Chop-Chop: Keeping Onions through the Year

We use a lot of onions at our house.  I am sure way more than the average family uses.  I plant them in the garden and use them from the garden all summer and then in the fall I harvest what’s left plus I buy about 40 pounds of them from the Amish.  In the fall the 10 pounds bags are only about $6 each and the onions are really nice.  Typically that many will last us about through May…but this time of year, several are starting to sprout.

I never want anything to go to waste so now’s when I pull all of the ones that have sprouted and chop them up….

Here’s the bunch that Kelli chopped….
We chop the green sprouts as well as the onions.  They are all tasty.

From there we put them in little bags and put them into the freezer.  I put about 1 cup into a snack sized bag.

When the onions are thawed they are not crisp anymore.  They are soft but still flavorful.  I used these in soups, hotdishes, or anything that I would typically add a chopped onion to.  Having them already chopped is quick and easy but the best part, no food waste.  Also this has me not buying onions at the grocery store where they get more expensive this time of year.

Do you have any tips like this?  I’d really love to hear them.

20 thoughts on “Chop-Chop: Keeping Onions through the Year”

  1. We use a million onions a year too. I swear we use an onion a day thru the winter with all the soups and casseroles. My only tip is to get an onion chopper. My son bought me one from walmart. I cut the onion into quarters, put them on the grate, smash the lid and it forces them thru the grate. They end up finely diced like you would put on hot dogs. It cost less than $15 and lets me chop up a bag of onions really quickly. Fewer tears too :)

  2. Berroëta Carolyn

    I have a tip from France . We don.t drink much wine, so when we have invited people over and there is some left in the bottle , I freeze the rest in ice cube containers. When frozen, I transfer to a little plastic baggie, and keep for use in a recipe that requires a little wine. Maybe you are all laughing and thinking you would have finished that bottle off

  3. Carolyn Berroeta

    A tip from France, concerning wine : when we have a little wine left in a bottle (yes, we drink little) , I pour the remains into ice cube containers, freeze them, then transfer to plastic baggies, and use that when wine is required in a recipe. I know most of you must be laughing and thinking they would polish that bottle off

  4. We freeze onions as well, right now the green onions are really coming fast and furious. Do you have a hint on freezing so the whole freezer doesn’t smell like onions when you open it?

  5. Jo, I freeze onions too along with green peppers. We are a family of only two now, so to keep things from going to waste I freeze them. I also freeze celery and it’s tops, and like use them in soup, stew, chili. One summer someone had scads of chopped red onion left after a cookout and were going to throw them out. I bought them home and put them in the snack bags and froze them. You can break a chunk off if you don’t want to use the entire bag. I make lots of omelets this way.

  6. Kim J LeMere

    My mom does the same thing with onions and she also gets a large bag from the Amish. I will chop extra onions if I get the food processor out, it makes short work of all that chopping. I need to find some little bags like yours.

  7. Timely post. I need to take care of some onions before I go home. I was wondering if they would hold up with freezing. I guess I have a job to do today. Thanks for the info. Hugs!

  8. I save the bread heels (ends), in the freezer. When I need bread crumbs or want to make stuffing (dressing), I pull out the ends and use them. Chop celery stocks/leaves and freeze. Cook turkey or chicken carcass for soup stock, etc. I do so many things to be frugal that it is second nature and I don’t even realize I am doing it. Love to learn new ideas.

  9. Mary Ann Mettler

    I froze onions also this year but I found that if I froze them on a cookie sheet then when they were frozen I put them in a gallon container and they did not stick together – also I put those gallon containers in a sealed box in the freezer so they didn’t smell up the entire freezer. I love onions too but since it is only the two of us here we don’t go through a ton of them. I do like the sweet onions but don’t believe they grow in our area so I will still buy an occasional one. I also do this with peppers and we use them all winter. We do use them on pizza along with the other uses mentioned above.

  10. I save bits of everything including meat leftovers and use them to make Chinese rice which even uses the leftover rice

  11. I, too, am a fan of prechopping onions, peppers and celery and freezing them for recipes that are cooked. Here is one thing I do that really speeds things up; I will partially freeze a package of bacon, then dice it up in the food processor. Then in one gallon size bag, I will mix the bacon, onions, and peppers. All frozen together like that, they make a fast start to omelets, frittatas, soups and casseroles. I spread them out thin inside the bag to freeze so it’s easy to just break off a piece however large or small I want. Generally, I do all the chopping in my food processor, including the bacon. It makes fast work of chopping things!

