Saturday Thoughts...3 Pounds of Onions on Sale

 The grocery ad had nice yellow onions for 3 pounds for $1.88.  The regular price was $3.19.  How can I use up 3 pounds of onions when I’m only cooking for 2?  I freeze ‘em.
I have two methods of preserving those onions…freezing them raw or making caramelized onions and freezing those to use in recipes and garnishes.  Both methods have the big advantage of making the mess just once and being able to use the finished product for months.

Frozen fresh onions can be cooked from partially frozen…
they brown up perfectly just like you chopped them today, or add to soups, stews, etc.  I thaw and drain them for things like chicken salad sandwich filling.  I just break off what I need and return the rest to the freezer.  I can keep them up to a year in my not frost free big freezer.  
I got 8 baggies of frozen onions...about 2 3/4 pounds of chopped onions for 23 1/2¢ each bag.
I chop my onions by hand…French slicing them first and then chopping the slices…I get the size I like for most recipes, and I usually freeze some slices too, for stir fries, etc.  You can do this in the processor, but it really only takes a half hour or less to make and package the prepared onions.  I put one onion per bag, and then put the bags, flat, inside a gallon bag to help keep down odors in the freezer.  Fold the top down to the outside of the baggie and place it open in a measuring cup to make an easy way to fill the bag; a flexible plastic cutting board can make a good funnel, and can go in the dishwasher.  Try using plastic gloves...keep that onion smell off your hands!  My excellent knives are from Rada, an Iowa manufacturer.

We like caramelized onions…very handy to have in the freezer, ready to use. 
A crock pot is certainly the easiest way to prepare them, if you can stand all that delicious smell all day!  I froze mine in quart freezer bags, dividing them into two sections so I could easily remove half a bag if needed.  I use them to garnish vegetables, soups, meats, in hot sandwiches...delicious!                   
                  Caramelized Onions in the Slow Cooker
  3         pounds  yellow onions 
  3         tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter
     1/2   teaspoon  salt
  3      tablespoons sherry (or balsamic or red wine vinegar)
  4         quart  to 6-quart slow cooker (spritz with cooking spray or oil the sides and bottom of the crock)

Thinly slice all the onions: Peel and thinly slice all of the onions into half-moons. Transfer all the onions to the slow cooker - the slow cooker should be half to three-quarters full.
Toss onions with the olive oil: Drizzle the olive oil or melted butter and the salt, if using, over the top of the onions. Toss to evenly coat all the onions with a thin glaze of oil.
Cook for 10 hours on LOW: Cover the slow cooker and cook for 10 hours on LOW. If you're around while the onions are cooking, stir them occasionally - this will help them cook more evenly, but isn't strictly necessary.
After 5 hours, I poured 3 tablespoons of sherry over the onions, stirred them and continued cooking.
After 10 hours, the onions will be golden-brown and soft, and they will have released a lot of liquid. If you like them as they are now, stop cooking and pack them up.  If not, leave the lid ajar and continue cooking another hour or 2 for thicker onions.
Refrigerate or freeze the onions: Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and transfer them to refrigerator or freezer containers. If any liquid remains in the slow cooker, transfer the liquid to a separate container - this can be used as cooking broth in another recipe. Onions will keep in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for at least 3 months.
You can use your slow cooker function on your instant pot for this recipe as well.


  1. When it comes to freezing onions; I also do the same with ell peppers; both great on homemade pizza or in spaghetti sauces or sloppy joes. Real handy when all you have to do is open up the freezer and take out a bag when needed.

    Now, To remove any lingering onion odors, dampen a clean cloth with vinegar or lemon juice and rub it all over your hands. Be sure to get in between your fingers, under your nails, and other areas where onion smell might be hiding. Let the vinegar or juice air dry, and then rinse your hands with clean water.

    Yet another way to remove onion order from your hands; rub your hands with something that is stainless steel, such as a spoon, fork or your sink if it's stainless steel. Just run your hand under cold water and rub with your stainless steel object for about 10 seconds.

    1. We also freeze bell peppers, and chopped celery too. Handy. No waste.

  2. I have been gifted 6 pounds of onions. Thank you for the tip on freezing.

  3. we both luv onions and I usually have 5 or 6 pounds of them in the kitchen

  4. We love onions here, too! I have this same recipe. I put the crock pot in the garage so the whole house doesn't get, uh, perfumed. In the winter I use this recipe to prepare the onions for a batch of French onion soup.
    I have tried the stainless steel trick to remove the onion smell, but it has never worked--my skin is too dry. I find that a pair of food service gloves works best when I am cutting up several pounds of onions.


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