to enjoy well into winter. Onions are ready to harvest
as soon as they reach a usable size. However for storage,
your cue to begin the harvesting process is when the leaves begin to flop over or
turn brown at the edges. After a week like this, carefully dig them out of the
ground using a fork then lay the bulbs on the soil surface, or on a wire rack
for better ventilation, to dry in the sun for a further week. If the weather is wet, dry them under cover,
for instance in a well-ventilated greenhouse or tunnel. Always handle onions carefully to prevent bruising. In order to store onions
you’ll need to cure them first, which simply means drying the outer
skins fully. To do this, move your onions somewhere dry under cover. You can dry onions on racks, or on layers of newspaper in a greenhouse, polythene tunnel or cold frame. This also works for other alliums such as shallots and garlic. Spread the onions out as much as possible
and make sure there is plenty of circulating air to wick away moisture
and to prevent mold or rotting. The onions may take a
further two weeks to dry out. They’re ready to store when the skins a papery, the
leaves are completely shrivelled up, and the roots wiry and dry. At this stage you
should cut off the roots and remove any loose skins. If you want to store your bulbs as onion strings, cut the stems to within 2-3 inches (5-7cm) of the neck of the bulb. If not, cut the stem to the neck. Onions should be stored in a cool, dry,
well-ventilated space out of direct sunlight. A garage or unheated room in the house is ideal. Don’t store any soft or damaged bulbs –
use these up as soon as possible instead. Individual onions can be placed
carefully into net bags. Use purpose-sold vegetable storage nets, or netting sacks used to hold, for example, oranges. The bags should then be hung up off the ground. Check the nets periodically
to remove any onions that have gone bad. Onion strings are a very practical and
attractive way to store onions. To make one, begin by cutting a length of string
to about 3-4 feet (1m) long. Tie the two ends together to form a loop, then hang from a hook to begin working. Insert the first onion through
the center of the loop then bend the stem around the back of the string to
return it through the loop. Push the onion right down to the bottom of the
loop to anchor it into position. Now begin working in additional onions in
exactly the same way – placing the stem through the loop, weaving it around the
back of the string, returning it back through the loop, and pushing down to sit
snugly against the previous onion. Rotate the position of each additional onion so
they sit neatly in a spiral like this. Hang your completed string in a cool dry
place and enjoy the onions as needed, remembering to take onions from the top
of the string rather than the bottom. And there you have it! Preparing onions for storage is very easy,
and will keep you in onions right through the winter. Of course if you’ve
got other ideas for storing these bulbs then do let us know about it – just drop us a comment below. And if this video’s whetted your appetite
for more gardening tips, then why not subscribe? I’ll catch you next time. [Music]