We use onion in most meals around here. And we use onion powder in the ones that don't have actual onions in them. We love the flavor onion adds to recipes whether we are using fresh, or dehydrated onion. It's super easy to dehydrate your own onions too.
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The first thing to know about dehydrating onions is that you are going to smell onions throughout the process, meaning your home is going to smell like onions. I recommend setting up your dehydrator in the basement or garage if possible.
You can also try blanching your onions before dehydrating them. It can help cut down on the smell, and it helps drying time go a little faster too. You can cut, then blanch for 30 seconds or so, dip into an ice bath, and dry.
- Wash onions.
- Cut off the root end and peel away the skins
- Cut into slices or dice of your choice. I use a Mandolin to keep everything cut evenly, but a knife is all you need
- Blanch if desired
- Place on dehydrator trays – separate the onion layers for better drying efficiency
- Dry at 125°F for 10-18 hrs.
- Store in airtight containers
Because onion humidity and size vary, how long you will need to dry your onions varies. I usually want to dry onions as dry as possible.
Check by cooling a few samples of your onions to room temperature. They should be a little pliable, but dry. If you blanched first, your onions should snap apart when dry.
Dehydrated onions have a tendency to be rubbery, slick, and chewy; not desirable textures, by any standards. But the good news is, dehydrated onions don't have to be that way if you know how to prepare them correctly!
The key is rehydration. Dehydrated onions have had all the water removed from them, like other dehydrated foods, but unlike other dehydrated foods, dehydrated onions can't get water back into them fast enough when you just throw a handful into your dish.
The result? Partially-dehydrated onion pieces that have absorbed just enough water to make them rubbery, but not enough to make them palatable.
Rehydrating onions is just like rehydrating peppers. All you need to do is put the onions in a bowl and pour water over them. Leave the onions to sit in the bowl for at least twenty minutes.
Then, when you add them to your dish, add the water with them. This is very important, as the water will have absorbed some of the flavors of the onions. You may need to adjust your recipe for that extra water.
Cooking with dehydrated onions doesn't have to be difficult. The key is to rehydrate them before using them. If you do that, your dehydrated onions will be a delicious and pleasant addition to any meal.