Dehydrating Onions – Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!

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Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

Dehydrating onions is simple and one of the most practical things to dehydrate, especially if you grow your own onions or get them on sale at a great price. Of course it makes sense to have them in your food storage too. Canning or freezing onions changes the texture and taste, but dehydrating them then re-hydrating them when you’re ready to cook is like having fresh onions. I can’t tell that they have been dehydrated when I cook with re-hydrated onions. On top of that, they’re super convenient and as I mentioned economical.

How to Dehydrate Onions Step by Step:

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

 Wash and peel your onions.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

 Cut your onions in half.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

 Then cut them just small enough to fit into a food processor.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

 I can usually get about eight pieces out of a big onion.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

Place the onions in a food processor.  Pulse them until they are chopped. Do not just let the machine run or you’ll wind up with onion juice.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

 Here they are chopped.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

Place them on your dehydrating trays. Here I have my non-stick dehydrator sheets on my trays. These sheets come in handy for small pieces that might fall through the trays. You can find them here on Amazon.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

 Here is a closer look.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

As you might have already guessed, I don’t blanch my onions before I dehydrate them. I also am dehydrating chopped onions, not onion rings. Cutting the onions into rings is a popular way to dehydrate them, but it seems to be a bit more work, and since the only way my family likes cooked onions is chopped, I do what’s easiest. You can blanch onions before you dehydrate them but it is not necessary; however, blanching onions will cut down on the smell of the dehydrating onions which can be quite potent. Instead of blanching I just start the process outside. Here you can see I have seven trays of a nine tray dehydrator filled. I started with a ten pound bag of onions.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

Here you can see I have my Excalibur hooked up and ready to go.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

Set the control for vegetable and let it start outside for about five hours. I usually start the dehydrator in the late afternoon then bring it inside to run the rest of night.

Dehydrating Onions - Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!~AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net

This is what the onion looks like dehydrated. The pink color is from the sugar in the onion. I put the onions in the freezer for two weeks to pasteurize them, then store them in Mason jars until needed. To re-hydrate onions place them in a pan and cover with water. Let them sit for about ten minutes. Pour off excess water and saute or brown as you would fresh onions.

Now, you have to clean your dehydrator and try to get the onion smell out! And you’re waiting for me to tell you what the secret is! Right? The truth is it’s a whole other blog post.  So you’ll have to wait a few days. I promise it’s worth waiting for because it’s so simple and easy!

Update: The secret is out! Go here to read all about it!

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Dehydrating Onions – Plus the Secret to Getting the Onion Smell Out!

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Comments

    • Jennifer says

      When you dehydrate food you don’t heat the food to a high enough temperature to kill insect eggs or bacteria. Freezing the food in a deep freezer for several weeks takes care of the majority of problems that might arise from bugs and bacteria. It’s not 100% full proof some bacteria freezes just fine and will thaw out and still be active. Obviously the ancient Egyptians did not have freezers but they did live in a very dry climate which is helpful in dehydrating. Since I do not live in a dry climate and I have the freezer option available to me it’s just an extra precaution that I take. In addition I find the freezer continues to dry the food out just a bit and as a result I get food that is very similar to freeze dried.

      • G. says

        The Excalibur dehydrator guide suggests that onions should be 145 degrees. I wash and soak my fruits and vegetables (I don’t worry about onions) with either vinegar or baking soda wash before processing them for the pressure canner, WBC, freezer, or dehydrator. This should help with surface pesticides, or any other unwanted “stuff” on there. It only helps. Our immune system takes care of the rest, but unfortunately not the pesticides. While the freezer will kill any larvae or worms (think meal moths) in dog food or bird seed, it is not pasteurization. That is why food is blanched before it is put into the freezer…to stop the enzymes from continuing to break down the food until it is frozen. It will taste better. That being said, there are foods, such as blueberries that need no blanching.

        We cannot run or hide from “bugs.” If you buy cookies, or flour from the supermarket, it is tested at the processing plant for **how many** bug parts there are, not *if* there are any. I shiver just thinking about food processed and handled in restaurants.

