Despite the strange weather conditions over the summer, this year appears to have been a good growing season for onions and the bulbs have developed well. The bulbs can, of course, be eaten as soon as they’re large enough, but usually the aim with the bulk of the crop is to lift them when mature and dry them for use over the winter months.
In order to store well, it’s important to allow the bulbs to fully develop, as immature or unripe bulbs don’t keep well. Now’s the traditional time to lift onions and the telltale sign they’re ready is when the foliage starts to yellow and naturally bend over.
Sometimes in late summer the wind will also blow the foliage over and if this happens you can arrange the leaves into rows so that the sun can get to bulbs to start the ripening process. When bulbs are ready to lift, do it on a dry day and take care not to damage the onions when lifting.
Once out of the soil, they need time to thoroughly dry and ripen. This process can take a couple of weeks and involves keeping the bulbs dry and warm so that the outer skins turn a lovely golden colour. After this you can store them for winter use.