Onions can be found in over 90% of kitchen recipes. It is a food item to always have in your kitchen. Going to the convenience store every other day to buy fresh onions just would not cut it.
As a result, you decide to buy a large number of onions. But you forget that onions are delicate, since they prefer to be kept at a temperature of about 4-10°/40-50F. That is warmer than your fridge temperature but way cooler than your average room temperature.
So before you know it, your onions get moldy, grow sprouts, or get soft and you have to throw them away. It happens, but it is still a waste of money. So you may wonder, can I freeze them and prevent that from happening?
Can you freeze diced onions? Yes, you can. Diced onions are very useful in the kitchen, from salad toppings to be eaten raw, to your soup or ground meat. Diced Onions if properly stored, would last for about 6 months in your freezer and still retain their flavor.
However, when onions thaw, it goes soft and mushy so you cannot use frozen onions in your salads or greens. But for cooking, all you need is the great taste or flavor that they offer. Frozen diced onions are a great choice.
According to The National Center for Home Food Preservation, diced onions do not need to undergo blanching before freezing. Blanching applies to a whole bulb of the onion. If you want to freeze your onions without dicing or slicing them you have to blanch them first.
Blanching is the process of boiling your peeled onions in water for about 7 minutes so that the core can get heated before immediately putting it in cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanching helps to soften and preserve the flavor and color of your onions.
How to Freeze Diced Onions
Frozen diced onions are great to have on hand. It saves you the teary job of having to dice onions after a hectic day at work trying to prepare dinner. However, not properly freezing your onions can result in a lot of unpleasantness. So, how do you properly freeze your diced onions for future use?
Step 1: Dice the Onions
You can get diced onions at the convenience store. But it would be better if you do it yourself. All you need is a sharp knife, a chopping board, cookie sheets, reusable freezer bags, and a food processor if you have a lot of onions to dice.
Okay, dicing onions is a teary business so you have to be using a very sharp knife. A dull knife crushes the wall of the onions and releases the compounds that cause your eyes to tear. Using a plastic chopping board is also advisable as it doesn’t soak up odor like a wooden board. Then you get to dicing.
If you have a ton of onions to dice, you can use your food processor, to make the dicing easier for you. If your food processor has a dicing function, that’s great. But if it doesn’t, use the normal cutting blade and set it to low. Give it a few thrusts so it doesn’t get too mushy.
Step 2: Place in Freezer Bags
The key to cold storage preservation is to ensure that whatever you are storing is enclosed in an airtight environment.
I have a tip to help you store your diced onions in your freezer bag properly. This is where your cookie sheet comes in. Take the diced onions and set them on the cookie sheet. Take care to ensure that it doesn’t clump together. This might not matter much but it just freezes better in singles than when it is clumped together. It also makes it easier to be reused after freezing.
Place the cookie sheets with the onions on them in the freezer for some hours to let them freeze a bit. When that’s done you transfer the already frozen diced onions into your airtight freezer bags. Do not forget to squeeze out as much air as you can from the bags before sealing.
Step 3: Stacking and Storage
Onions have a very powerful flavor that could spread to the rest of your food in the freezer if you’re not careful. To prevent this, you need to use high-quality freezer bags. If you want to be extra careful, you can double the bags for more safety.
Also, ensure that before placing the bags in the freezer, there are no bits of onions stuck on them. You could wipe the bags down with a dry towel to take care of that.
Onions would last for about 6 months in your freezer so take note of the date you stored them so you can keep track. You can write with a marker on the bags, the month in which you stored them.
Are Frozen Onions as Good as Fresh?
Frozen onions do undergo some change during freezing. The water in the cell of the onions expands when you freeze them and burst through the cell walls. So, when you thaw the frozen onions, it has more water than your fresh ones and the texture wouldn’t be the same.
Frozen onions tend to turn to mush when they are thawed. But in sauces and soups or for your normal cooking, where all you need is the taste and flavor, you don’t need to worry.
How Do You Cook Frozen Diced Onions?
Frozen onions would not caramelize like fresh onions. But to get the best results, fry from its frozen state in a pan with oil for about 3-4 minutes.