Good Question: How Can I Preserve All These Onions?

As a followup to yesterday's post on using up winter vegetables in your CSA, here comes a good question from Emily. She's looking for a way to use up a big surplus of onions!

Dear Helpful People,

We belong to a CSA and every week we get a small box of produce delivered to our door. (Sidenote - if this is available to you it would be foolhardy not to at least look into it. Best. Produce. Ever.) We go through most of it quickly, and what I find we're running over on I can generally find some way to preserve it. Apples, for example, are easy.

Onions, however, are not so easy. Even when I use onions every night we only go through one a week, and there are generally 3 in each box. I don't want to waste them but I'm running out of ideas and I know there will be more next week.

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Just to let you know, the usual onion-included suspects are pasta sauces, risotto, browned meat for tacos/fajitas, sauteed in red wine with mushrooms, and other things along those lines. What I'm looking for is a recipe that will use the bulk of the onions at once and not leave husband and myself regretting such a large intake of onions...you know what I mean.

I'm open to any suggestions you have, and I'm not afraid of canning but I can't see how that would be good/useful later. Thank you so much!

Emily, first of all, onions will store for quite a while if they are kept dry and aired out. Make sure they have good air circulation, and that they are in a cool, dry place. They will last for at least a month or two if kept like this.

If you'd like to use them up quickly, though, and preserve them, I have just the thing for you: Caramelized onions!

If you slice up all those onions and caramelize them slowly over low heat with some butter, they'll be so good in pasta, on pizza, on burgers, and in grain salads.

Flavor Builders: How to Caramelize Onions

The greatest thing, though, is that they freeze beautifully. You can caramelize the whole batch (you can even do this in the oven or in a slow cooker) and then freeze the onions in small bags or even ice cube trays. Then defrost and use as toppings or in recipes that call for caramelized onions. Here are a few:

Sweet Potatoes and Caramelized Onions
Florida Butter Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Best Burger Toppings
Grilled Potato, Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Pizza

Also see this post from yesterday: Basic Technique: How to Cook Onions.

Related: Reader Feedback: What Should We Do With These Lemons?

(Images: Emily)

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