Since some stores even offer frozen chopped onions, everyone knows that onions can be successfully frozen. The only unanswered question is: how it’s done? In this article we will talk about the most important things related to freezing onions. After reading it, you should know everything you really need to and be ready to freeze those veggies.
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How to freeze onions
Before we can get to the “how to” part of the article, there are a few things about freezing onions you really should be aware of. As you probably expect, similarly to other veggies, freezing changes the texture of onions. Thawed onions won’t be crisp, but a little watery instead. That’s why using frozen onions in raw dishes like salads, etc. isn’t recommended. On the other hand, if you plan to use those onions in a cooked dishes, like soups, stews, casseroles, etc., that’s you’re good to go. In many cases you won’t be even able to spot the difference in taste, especially if there are quite a few other ingredients in a recipe and onions isn’t the main one.
It’s recommended to not keep onions in the freezer for a period of time longer than a year due to quality loss. Of course onions won’t go bad in the freezer, but you might not be very satisfied with the outcome.
Image used under Creative Commons from Alice Henneman
Now you’re ready to start the whole process. For starters, wash each onion you plan to freeze under running water, pat it dry and peel. Before chopping veggies into small pieces consider what size will be adequate for the dish those onions will be used in. That’s because in most cases you’ll put frozen onions directly into the dish you’re cooking, without thawing it beforehand. Now chop the onions or simply use a blender, whatever works for you best. Now it’s time to choose from one of two methods described below.
Freezing onions using an ice-cube tray
This method is very easy. Take an ice-cube tray, put chopped onions into each cube (make sure they don’t stick out of the cube), pour in some water, so the veggies are completely covered by water and put the tray into the freezer. Once the ice-cubes are formed, you can take the tray from the freezer, transfer the cubes into a freezer bag, squeeze out the air and seal it. After labeling the bag, it’s ready to be put in the freezer. The only downside of this method is that those ice cubes will take more space than if you wouldn’t freeze onions in water.
Freezing onions – the typical way
Prepare few sandwich bags and put into each bag as much onion pieces as you will need for one dish. Now transfer those small bags into a freezer bag, squeeze out all the air, seal and label it. Using those sandwich bags with small portions of onions has one huge benefit – you can easily scoop just one sandwich bag from the freezer bag when you will be in need of onions. Those onions inside each sandwich bag will stick to each other, but that’s not a problem since one bag should contain one portion needed for a dish. Therefore, you can simply transfer the contents of the bag into the dish you’re cooking and you’re done. No additional hassle with trying to scoop some slices from a clump that would have formed in the freezer bag if you wouldn’t divide all onions into smaller portions and put them into sandwich bags.
As you can see freezing onions isn’t that difficult at all. The process isn’t time-consuming too. Just remember that frozen onions work best (as most other veggies) in cooked dishes and they do poorly in raw ones.