Now is the time to buy onions!

One of my favourite places to go on a weekend is Roundstone Farm near where I live. It is a pick your own fruit and veg farm and it is massive.  There is a tractor that goes round the farm so that if you pick lots of heavy fruit and veg you don’t have to walk back to the entrance to pay for it. The kids love going round the farm on the tractor and picking fruit and veg and even better it doesn’t cost anything to go in the farm or to go on the tractor!
Last year we decided to buy loads and loads of onions right at the end of the season (i.e. the end of September) to store over the winter and it was so successful we decided to do it again this year!  So today off we went to Roundstone and we came back with even more onions than we bought last year. As you can see from the picture there were so many I could lie down on them!
To store onions you need to:
  1. Make sure that the stems have died.  If they haven’t (i.e. they are still green) then bend them over – this apparently signals to the onion to stop growing.  
  2. You then need to leave them out to dry for a 2 to 3 weeks.  If the weather is sunny you can do this outside, but not wanting to risk it we have spread ours out on some old cardboard boxes inside.
  3. Once they are dried out store them in a cool dry airy place.  

We stored our onions in a cold frame outside last winter.  The cold frame was lined with stones. The onions stayed dry and cool and we were eating them from the end of September all the way until March at which point we ran out of onions.  We didn’t have a very cold winter last year though and it didn’t snow, but if it did snow we would make sure the onions didn’t start to freeze by protecting them with fleece or moving them inside.

The onions we bought were 40p per kg. We bought around 25kg of them for £10 and we are hoping they will last us even longer than the six months our last lot did. If we had bought loose onions in our local supermarket they would have cost us 80p per kg (at current prices) and there is no information available about where they came from. Onions are in season now and they may well be more expensive throughout the year. These onions were at least half the price of the supermarket equivalent, I know exactly where they came from and each time I use an onion I can reminisce about my nice day in the sunshine picking onions – whats not to like :).  
If you are thinking of buying some onions to store over the winter, find your nearest pick your own and go as now is the time!!!
We also bought a massive sack of potatoes for less than £5. The people at the shop said they should last a couple of months, but looking online it sounds like they should last longer.  We haven’t tried storing potatoes over the winter before but we decided we are going to give it a go and see how long we can get them to last for – if anyone has any tips for storing potatoes, I would love to hear about them!!!
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