I ventured into dehydrating food this week. As I mentioned in an earlier post, but poor garden didn’t fare well in the insane heat and drought we’ve had this year. My 3 dozen onions only grew to an average size of a shooter marble before the plants died, so I didn’t have much to work with.
My family doesn’t use onions often, and when I do it’s usually not enough to use up a whole onion. So, I needed a way to save them for future use.
Welcome dehydrating. You can use dehydrated onions pretty much any way you’d use fresh. If the recipe calls for fresh onion, substitute 1/4 dried for every 1 cup fresh. If you are cooking a soup, stew, or something else with enough liquid to hydrate the onion, just pour it right in. If you’re cooking something where you need them hydrated, just let the amount needed soak in water for an hour before use. If you need powdered onion, you can grind up the needed amount in a coffee grinder!
This is my experience with dehydrating my onions (Thanks to my friends for letting me borrow their dehydrator…I need one of these!):
Wash and remove the outer skin
Use a manual food chopper or a very sharp knife to chop onions to desired size
Lay out and spread evenly on the dehydrator trays (or cookie sheets). Since the trays I used were grates, I laid out wax paper first (if using wax paper, it will take longer to dehydrate).
If Using a dehydrator, it will take 6-8 hours at 145 degrees (8-10 if using waxed paper). If doing in your oven, cook at the lowest setting (usually 200-210) for 4-6 hours. I really recommend doing this outside. My whole neighborhood smelled like onions yesterday…thankfully it wasn’t my whole house!
They shrink up quite a bit. I recommend getting started early in the day so that you’re not coming up at 10pm to turn off the dehydrator like I had too! Also, make sure it’s plugged in…I lost almost 2 hours because I forgot to do that! Thankfully I went to check on them!
Sadly, I only had enough to put into baby food jars, but that should last my family for a few months. I may actually cook with onions more though, now that I have them readily available. Next year, I’ll work harder at giving them regular soakings and hopefully we won’t have weeks in the 90s and 100s. While this seemed like a lot of work, it’s worth it to know that there were no chemicals used on them and that I did it myself.
What uses do you have for dried onions? What things do you like to dehydrate? I’m making banana chips next!