SURVIVAL KITCHEN

Dehydrated Onions | How to Dehydrate and Store Them

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.

(UPDATED)

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.

slice-the-onions

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!

onions-on-dehydrator-tray

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-dehydrate-onions

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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85 Comments

  1. thank you for this. Myself, just getting into dehydrating, have done a few things, made a few batches of “vegetable seasonings” (various dehydrated veggies, blended, put in shaker and tell the family they are seasonings..)

    How long do you suppose your jar of dehydrated/sealed onions will last? Right now, I have dehydrated mushrooms in Ziploc bags, kept in fridge. I suspect my method not nearly as good.

    thank you for the link to the food save jar attachment, can you please consider putting a link to the Foodsaver?

    Also, could you please consider a discussion/short article on various types of Foodsavers/Vacuum Sealers and such? (ones which would be useful for the home prepper, or the not so technically talented)?

    I have seen these mentioned, often, but have no experience/knowledge of them. I think I have seen one at Costco, but not sure.

    Another thing comes to mind, it seems these may be the type of “machine” that gets bought and not used, so I may be able to find one second hand./kijiji, etc..Could you mention a few things to “watch out for”? Is one that is say, six yrs old, but barely used, as good as a new one?

    Years ago we got the nine tray Excalibur for a family gift, and seldom used it. Now, I am finding it amazing.

    1. “How long do you suppose your jar of dehydrated/sealed onions will last?”

      AT LEAST one year, but if kept in a partial vacuum, cool and dry, it will last for many more!

      The thing is, I intend to consume most of what I dehydrate within a year so that I replenish it with new fresh stock next growing season, in an annual food rotation plan.

      You asked for a link to the FoodSaver…
      There are a number of FoodSaver products, (this one is nice)

    2. If you buy a used foodsaver, one of the most important things to look at is the foam rubber strip that goes across the sealing area. The thin foam rubber can degrade over a couple of years, making it useless to seal any bags. Also, if you want one to use on jars, make sure the unit has an accessory port (a plastic tube goes in there to attach to the jar accessory).

      1. Tammy, thanks. those kind of concerns (seal degrading) is good to know. If I run across a second hand one, will be sure to look closely.

    3. Wondering,
      I have the Gamesaver model. It is a better constructed than the basic models. It’s also $150.
      I use it a lot. I fill my freezer during meat sales and it’s more than paid for itself. Over a year and no freezer burn like you may have read elsewhere.

      I have seen comments that they last about 5 years, so new may up being a better value in the long term.

    4. Wondering

      There’s another device that we use that works great for mason jars. You poke a very small hole in it and cover it with a small strip of tape they give you. You then use the pump to pump out the air. The lids are reusable and the device is very inexpensive. We love ours and it’s way easier to use that the Food Saver’s. Plus it requires no electric. We bought several in case one breaks but we’ve never had any issues with it. They sell the little strips by themselves but they are reusable.

      Pump -N- Seal

      1. Looks like a great backup in case of grid-down. It’s still available from the product website. I just ordered one.

      2. We love our Pump and Seal. Works great in every way! We put all our dehydrated things in jars and use it. Never had a problem. Very affordable!!

      1. Laraine,
        I’m pretty new to dehydrating, but never had my onions turn brown. I slice super thin on my mandolin and then dehydrate about 135-145 degrees until crispy.
        Maybe like apples a bit of a salt soak for a min or so? For apples for boys lunches I use 1/2tsp of salt in 2 cups water for about 10 min. Pat dry and they stay perfect for up to 3 days in fridge. Cannot taste the salt. Maybe try that before drying. Or a bit of lemon juice?
        If ya find something that works be sure to share with us.
        PEACE
        MadFab

  2. Excalibur Dehydrator – is the best!
    And yes absolutely..buy Vidalia onions while they are on sale!
    And yes use your Food Saver to vacuum pack!

    Herbs, Spice and condiments during a long term emergency will be like gold!

    I’d say now is a very good time to get squared away with preps, as it’s looking like many things may occur at an almost “simultaneous” moment. It actually will be a domino, but there will be so much dust/smoke it wont make any difference.

    Folks, don’t put yourself in a bad position to have to be down at the grocery store when this hits. People will be so ugly you wont even believe it! Hungry bellies will do extremely ugly things! Let those idiots duke it out amongst themselves!

    GROCERY STORES SHELVES WILL BE CLEARED IN A MATTER OF HOURS!
    Your local box store grocer does not have 72 hours of food on the premise! They haven’t operated in that way for decades! They operate in a 72 hour turn around..that is totally different!

    Truck drivers are not going to deliver for free! Our transportation system is extremely fragile, and nobody gets this! All it takes is for a 48 hour disruption to through one hell of a wrench into the works!

    PLEASE LEARN ALL THE SKILL YOU CAN!
    Store as much as you can – now!
    Put water at the top of your list!
    Get some water treatment tablets, filters, Brita, whatever the hell you can get your hands on NOW!

