During the time of the year when harvest is plenty, it’s time to preserve the bounty. Or, if something goes on sale, like Vidalia onions!
I have preserved batches of Vidalia onions with my dehydrator for long term food storage. Here’s why, and how.
Why dehydrate onions?
When Vidalia onions are plentiful at our local produce market, and the price is right, we buy lots of them to dehydrate for later. I like the taste of these onions.
When winter comes along, we will have plenty of onions! In this case, my favorite, Vidalia onions from Georgia. It’s better than having to buy onions that have been shipped up from Mexico or South America during our winter!
How To Dehydrate Onions
Tip: When dehydrating anything, you must use quality fresh produce to ensure good and lasting results.
The process is really quite simple. Of course you need a food dehydrator (I use the Excalibur).
Cut the two ends off the onion.
Peel off the onion skin as you normally would. I tend to peel off the thick outer layer too, depending on how it looks.
Cut the onion in half, and slice it into no larger than 1/4-inch thick slices. Even thinner if you can. However be as consistent as possible with the thickness. If some are too thick, they won’t dry the same as the others.
Some people like to chop up their onions fairly small. Whereas I like longer pieces as shown in the images here. It really doesn’t matter…
Fill your dehydrator trays!
Important: Put your dehydrator outside! The smell of onions will be strong!
Ask me how I know…
Set the temperature for 125-degrees F.
Dehydrate for approximately 12 hours until nearly brittle (or however long it takes you to get to that dryness in your dehydrator).
How do you know when the onions are done? The small pieces will tend to snap in half while the larger pieces may be very leathery but obviously dry.
Note: Your time will vary depending on the amount of moisture in your onions, the weather conditions outside (humidity), and your dehydrator characteristics. Your mileage may vary.
How To Store Dehydrated Onions
When they’re done, I keep the onions in ordinary canning jars for convenience.
I also use a FoodSaver jar sealer accessory (connects to my vacuum sealer hose attachment). This will greatly prolong the shelf life. It simply removes the air from the canning jar (while using the existing canning lid and cover). I will reseal after each time I take out some of the contents.
I use the wide-mouth quart jars because they’re easier to fetch the contents.
How Long Dehydrated Onions Last
Let me put it this way… We recently opened a jar we found which was sort of hidden among things. It was dated 6 years ago (we always write the month/year on the lid). It was perfectly fine!
If they have been dried and stored properly, shelf life of dehydrated onions will last many years. I wouldn’t be surprised at a decade.
My 9-tray Excalibur Dehydrator makes about 6 pounds of sliced onions per batch, which fills nearly 1 and a half quarts of mason jars.
I just updated and re-published this from its original post 2013, having found that old jar of onions. Yum. Your further comments are welcome…
[ Read: Things You Can Seal With A Vacuum Sealer ]
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Author: Ken Jorgustin