Onions are a beloved vegetable in Italian cuisine and beyond. They play an essential role in countless local recipes, making it valuable to know how to cultivate at least one of the many onion varieties available. Preserving the organoleptic qualities of the bulb involves harvesting the onions following a precise procedure. In this article, we aim to clarify this process, making it more understandable.

When to Harvest Onions

There are crucial plant indicators that help determine the right time to harvest onions. Firstly, observe the leaves: when they turn yellow and wither, it indicates that the onions are ready for harvesting. The upper part of the bulb, the neck, should be thinner. If it is still swollen, the onion isn’t fully mature. Keep in mind that a mature onion has a relatively standardized size, varying by type. Once familiar with the typical size, you can better determine when to harvest. Another useful method is the manual check: gently press the skin of the onion underneath the soil. If it feels firm, the onion is ready. If the skin is soft, refrain from harvesting as it is still immature. The maturation time also varies based on growing conditions and the planting season. For example, onions planted in fall or winter may require more time to mature.

How to Harvest Them

When harvesting, pay close attention to avoid irreparable damage. Water the soil first, then use a fork to lift the onions slowly from the ground. Begin by lifting part of the surrounding soil. Ensure the bulbs are not damaged, and delicately remove the roots.

How to Preserve Them for the Long Haul

To store onions for an extended period, there are various methods, with drying being one of the most effective. Clean the onions and place them in a dark, cool, and dry place. Lay them out on a table, ensuring they don’t overlap. Air circulation is crucial; it takes at least two to three weeks for the outer skin to dry completely. Once this stage is reached, select onions with longer and sturdier stems. Trim the top part of the stem, leaving about ten centimeters in length. Weave three stems into a braid and then hang them for storage.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a bountiful onion harvest and ensure they stay fresh for an extended period.