        Look at it this way. There are more of “them,” (undesirable microbes and creepy crawlies) than us. Don’t forget about the mites that live at the base of our eye lashes. “Those are called Demodex, and they’re mites that live on everyone’s eyelashes. They feed off of the dead skin cells and oil that collect in your follicles.” (11 Everyday Things That Are Terrifying)

  1. Lyn says

    My dehydrator is new and I have only used it twice so far. I have some apples to do and as luck would have it came across celery really cheap today, so that is being processed right now, which means I keep putting my apples off. I hadn’t given it much thought about the odour of drying onions and as I was thinking of doing some onion and I am so pleased to have come across your blog, so thanks. My question is – would the same thing apply if dehydrating Sweet Potato as ordinary potato? Have you tried it? Not sure whether it would be the starch which would be the secret ingredient in neutralizing the odour or not. Does anyone have any thoughts?

    • Jennifer says

      No, I have not tried sweet potatoes but they might work. I guess it depends weather you like your sweet potatoes savory or on the sweet side. If you like yours savory then a little hint of onion might be a good thing. I generally like mine sweet so I probably wouldn’t dehydrate sweet potatoes right after onions. But if you try it let me know! Now, I’m curious as to whether it will work….:)

  2. Jeannine says

    My Excalibur runs day and night for at least 2 months every fall as I dehydrate my onions, garlic, carrots, smoked jalapenños for chipotles and tomatoes. I’ve had it for 11 years and am amazed it keeps working. Jennifer, I found your blog by asking why my dehydrated onions turn pink! Now I know. I do roughly 100 lbs of onions every fall. I grow my own so I know they have never been exposed to pesticides. Have you tried garlic? I grow my own and get roughly 20 lbs of cleaned garlic bulbs every year. I clean the cloves, put in my food processor with a little dry white wine (water would work, but why use water when you can use wine!) and process into a rough paste. Spread on the racks and dehydrate at the vegetable setting. I use a heavy rolling pin on the backs of the plastic tray liners (I use the ones with the holes) to get it off and pulverize into minced garlic. I grind some into garlic powder and just store the rest in Mason jars. Yes, my friends and family love me!

    • Jennifer says

      Hi Jeannine,

      Sounds like you are busy! Yes, I have tried garlic, but have not dehydrated it with the wine/water. That sounds like a great idea! I’ll have to try it.

  3. says

    A mandolin slicer (>$14 for one you will use a few years) makes short work of 5 pounds of onions – seriously, under a minute and you have them all sliced to rings in uniform width!

  4. Teresa Hovland says

    What do you suggest about removing the odor of onion from plastic dehydrator trays? I just have a small counter top dehydrator that really works great for what it does. Just did a bunch of apples. Was just going to try some onions when I thought hmmm … I wonder if the odor will be forever in the plastic. I am wondering if cookie sheets in the oven would be a better idea and save the plastic for less smelly foods. Hmmm … but then how long would we have to stay at a motel or go on vacation waiting for the smell to dissipate?

    • Jennifer says

      Teresa,
      You could try using potatoes in your dehydrator after you dehydrate the onions to get the smell out. You can dehydrate them in the oven as well. I would just make sure it was on a day you could open the windows….:)

    • Jeannine says

      I don’t find that the onion smell stays in the plastic tray liners. In fact, after I wash them in hot soapy water, I don’t smell anything at all. I suppose you could always add a tiny bit of bleach. When I can, I also hang mine out on the clothesline for a couple of days.

      I know you can dehydrate in the oven, but I’ve found that it just doesn’t work as well.

  5. Frances D. Bruner says

    Is there a way that I can dry onions in a low oven or by air drying? I don’t have a dehydrator. I have been given some onions and need to do something with them. I know that I can freeze them, but I would rather hve them air dryed so that they can be put in jars and save my freezer space for fresh vegetables that will be in soon (if they are not alredy). Thank you.

    • Jennifer Osuch says

      You can dry them in the oven at a low temperature. You can try air drying if you live in a dry climate, but you need to make sure you have a fan on them and be vigilant about spotting mold. I honestly, don’t recommend air drying.

  6. Jennifer says

    After dehydrating onions the last time, I used a coffee grinder to grind them for powder. After a couple of months in a Mason jar the powder turned into one giant hard clump. I had to scrape it out with a knife. Can I put rice in the jar to keep this from happening? Or do you have another tip or suggestion?

    • Jennifer Osuch says

      Hi Jennifer,
      Putting rice in the jar to keep your onion powder from caking is a good idea. The thing is that if you live in an area that has a lot of humidity then caking will occur. The trick is to keep the air (because it has moisture in it) away from the powder. The best way to do this is with a vacuum sealer. My next choice would be an oxygen absorber. Then if I didn’t have either of those I might try rice.

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