We may be gathering ingredients for the dish we are going to cook, but suddenly we realize that the onion has a black powder. If you have stained your hands and you did not know what it was, it is black powder, you will be interested in continuing reading.
We might think that it is dirt, but the truth is that it is mold. Black is a color in the natural world that serves as a warning. The good news is that black powder or black mold on onions is not that dangerous. There are many types of black mold, and the black mold on onions is Aspergillus niger , a mold commonly found in soil. This means that it is natural to find this mold on onions and other soil-grown produce, such as garlic. It can develop on onions before and after harvest.
non-toxic black mold
Onion black mold most commonly occurs after harvest and affects bulbs in storage. It can also occur in the field, usually when the bulbs are at or near maturity. The fungus enters the onion through wounds, either in the upper part, in the bulb or in the roots, or enters through the drying neck.
It is most common to see it on the top or on the neck , but it can also move down. Sometimes black mold destroys the entire bulb. The best methods for controlling onion black mold involve prevention. Sanitation measures will help prevent black mold problems. Ensure good drainage in the field to prevent the development of this disease. We will also consider rotating onions with other crops outside of the Alliaceae family (onion/garlic) to prevent a disease problem next season.
The other important prevention measures involve careful collection and storage . We will avoid damaging or bruising the onions while they are harvested, because wounds and bruises allow the fungus to enter. We will properly cure onions for storage and breed varieties that are known to store well if we want to keep them for months. Otherwise, we will eat the damaged onions immediately, because they will not last long.
What to do with onions with black mold?
We just need to remove the mold from the onion layers by rinsing them under running water or cutting off the affected areas. However, anyone with mold allergies should be careful to dispose of infected onions for food safety reasons.
Mild A. niger infections appear as black dots or streaks around the top of the onion and possibly the sides, or the entire neck area may be black. In this case, the fungus may have invaded only the dry outer scales (layers) of the onion, producing spores between two scales.
If we remove the dry scales and the outermost fleshy scale, the internal ones may not be affected. Onions that are mildly affected are safe to eat, as long as they are firm and the moldy area can be removed. We’ll peel off the affected layers, cut an inch around the black part, and wash the unaffected part. However, people allergic to Aspergillus should not eat them.
Very moldy onions are not safe to eat , especially if they have gone mushy. If the onion has softened, other microbes may have taken the opportunity to invade it along with the black mold, and these microbes could produce toxins.