I’m not really an “onion person”. I mean, I’ll eat them if they’re cooked in butter and nicely concealed in whatever dish they’re a part of, or if they’re deep fried or of the bloomin’ variety… ok, maybe I am an onion person after all! I just don’t really care to eat them raw. I’m not a huge fan of cutting them up, either. But onions do add a little somethin’ somethin’ to most dishes, and so they remain a staple in my kitchen.
Recently, I happened upon a recipe on Pinterest that sparked my interest. Remember when I made the condensed cream of chicken soup? Well it’s good and all, and fairly easy to make, but anything frozen that has to be thawed isn’t really all that convenient for this meal-planning procrastinator. And then the Heavens opened, a ray of light shone down on my computer screen, and angels began to sing! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! An easier way! (Is any this blasphemous? Forgive me, Lord…I only meant to spread chuckles!)
What I’m saying is, I’m all over this idea. Cream of “Something” soup MIX, that you can keep in your pantry and substitute canned condensed versions when called for in recipes. It’s too cool. WAY cooler than this post about dried onions. 🙂
I digress. Anyway, this super cool Cream of Something mix called for dried minced onions. I had no dried minced onions, but I did have a big bag of non-dried, non-minced, actual onions. The synapses fired in my brain and I recalled a dehydrator that I own (well, technically I don’t OWN it, but since the owner seems to have forgotten it’s existence…), put two and two together and the rest is history. Herstory. Mystory.
I’ve had a lot of coffee today.
Dried Minced Onions
What you will need:
- About 8 medium onions, yellow or white
- a Dehydrator (you could do this in your oven if your oven will go low enough, 135 degrees)
- a Food Processor
- Goggles, face mask, contact lenses, a strong fan, willpower to live
- some unfinished hobbies or small children to busy yourself with while these are drying
- Peel onions and slice them into 1/4 inch slices. This where the goggles et. al. would come in handy. My kitchen got so unbearable with onion fumes that even my poor husband who was innocently trying to do dishes teared up. It was bad. We had to get a fan out, and I was practically sobbing by the time I finished slicing.
- Place the slices on the dehydrator trays and turn it on the fruit and vegetable setting, 135*! You don’t need to separate the rings, unless you have the space to do so. They might dry quicker if you separate them.
- I had to move the dehydrator from the kitchen out to the back porch because of how much it was stinking up the house! After several hours the back porch started smelling like a burger joint, so that was kind of fun, but initially the fumes were just too strong to bear inside the house.
- The dehydrating book says 8-10 hours for onions. Well, after 10 hours I wanted to go to bed, and only a pieces were even close to being done. I removed those pieces, turned the dehydrator down to the lowest setting (95*) and went to bed. In the morning, they were in the same state as the night before. So I turned it back up to 135* (fruits and vegetable setting), separated the rings, piling them on top of each other, and it still took about another 10 hours for them to be completely dried. Phew!
- As pieces dried, I removed them from the dehydrator and set them in a bowl to wait for the others. Once they were all dried, I broke out my food processor and chopped them up.
- After I minced the onions some of the pieces felt a little moist so I poured out the minced pieces on a fruit leather tray and returned the onions to the dehydrator for another half an hour.
- Once they seemed completely dry, I put them in a jar, labeled it with the date and contents, and it’s ready to store or use in a recipe! It yielded me about a half of a pint jar, so about 1 cup out of the 8 onions. That was kind of disappointing. (In the picture below I had already used some of the onions in the cream of something soup mix, which is why there is only 1/4 of the jar left!)
I paid about $1.50 for a cheap-o bottle of dried minced onions from Wal-mart. I paid about $3.00 for a bag of organic onions, also from Wal-mart. The whole bag of onions amounted to about double the bottle of dried onions, which means besides the organic factor, I didn’t really save much money by drying the onions myself. So, counting the time it took to dry them (30+ hours…hello, electric bill!), the tears I spent slicing the onions, and the fact that I really didn’t save any money… I highly doubt I will be making these again. I will say that the flavor of MY dried onions is better, and they smell like French’s Fried Onions (but do NOT taste like them! Bummer!) but I’m still a little unimpressed with this project. I have better things to do with my time, like finish projects, or play with my kids, or eat bloomin’ onions. 😉
If you try this, let me know what YOU think!