Utilizing Dehydrated Onions in Your Home
Dehydrated onions, although not commonly used in home cooking, are routinely found in fast food restaurant hamburgers and many instant soup containers. They are incredibly cheap and convenient to ship, easy to store, have a great shelf life, and retain plenty of flavor despite the fact that they are dried.
If you are looking to save money by purchasing onions in bulk while on sale, then dehydrating the onions will prove a fantastic way to store them for several months. Even if money is not your primary concern, time saving and convenience may be, and dehydrated onions can help you there as well. Read further for steps on dehydrating store bought onions and proper ways to utilize them in your kitchen.
How to Dehydrate Onions
In order to dehydrate onions, you will need approximately 2.5 lbs of onions and a food dehydrator. Remove the outermost skin of the onions, so that all dry and cracking layers are gone, and only smooth, shiny layers remain. Thoroughly wash and scrub your onions in warm water so that germs are removed and no dirt remains.
Begin cutting your onions. Do not bother dicing them into small pieces, as it is not necessary for the dehydration process. Instead, cut your onions into half inch squares that are approximately a quarter inch thick.
Follow your dehydrator’s instructions if they differ here, but you should arrange each square about an eighth of an inch apart from one another and dehydrate them for about 9 hours at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. After the time is up, you need to check the onions to see if they are completely dehydrated.
Do so by removing one onion piece and placing it on a hard, safe surface like a cutting board. Take a rubber mallet, wooden rolling pin, or other such utensil and crush the onion quickly with a fair amount of force. If it is dehydrated it should crumble or shatter for you.
When you are satisfied that they no longer contain moisture, place the onions in a secure storage bag and continue shattering them until they are in sizes that work for your cooking needs.
Storing the Dehydrated Onions
Once your onions are completely dehydrated and shattered, you have several choices on where and how to store them for later use. Storage bags with seals on them work fine for many people, but air tight canisters and jars tend to be the preferred methods. Ideally, you should keep your onions out of bright light and extreme temperatures. When stored properly, they should last an incredibly long time, though their flavor will eventually dwindle and fade, losing a fair amount of its pop over time.
How to Use Your Dehydrated Onions
Dehydrated onions can be used in many different types of dishes in all seasons. Although some people will balk at the thought of using anything other than fresh onions, older generations swear by it, particularly stay-at-home mothers in decades past that needed to tend to the household chores, mind the children, and still have dinner ready and on the table. Though most households now have two working parents, the time constraint has not changed, and it because of this that using already prepared onions are convenient.
Your onions can be used in many different things. Popular dishes for them include soups and other foods that are cooked in rice steamers and slow cookers. Thick and chunky chili is a great way to utilize your onions, as is a French onion dip made with sour cream. Pasta sauces are also greatly enhanced with the flavor and texture from dehydrated onions. In fact, there are so many types of food that end themselves to dehydrated onions that there are several websites with hundreds of recipes just for this pantry edition.