How to Tell if an Onion is Bad

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Listed below are some ways you can tell if an onion is bad. In many cases, the smell of onion can give you a good indication of whether or not it’s bad. If you notice an onion that has a strong, pungent odor, it’s likely gone bad.

Packed onions

The shelf life of onion depends upon a few different factors. The first thing to consider is how you store the onion. If it is stored in a cool, dry place, then there is a good chance it can stay fresh for a long time. However, if it is stored in a warm place, then it may rot. For instance, if an onion is stored in a warm kitchen, it may go bad within a few weeks.

People always buy groceries, especially onions, in bulk since going to the market, although enjoyable, is time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. Buying items in bulk comes with risks, especially for products such as onions that should be consumed when fresh.

Onions are among the basic ingredients that almost everyone uses, especially those who love homemade meals. You should not stop buying them in bulk because the cost of purchasing wholesale amounts is relatively cheaper than buying per piece.

Learning how to store onions properly can help prevent them from spoiling. It’s important to keep onions at room temperature in a well-ventilated area, with plenty of airflow to help keep moisture away from the onions.

Provided you store your onions well, they can last even for months and on top of that, we will provide you with simple techniques that you can use anytime you want to determine if the ones you have are spoiled.

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How to tell if an onion is bad

You can evaluate several properties to determine if your onions are spoiled before using them.


Touch the onion to feel its texture is still firm and in case you notice any damage on the flesh, it might have gone bad. An onion may have a damaged top layer and the rest is well, but if you squeeze and is soft and spongy, it is no longer safe.

Rottingmolded bad onions

Smell the onion

For you to get this accurately, you need to have used onions long enough. Onions have a strong aromatic smell and when spoiled, they develop an offensive and pungent smell.

Conduct visual inspection

A good onion should appear firm with no change in color and if it develops black and brown spots, it is unsafe and you should throw it away. If the change of color occurs just on the outer part, but the interior has no changes, there is no need to discard it. You should also check out for mold.

Shelf life

Onions are pretty hardy and can go for 4-6 weeks after harvesting. But since you may not know how long they have stayed in the grocery store, use them as soon as you can and store them well to extend their shelf life.

How to properly store onions

Store in an airy container

Onions go bad in the presence of moisture which can easily accumulate if stored in containers and plastic bags.

Keep away from sunlight.

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Heat affects the freshness of onions; thus, you should store them in a place where there is no sunlight, especially at the cabinet’s corner.

Remove the bad ones

One rotten onion makes the rest rot and hence you should be keen to remove any that is bad.

Final thoughts

Using spoiled onions in your meals can cause food poisoning and hence you should follow our tips and eliminate the bad ones. You can refrigerate your onions to extend shelf life or even store them in a freezer to extend their lifespan even further. Selecting good onions goes a long way to help you in this, so don’t buy those with molds, spots, cracks, discolorations, or sprouts.

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