While I enjoy a nice, cathartic cry every now and then, onion tears are not that; they're painful. They sting and burn, and to make matters worse, you’re holding a sharp knife, so don’t you dare rub your eyes. It doesn’t matter if you’re slicing, dicing, or mincing, it all hurts.
No one wants to drag out time when chopping onions, which is why it pains me to tell you that you need to chop the whole dang onion. Seriously.
If you’re caramelizing a panful, frying up some rings, or trying out one of your other favorite onion-forward recipes, that makes sense. But even if you just need a handful to season your frittata, or add a snap to your salad, you should still power through. Because those of us who have thrown the unused onion half in the crisper drawer knows it’s just in purgatory before it moves to the trash.
But you should cut the whole onion, use what you need, and freeze the rest.
You don’t need to do anything special: Just dump the leftovers into a freezer-friendly bag, flatten it into a single layer, and squeeze every last molecule of air out of there. If you’re really concerned about your onions sticking together, you can freeze them for two hours or so on a shallow baking dish before storing them in a container. The raw onions will last 6 months or more in the freezer—just make sure to label and date them!
I first started freezing onions years ago when I over-estimated how quickly I could go through an extra-large bag of Vidalias. I complained to my mom how the sharp, sweet smell was perfuming my kitchen and living room, and she suggested slicing and saving them in the freezer. Since then, I've always had a stash on hand for stir-frys, soups, or chili.
Now, if you want to enjoy onions raw (like in a salad or guacamole), freezing is a no-go. Also, defrosted onions can get a little watery, so it’s best not to rely on them for caramelizing. They're better suited to recipes that are stewy, like braises or sauces, or recipes that require them to be processed, like veggie burgers.
Here, we’ve gathered six of our tear-free favorites.
Do you freeze your onions? What else do you keep in your ice box?