  12. Thoughtful post! We use a lot of onions! I do the same…with onions, peppers, and celery. I dry garlic, then keep it in the freezer, though I think you can just freeze it. They’re all ready when you are! Thank you, Jo. My prayers are with you.
    -Jean ❤

  13. oh I love the idea of freezing together onions, peppers, celery and bacon – how wonderful to have it ready to go in a small baggy – oh i have GOT to try that !! thanks

  14. I like to buy the large cans of tomato paste because they are economical, if you use them up. So I open the can and measure what I need. Next, I scrape the rest of the can into a PINT sized ziplock freezer bag and kind of smoosh it around to be flat and get the air out. I freeze it flat and it’s in my freezer waiting for the next time I need a tablespoon or two. Instead of being exact, I just break off approximately what I need because it doesn’t freeze super solid like watery things. You can buy the paste in a tube, but it’s crazy expensive. I do the same thing with chipotle peppers, although I puree them in their sauce first. Just be sure to label the bags, nobody wants chipotle peppers when they’re putting tomato paste in spaghetti sauce!j

    When I don’t need a whole onion, I tightly wrap the remaining portion in heavy duty aluminum foil. It keeps the fridge from smelling like an onion, and keeps all but the outermost portion of the cut side fresh.

    I freeze wine as someone mentioned before. I also do that with leftover pesto so I can drop a bit in a tomato sauce to give it a bit of freshness. I also freeze coffee so I have coffee ice cubes for my iced coffee so it doesn’t get watered down.

  15. I didn’t know that you could freeze onions and the other veggies that have been mentioned. I’ve only cooked for myself, and have tossed a lot of food that I couldn’t use up. Now I know to just freeze it. Thanks for sharing Jo, and to those who have given their hints.

  16. Cyndi Holman

    You can also buy raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries when they’re on sale, and freeze them. Spread them out on a baking sheet (I slice the strawberries) and freeze all day or overnight. Then scoop into freezer bags. I also do this with cookie dough—make a big batch, freeze and bag a tray full of balls, then take out just the ones I want to bake.

  17. I’m thinking you can freeze carrots (blanch first?) with the celery and onions and have ready made portions for recipes that say to saute these items first. It would save time of chopping each item individually each time. I live alone so love the ideas!

  18. If you asked my family, they would say my best dish is homemade everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-soup! It was born of extreme need of frugalness, raising a family on a single income. Whenever there is a leftover bit of this or a last bite of that, I put it in the soup pot in the freezer. I think the key to the most favorable ingredients is the pan drippings, they impart such a richness. I used to keep separate pots for chicken, beef and pork but now with only HH and I, it put it all together. Extreme frugalness means adding a bit of water to the last bit of the ketchup or steak sauce bottle, or cans of tomato sauce.

    When it is time to make soup, I add a quart or two of homemade stock to the frozen block of leftovers and let the flavors meld together. I will adjust the seasoning after adding some kind of starch: pasta, potatoes, or grain like rice or bulgar wheat.

    I also chop up onion, peppers, and celery for the freezer. Additionally, I have a separate gallon size ziplock of veggie parings that are still good, clean but maybe not pretty enough for dinner table. Like the tip and top cut of carrots, root ends of celery, even apple cores (minus the seeds). This I will make into veggie stock and strain it all after a long simmer. I also save the golden papery skins of onions, if mold free, they impart a pretty golden hue to the stock!

    Word to the wise: don’t try to dehydrate onions in your kitchen, unless you enjoy the pungent aroma that hangs around for weeks! Ask me how I know!

  19. LaNan Eldridge

    I take out the stem of a tomato after I’ve washed it and then I freeze it whole. Then I put the frozen tomatoes into the blender and I have tomato sauce for whatever I’m cooking.

  20. I like to freeze leftover onions too…but I double bag them so the freezer doesn’t smell of onion. As they are freezing I break them up and that makes it easier to use just part of the bag.

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