Onions find a lot of uses in many recipes. It is a good flavor enhancer. Dehydrating onions the correct way is easy. It is also straight forward and simple. Well dehydrated onions add pleasant flavor to most recipes. Dehydrating onions can be fun in the kitchen!
Dehydrating onions the right way ensures that the rich nutritional value of the onions is retained. Not much damage is done to the enzymes and minerals present in the onions.
Onions have many health benefits. It is also a powerful antioxidant. Its rich sulfur content contributes to its antiseptic and antibiotic qualities.
Onions are seasonal. Dehydrating onions correctly helps make it available even during its off-season.
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What are the steps involved in dehydrating onions?
As pointed out already, these steps are easy and simple enough for anyone to follow. So let’s get down to the business of dehydrating onions the correct way.
Easy Steps in Dehydrating Onions
- Select fresh onions suitable for dehydration
- Prepare the onions for dehydration
- Slice the onions uniformly or evenly
- Spread the onions evenly on the trays of the dehydrator
- Turn on the dehydrator and set the temperature
- Dehydrate the onions until dry
- Package the onions for storage
First step in dehydrating onions is to select the onions to be dehydrated. In order to get the best results, do ensure
that you use onions that are fresh. Anyone with any sign of rottenness should be kept aside.
The next step after selecting the onions is to remove the outer, dried covering. Also chop off the roots and the tapered top.
Slice the onions in a ring form. Onions sliced in a diced form are also popular. They should either be 1/8” thick or a little thicker such as 1/4”. However, it should be noted that the thicker the slices are, the longer it will take to dehydrate. Any desire to save time will mean slicing them as thinly as possible.
It is important also to note that the cutting or slicing should be uniform. This in turn will ensure that the drying is uniform. Uneven slices will lead to different time of drying for the vegetables.
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Steam blanching of the onions is optional. It is often unnecessary. But it may be carried out for two reasons. First, it helps maintain the natural color of the onions. Second, it helps soften the skin and surface of the onions which makes dehydration easier. It also makes it faster.
Steam blanching may be done using various methods. But for vegetables such as onions, best result is achieved by means of electric steamers. However, in its absence, the improvised pan-type steamer may be used. In this case, the onion is poured on the perforated upper section of the steamer. The onion is allowed to steam for about two minutes.
Long steaming for blanching purposes should be avoided. Why? This is because it has the disadvantage of destroying part of the enzymes and minerals that the onions are rich in.
Allow the onions to cool. Drain off any water and use a paper towel to blot out the excess moisture.
Spread the onions evenly on the trays of the dehydrator. Better result is achieved if the onions are spread in a single layer and do not overlap.
Pack the trays back into the dehydrator and turn it on.
Set the temperature of the dehydrator at 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 52 degrees Celsius which is the optimum temperature for dehydrating onions.
Dehydrating onions lasts for between 4 –8 hours. The actual time will vary depending on a number of factors such as the type and power of the dehydrator, the environmental humidity, the moisture content of the onions and the thickness of the slices. Even different batches of the same onions will likely take different times to dry.
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If you are using shelf dehydrators, it is a good practice to turn the trays midway into the drying period. This helps to ensure uniform dehydration. The Excalibur food dehydrator and the Aroma Professional food dehydrators are examples of shelf dehydrators.
Start checking for dryness after about 3 hours.
A good indication that the onions are dried is that they become leathery.
When the onions are dried, switch off the dehydrator and allow it cool. Unpack the onions from the dehydrator’s tray.
Package the onions for storage. Packaging of the dehydrated onions can be done using plastic food bags such as zip-lock or vacuum seal bags. . are preferred if the storage time is long. They can also be packed in a glass with tight lid covers. Food grade plastic containers with tight containers may also be used.
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Storing the dehydrated onions in a freezer will help prolong its shelf life.
Re hydrating or reconstituting the onions is also easy and simple.
Re hydrating the onions is the process of allowing the dehydrated onions to acquire back water. During this process, the onions return to its original fresh form, appearance and color if the onions is dehydrated appropriately.
Re hydrating the onions may be done by
Soaking: soak the onions in water for at least thirty minutes before starting to check for tenderness.
Simmering: Place equal volumes of onions and water in a bowl and soak for about five minutes.
Gradually bring the onions to boil and then simmer until tender as desired.
Dehydrated onions may also be reconstituted by cooking or by adding it straight to any recipe of your choice.
To get premium dehydrated onions, you must resist the temptation to increase the dehydrator’s temperature so as to save some extra time when dehydrating the onions.
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It is time to share in the fun of dehydrating onions. Why not share your experience with us afterwards?