How to Tell When an Onion Has Expired

Updated February 21, 2017

People have eaten onions for over 5,000 years, according to the National Onion Association. The zesty onion is a flavourful vegetable that contains healthy flavonoids and polyphenols. There are number of ways to prepare onions, like sautéing, caramelising and roasting. Grocery stores and produce stands carry different varieties of onions like white, yellow and red. Keep these veggies on hand and enjoy their flavour whenever your recipes call for them. For the best flavour, use fresh onions. Throw out old or mouldy onions immediately to avoid getting sick.

Squeeze the onion with your hand. The vegetable should be dry and firm. Onions that are slimy or mushy should be thrown away.

Smell the onion. The onion should smell fragrant, not noxious or sour. Throw away onions that have an offensive or rotten odour.

Cut the onion with a sharp knife. Examine the inside of the onion looking for brown or black spots. Onions can rot inside before it is visible on the outside.


Refrigerated chopped or sliced onions may stay fresh for up to a week.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
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About the Author

As a former senior sales director with Mary Kay and the co-owner of a renovation company, Monica Patrick has firsthand knowledge of small business operations. Besides start ups, she has extensive skills in recruiting, selling, leadership, makeup artistry and skin care.