During the time of the year when the harvest is plenty, it’s time to preserve the bounty.
I have preserved batches of (Vidalia) onions with my dehydrator for my food storage, and here’s why and how I do it…
(UPDATED and re-posted for your interest, since we recently processed another 12 pounds of yummy Vidalia onions)
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.
When winter comes along, we will have plenty of onions (in this case, my favorite, from Georgia where Vidalia onions come from), rather than having to buy some that have been shipped up from Mexico or South America.
How to dehydrate onions
Note: 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.
Peel off the onion skin as you would normally. I tend to peel off the thick outer layer too, depending on how it looks.
I then cut the onion in half, and slice it into no larger than 1/4-inch thick slices, but try to keep it even less if you can. Be as consistent as you can 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.
I’m not joking here 😉
Set dehydrator temperature for 125-degrees F.
Dehydrate for approximately 12 hours until nearly brittle (or however long it takes you to get to that dryness). 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.
When they’re done, I keep the onions in canning jars for convenience.
The use of a FoodSaver jar sealer attachment will greatly prolong the shelf life, as it simply removes the air from the canning jar (while using the existing canning lid and cover) after each time you take out some of the contents. The jar sealer is removed after the jar is sealed, and the conventional canning lid stays put.
I use the wide-mouth quart jars because they’re easier to fetch the contents.
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.