Continuing your summer vegetable gardening into fall extends your harvest season by many months. There are many things you can grow during the colder season that can be frozen, dried and even canned. Onions and plants in the onion family like garlic and shallots are easily stored in a dry humid free area and can keep fresh for years when properly stored. You can also use garlic and shallots to make herb infused butters and freeze them for use throughout the year. Find my favorite top 5 onion varieties below, organized by length of storage, popularity and taste.
5 Onions Varieties to Grow in the Fall
Yellow onions store the longest and are the most popular to commercial growers. You can find them for extremely low prices at any grocery store. Great in soups and pot roast but not my favorite for salads or on sandwiches; there are better ones for those. Yellow globe or stuttgarter store the longest and Spanish won’t keep well so should be chopped and frozen.
Sweet Sandwich Hybrid, also known in some areas as Sweet Savannah, is a brownish skinned onion popular in the Northwest that stores very well in a dry storage area. It has a sweet taste to it that is slightly similar to walla wall sweet onions but still keeps its strong onion taste.
Burgundy or in the Pacific Northwest, red onions are my favorite for salads and sandwiches. I also like to stir fry them for fajitas and enchiladas because they have a spicy hint to them and when a bigger quantity are in a dish they can actually pack some heat. Red onion is a great disease resistor and can be planted next to other onion verities to help ward off insect infestation. Red onion won’t store for longer period of time so you need to watch them and use them up when you notice they aren’t drying out like they should be.
Shallots are a cross between an onion and garlic; they have great taste and are fantastic infused in butter smothered over French bread! Shallots store easily and are good growers. Plant them by seeds directly over onion bulbs and the garlic like bulbs will grow right on top of the onion, it’s a great way to conserve garden space.
Leeks are a plant in the onion family; it’s got a strong onion flavor but looks sort of like a thick grass with its tall leaves. Leeks won’t store the same way an onion does, you will need to preserve them by freezing them. They will keep in the fridge for several weeks if stored in a zip lock bag.
Onions and other plants in the onion family are ready to harvest when their tops fall naturally. You should see the tops topple over, the some of the tops will have a dry look to them and the bulbs will be large and full, indicating they are ready. Here are 10 tips for growing larger onions. To preserve them for storage pull them up and leave them on the bed to dry for several days, cut the tops off and then store. For onions that don’t do well dried out and stored in a cellar, you can leave them in the ground and cover with a thick covering of mulch and then just remove them as you cook with them. If you leave them in the ground you need to watch them closely and protect them from ice, heavy rain or snow.
Emily is passionate about growing her own food, crafts, sewing, developmental disabilities and blogging. You can often find her blogging over at Emily’s Frugal Tips, a frugal blog dedicated to teaching families how to live with more for less money.