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When good onions go bad the only responsible thing to do is stage an intervention!
“And what, exactly, is an onion intervention”, you say?
I’m so glad you asked! 🙂
To start with, you have to get them far, far away from the onions who are still on the straight and narrow. You know what they say, “One bad apple spoils the barrel”, or something like that. Which, sadly, applies to onions too.
So what’s a girl to do when life tosses you bad apples? Or onions, in this case. Make onion-aid! No. Wait. I think I’m mixing metaphors. Or something…
Let’s go back to the beginning. I hear it’s a very good place to start…
Sadly, I don’t have an actual root cellar or even a basement. Most of my food storage is stashed in closets and under beds. Neither of which are ideal storage conditions for root vegetables. So I have to check them every other day or so to make sure they aren’t going bad.
Yesterday, when I checked the onions, I found that the ones in one particular closet were all getting a little soft. One of the things you may (or may not) know about me is that I HATE wasting food. It makes me cranky. True story. 🙂 And I especially hate to waste food I’ve gone to the trouble to grow myself because I want it to be organic!
So, in the interests of not getting cranky, I had to do something with those onions other than tossing them into the compost. There are several things I could have done with them. What I chose to do was make some spices. Or, if you want to be technical about it, seasonings.
There are 2 dried onion products that I use All. The. Time. The first one is onion powder. I use onion powder in my homemade Ranch dressing mix, but I use it the most in my Italian Herb and Cheese Bread recipe that I also use for my pizza crusts. And since we have pizza pretty much every Friday night, you can see where I would use a LOT of onion powder.
The other one I use is dried minced onion. But we’ll talk about that another day. 🙂 Anyway. I went ahead and made the onion powder. And now I’m going to show you how to make your own, homemade, you-know-what’s-in-it onion powder.
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Here’s what you’ll need to make homemade onion powder:
- onions (duh, right?)
- mandolin slicer or sharp knife and cutting board (this is the mandoline I have and use all the time)
- dehydrator (I have an Excalibur dehydrator. This one to be exact. I love it!)
- blender or food processor (I have a Ninja that I use all the time and love)
The first thing I did was peel the onions and cut off any really soft spots. Those go to the compost pile.
Then I got out my handy dandy mandoline slicer. I used the thinnest setting I have to make really thin slices. If you don’t have a mandoline, cut the slices as thin as you can. The thinner the slices, the faster they dry.
Next I spread the slices out on the trays in a single layer. I put all the odds and ends pieces around the sides.
Drying the onions for onion powder
Now, put those bad boys in the dehydrator and set it to 145°F if you have a temperature control. If not, no worries, just turn it on. 🙂
If you do have a model with a thermostat, turn the temp down to 125°F after 2 hours.
Dry time will depend on how thick your slices are, how much moisture is in the onions, and the humidity level. Anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. I usually let them go for 24 hours or so. But they just need to dry until they are leathery.
Then just pop them into your blender or food processor and give ’em a whirl!
Ta da! Onion powder!
And in case you’re wondering, you get approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp of onion powder from a medium onion.
I keep the bulk of it in a canning jar (surprise!) that I have sealed with my FoodSaver. And I have a spice jar full in the kitchen. Keep the onion powder stored in a cool, dry, dark place. This will store for a really long time under the right conditions.
Onion powder in pretty little spice jars (like these) makes great housewarming, wedding, and Christmas gifts.
And even if you don’t have food storage onions to use up, making onion powder is a frugal option for when you find onions on sale. And who doesn’t like being frugal?? 🙂
What do you use onion powder in?