Monday, August 10, 2009

Storing the Onions and Potatoes: Bins, Baskets and Bags

vegetable, potato, onion storage using wicker drawers

A friend recently wound up with a bunch of onions and asked if I knew any good products for storing them. She knows onions should be kept cool, dry and well-ventilated - but what can she use for storage? Not surprisingly, I do indeed have some ideas. This farmhouse vegetable store is just one - but it comes from the UK, which won't work for my friend.

potato and onion bin

A number of woodworkers make good storage bins, too. Here's a potato/onion bin from Hahn Enterprises, which does custom work.

potato and onion bin

And here's a potato and onion bin from Simply Rustic Woodworking.

potato and onion bin

This potato and onion bin comes from Rabourn's Creative Arts. The back is made of pegboard for ventilation.

stackable potato and onion bins

These stackable potato and onion bins provide a different sort of option.

potato basket

And bins aren't the only answer. Another way to go would be the willow onion and potato baskets; the onion and potato versions are the same design, just different sizes.

potato, onion and shallot hoppers / baskets

Dibor provides three sizes of vegetable hoppers, intended for potatoes, onions and shallots.

In the U.S., I'm seeing such baskets being sold by Bed Bath & Beyond. (This must be the "beyond" part.) In the U.K., you can also find such baskets here, here and here.

Shaker onion basket

Another sort of basket is the Shaker onion basket.

food preserving bags for onion, potatoes, mushrooms, cheese

And finally, you could consider food preserving bags - including ones for onions and potatoes. [via Kitchen Critic]

onion and potato storage bags

Here's another style of storage bag.

onion and potato storage bags

And here's yet another storage bag design. There's also a smaller size for garlic.

There are also a number of products meant for storing various fruits and veggies that might also work for your onions - but that's another post.

Update on Sept. 30, 2009: Please look at the comments on this post; storing potatoes and onions together seems to be a poor idea!

Update on July 7, 2010: I've got a new post with more storage options!


Anonymous said...

Jeri, I had to laugh at myself when I read your post today on Potato Bins. I once bought a country style potato bin because I was in an organizing & decorating mood. I thought it was so cute & would aid in my organizing project. Trouble is, I never had enough potatoes to bother putting in it & it just became another source of clutter in my kitchen. I did the same thing by collecting kitchen-themed tins for the pantry.

I'm curious - how many of us own tons of organizing items (plastic bins, file cabinets, chest of drawers, totes, etc.) that just become part of the clutter?

If you ever notice pictures or TV shows of cluttered houses, I guarantee you will see evidence of organizing & storage items piled within the heaps of junk.


Jeri Dansky said...

Geri, any professional organizer will have stories about the organizing and storage items they see at their clients' places - items that are indeed just clutter. So you have a lot of company!

Part of the problem comes from people buying the containers too early in the organizing process, before it's clear what's needed.

I almost fell into that trap myself a while ago, getting ready to buy a new file cabinet - before I realized that the better answer was to re-examine what was in my existing file cabinet, and decide if I really needed all that stuff. (I didn't!)

So while I obviously love a good organizing product as much as the next person, I'm conservative in my purchases for myself, and in what I recommend to my clients.

But not getting something you really need can be just as big a problem! Trying to get organized with no appropriate containers simply doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Hi - glad I found your blog recently!

anyway on the onion & potato storage, unless the rules have changed, they should not be stored together. Onions need cool/dry and don't care about the light. Potatoes need cool/slightly moist and dark. Unless you use them faster than I do, most of these storage bins will rot one or the other.


Cynthia Friedlob said...

I like the bags. Cute, efficient and affordable. And if I don't use them for some reason, they'd be nice gifts for friends who cook more than I do!

Jeri Dansky said...

Cynthia, they could be used as "gift wrap," too!

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Oh! Gift wrap is a good idea!

Jeri Dansky said...

Gail, you raise a very good point; thank you!

Consumer Reports says potatoes should be kept "in a cool place, away from light." It also says to keep onions "in a dark, dry, well-ventilated place. Store them away from potatoes, since they can absorb the potatoes moisture and spoilage-inducing ethylene gas."

And these guidelines (PDF) also agree with you, saying that onions need cool, dry conditions while potatoes need cool, moist conditions.

So I wonder why so many folks make storage designed to hold both?

Anonymous said...

I was excited to see your idea for the stackable potato and onion bins, but they ONLY deliver in Utah!! Do you think I could use stackable plastic or stackable silver (metal) mesh to store potatoes and onions? I found some online, but don't know if they would be bad for storing food.

Anonymous said...

I have used the plastic bins that kmart used to sell years ago that are ventilated, have an open mouth type design on the front and stack up very nicely with plenty of room for onions/potatoes. I keep each type of vegetable in a separate bin, that seems to be enough where they seem to last a fairly long time (we use a lot of potatoes and onions anyway, so they don't have a chance to sit around for too long!).