(A reader asks...)
Can you freeze onions or will they last chopped in a container in the refrigerator for a week? If you can freeze them, do you just put them in raw? I tried it, but they were mushy when I took them out. Did I do something wrong or can't you freeze them? I like to use them in salads, so I don't want to cook them first.
Coleen, your frugal cook editor replies:
Use Frozen Onions in Cooked Foods
To use them raw in salads, you need to keep them in the refrigerator, not the freezer. They will last longer if you leave them whole, rather than chopping them up. Cut off the part you are going to use and refrigerate the rest. Be sure to put it in a sealed container so the onion smell doesn't go all through your fridge.
I have a Tupperware onion keeper that I bought at a garage sale that works wonders. I've had onion stay fresh in it for over two weeks. Another nice thing about it is that it keeps the onion odor in better than other containers. If you don't have one, a glass jar works okay, too.
Freezing onions makes them soft -- they will lose their crisp, crunchiness. They are still good to use in cooked dishes. Add them to soups, casseroles, taco meat, or sloppy joes. Saute them to use in omelet fillings or to top burgers.
You might want to put the leftover piece of onion in the fridge for a few days. If you see you aren't going to use raw before it goes bad, then slice or chop it and freeze it.
Frozen onions are very convenient to have on hand. Put them in a zip top plastic bag before you freeze them, and squish it somewhat flat. Then, when you need some, you should be able to just break off a chunk.
This holds true for any onion that I've used -- regular white or yellow onions, sweet Spanish onions, Vidalias, red onions, and the spring onions or scallions.