Harvesting onions, shallots & garlic


There’s something deeply satisfying about pulling up a crop of onions (or shallots/garlic) and leaving them out in the sun to dry, but it’s an important job to do too as getting it right will mean you can store your onions, shallots and garlic for longer.

When the leaves start to turn yellow, that’s a good sign that your onions, shallots and garlic are nearly ready to harvest. If you bend the leaves over at this point, they will ripen a little better. Wait for a nice dry, sunny day and pull them up. Leave them in the sunshine for a day or two so that the skins dry out. If it’s miserable weather (unlikely!) and you’re getting impatient, you can always lay them out to dry in a sunny porch. Once the skins have turned nice and dry (and brown) cut the leaves off.

You want the air to get around the bulbs when you store them, and the ideal way to do this now is to hang them up. Using a mesh bag is the easiest way although we’ve heard of people filling a pair of tights with onions and hanging them up like that. If you can’t find a way to hang them up, you can pop them in a cardboard box with holes punched in, or a harvesting rack or similar. Store them in a cool, dark airy place and they will keep for a few months.