Harvesting your garden in the fall as the frost starts to take over is always a busy time. It's time to get the vegetables canned or dehydrated, the potatoes cellared and fall planting done.
One of the good things about onions is you can take your time with them. I ran across this article on braiding onions for storage. But before you can braid them they need to be harvested and cured. It is a simple process but there are a few best practices to get the longest storage out of them as possible.
Braided onions not only look dang cool, but they also allow the onions to last longer thanks to better air circulation. But first, let’s talk about how to get your onions ready for braiding:
Harvesting and Curing Onions
Some varieties of onions are better suited for storage than others. As a general rule, sweet onions have the shortest shelf life, so if you are wanting to braid and keep your onions throughout the winter, plan on using your strongest, most pungent varieties.
You can harvest your onions any time through out the summer, but if you’re wanting to keep some for storage, leave them in the ground until the tops begin to fall over. Once this happens, you know they’ll be ready to harvest soon. (Sometimes at the end of the season, I’ll even help them out a bit and bend the tops over for them… I’m kinda impatient like that.)
Pull the onions from the ground on a warm, dry day. Before we do anything else with them, we’ll want to let them cure, or dry, for a bit. You can cure your onions out in the garden, on top of the ground you pulled them from, but I usually prefer to spread them out in our shop in a single layer for 7-10 days. (Because the less time they have to get attacked by the turkey, the better…) The length of the curing period will depend on how dry the tops are already. If you plan to braid your harvest, the tops need to still be a bit pliable and not completely brittle.
I had some onions with extremely thick stalks this year, so I gave them a little extra time to dry– otherwise braiding them would have been difficult.
Want to learn how to braid onions?
Getting those onions ready for winter storage is, as you can see, pretty simple. It takes a little time but that's ok you will be busy putting your other stuff up for winter.
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