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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dehydrating Onions

Okay men, you can come back now. No more talk of feminine hygiene in this post, I promise. Only dehydrating onions.

I bought a sack of onions last fall because, well, they were cheap and I needed an onion and I thought I'd just store the sack in my food room and have an onion whenever I needed one which worked pretty well until this spring when they decided they were done being dormant and started growing. You know--you've probably had an onion or two start sprouting on you, haven't you?

Well, when an onion starts to grow, it uses itself to feed its new growth, so pretty soon the onion part is all soft and squishy and not appetizing any more, so I thought I'd better get busy and take care of these before they all used themselves up. (And before they took over the food room.)

I picked a warmish day with a good breeze and gathered my supplies: cutting board, sharp knife (really, get a sharp knife, not like the one I have in the picture--it was NOT sharp), something to hold onion bits, and if you're real sensitive some rubber gloves and sunglasses. You could also use some other means of cutting--whatever you like to cut your onions up with, but you don't want them pureed, so a food processor is probably not your best option.
Next, I took the whole operation outside. Believe me when I say that dehydrating onions is not an inside job--I know from experience. This is where the breeze comes in handy. I can chop onions outside and hardly even cry. By the time I had about a third of the sack chopped (all the growing ones plus any that felt softish) I was running out of time to get this project done for the day, so I stopped chopping and took my 9x13 pan full of onion bits to my dehydrator which was also outside. You can put your dehydrator in a garage, shed, porch, anywhere but in the house--trust me on this one. Some dehydrating things smell really good like herbs, jerky, fruit leathers . . . mmmmmm. Onions are not like that. They need to dry out of the house.
I spread the onions on the trays and dried for about 8 hours, then forgot about them and left the whole deal outside overnight and woke up the next morning sick and didn't bring them in until the following afternoon. Here they are in all their glory--dehydrated onions:
Don't look like much, do they? Well that whole 9x13 pan loosely filled two pint jars.

Lovely, aren't they? The onions are super dry, so no worries about them going bad. Store them in airtight containers like mason jars or buckets with good sealing lids, and you'll have onion when you need it whether you have an onion or not :)


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