Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dehydrating Onions

Dehydrated onions are one of our most useful garden stores. They are wonderful just as a snack--like hearty candy. Mostly we use them by the hand full in soups, chili and sauces. Tabitha also grinds them up and adds them to taco meat. This is about half of our harvest left in this wagon.

By the way, I would like to fully endorse that sprayer.


They have made the entire spraying process better. Subtle little innovations just make things easier.

I cut the tops and peel them in the sink under running water. I leave the root end because our mandolin likes it better this way. I prepare enough to fill the entire dehydrator.

This part of the process is entirely tearless, the running water really helps.

Our old cutting board split in two and we had get a new one. This one is so great, I don't know how we lived without it. That little routed trough around the edge has saved me many messes.


I set the mandolin (thank you Nicole) to the thickest slice possible. We have experimented with all thicknesses and we prefer this because it is yields the most product for the least amount of work.

Kassi is in the background sewing.


I load the racks thickly and over lapping a little especially loose rings. Slabs are best tightly packed.

Having tried every wives-tale to keep the tears at bay, I use the fan method. By the end of the process the entire house is filled with teary gas.

It is a parts-per-million kinda solution. Kassi is very affected by the teary blight.

We store the completely dry onions in half gallon mason jars. Last year we started with one gallon and could have used much more. Onion slices of this thickness take about thirty six hours with vigilant tray rotation. We have a cheap dehydrator with only a heating element. Someday we dream of a better model.


This one has a fan and element, larger capacity equals faster dehydration times with larger loads.

Gratuitous garden harvest photo.

11 comments:

Nicole said...

HOORAY! I sent you guys that mandoline and am always so happy to see you use it. It was just collecting dust in my pantry because I was scared of it. LOL, congratulations on a fabulous onion harvest. :)

karl said...

Thank you Nicole, we have used it so often that we need to get a replacement blade for it. A very useful tool indeed! BTW Tabitha is scared of it also.

Jo said...

Hello there -- awhile ago you mentioned in a post your use of copper spray to help control blight (I think). How is it going? I have seen some blight on my plants and am wondering what to do. Thanks!

Jo said...

By the way, lovely onions you have there!

karl said...

Jo, In this post I mentioned the copper spray and how well it seems to be working. I am still of that same opinion ten days later. Yes, things could have easily gone south in that short of a time but luckily they haven't. We like the copper spray.

Ron said...

Nice onions! Wow! I have yet to try dehydrating them. We chopped and froze this year again.

Someday I'd like to build a solar dehydrator, but in this humidity I don't know that it would do too well...

Ron

karl said...

yes, solar dehydrator. i have tons of links to sites about them. the problem, as i have researched it, is it takes longer than a daylight day to dehydrate. during the night mold can/will set in and ruin everything. allegedly, in this humidity, an alternate heat source must be provided for night time. i found old-time dehydrators that use wood fire to supply the heat. but, that opens all kinds of other issues.

i do have a mental working plan integrating solar, a fan and a heating element. my big problem now is that i really want to use stainless screen and that is cost prohibitive for an experiment.

Moonwaves said...

Interesting. I was told at a herb course recently that onions are not suitable for dehydrating but I found that difficult to believe and had meant to look it up. I know I've eaten dried onions before, which tasted a bit like crisps, so thought maybe they're coated in oil first and cooked rather than dehydrated. Just checked my little book of dehydrating though and the only restriction they mention is that it's a bad idea to have anything else in the dehydrator at the same time as the smell will overpower everything else. Hmmm, will have to give it another go soon.

Beau said...

What a great idea... never thought of dehydrating onions. Great pictures and explanation too.

FLFarmer said...

Karl, drop me a note at flfarmer@gmail.com if you would - I'd like to help you out with your dehydrating situation.

FLFarmer said...

Correction - make that floridafarmer@gmail.com (I guess I'm just so used to abbreviating everything I zoned out there).

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