    1. Excalibur Dehydrator – is the best!”

      I have had my Excalibur for about 4 years and have been VERY happy with it. It has definitely paid for itself by now as we continue to use it to preserve all sorts of foods. While the initial investment is not cheap, a home food dehydrator is a serious tool in one’s supply of preps…

          1. Brenda,
            Depends really on how dry they are. If you dehydrate them to the point where they are crispy and crumble easily, I would say they will last many years.( 20+) that is the big plus of dehydrating. We do 4-5 five gallon buckets of onions each year. We put them into one gallon plastic bags, and they do well there. We find that we can cram one 5 gallon bucket of dehydrated sliced onions into a one gallon zip lock bag. Wife gives these out to family members (along with other dehydrated herbs at Christmas). One thing though, when you use them, you have to do so sparingly. 5 to 1 reduction dehydration ratio. about 1/4 cup of dried = one cup of fresh. YMMV

  3. There’s a FoodSaver product called a MealSaver (Amazon, about $40-50) that has a small footprint. It’s designed to suck air out of specially designed ziplock bags (a process that isn’t too successful), BUT it works very well with mason jars. You still have to buy the jar sealers separately (about $10 each). I don’t have a lot of freezer space so I didn’t want a regular FoodSaver. It works great for both my herbal supplies and my dehydrated foods.

  4. Ken,
    I love the idea of the dehydrator, but thinking ahead, is there a practical solar unit?
    Thank you

    1. I do not have a solar dehydrator yet, but I do plan to build one. I’ve built solar ovens, and a solar dehydrator would be similar in design – except for a lower temperature and it needs an air flow. There are many ways to improvise for a (do-it-yourself) solar dehydrator. Having said that, I’ve not researched one (solar) on the retail market. I will certainly do an article on the subject when I do the project…

      1. I was just going to make that comment. I sun dry all my tomatoes by slicing them and putting them on trays on top of one of my cars. Takes a day or so and I do have to turn them over but it’s free and I have tomatoes for soups,stews and sauces all year round.

  5. Blanching is not necessary for anything eaten raw.
    Don’t want to blanch, buy frozen and dry.
    If not ready for an Excalibur like I wasn’t, you can buy an inexpensive Presto from chinamart. It is a great teaching tool.

  6. Presto–$35 from chinamart and no shipping costs.
    I am pleased with it. Yes, I had to buy the regular and wide mouth jar sealers but the accessory hose was with the vacuum sealer.
    I don’t even buy the plastic any longer–jars all the way.

  7. I have a 5 tray Excalibur that I just use for small things like herbs. It just isn’t big enough to dry a whole tree of apricots or figs at once before some start going bad. Even nine trays wouldn’t be enough.
    I can a lot of my fruit and vegetables, but for drying huge amounts I have about a dozen large window screens I set up outside to use. To save space I have a simple rack I made to hold the screens stacked up with a couple inches space between them.

  8. I use a mandolin slicer to make my onions and garlic slices uniform, and much thinner than I could with a knife. Its cheap, only $10.00, just watch the fingers.

  9. I’ve used Food Savers for years and love them. I do have trouble with the jar device. Can’t seem to keep it sealed, even using the two lid trick I read on here a while back.

    1. the trick to getting the lid to stay on the jar is

      #1 make sure the rim of the jar is free from any powder or dust

      #2 take the hose off of the jar sealer as soon as the food savor stops its sucking phase

  10. I would like to know if you can use a biltong/jerky dryer for dehydrating food?

    The trays have quiet big holes in so chopped onions fall through but I was wondering if I could put a layer of tin foil with holes in to prevent the onions from falling through?

  11. Is there any kink of paper you could use to put on top of the trays so the food does not fall through the gaps?

    1. I use a piece of nylon screen cut to fit, it works well and can easily be washed with normal dish soap.
      NRP

    2. Merle, an old cotton sheet cut just a tiny bit larger than your shelves. and a snug center hole can be made by cutting an x with a pair of scissors…in center…they was easily.light colors are best.can use cheesecloth, plastic mesh like used for plastic canvass…

    1. @ Merle
      You’re Welcome.
      Hope it works for you, I have had good success with this method.
      NRP

    1. Merle,my first and second machine(liked the first so well i burnt out the motor and bought another just like it.)…. was called a Jerky maker, had the motor on top… work well. mine does not have a temp control and does not take quite as long to do veggies as the one i have that does have temp control.you may need to rotate your trays for even drying….so much depends on humidity …and air flow.

  12. Hello,

    I have a 9 tray Excalibur machine and have dried bolognaise (spaghetti) mince in it and it was brilliant to take on a hike. I would like to know if anyone has dried scrambled eggs? Or just eggs to take on a hike to make omelets etc? Also has anyone dried like a chicken casserole or any ready made food dish in the excalibur? Another thing can you dry food and just store it in freezer bags in the freezer?

  13. Hi Merle
    I have a 9 tray Excalibur and dry everything I can, esp. herbs which I use a lot of. As for eggs, I haven’t had great success. Tried a recipe from a wilderness backpacker’s book and while they dehydrated fine, they were difficult to get back to anything like scrambled eggs and didn’t taste great either. I’d love a recipe from someone who has had success with them. I have also made meals for storing or backpacking which turned out fabulous including a great trail snack of banana bread and an Angel food cake with chocolate sauce and dehydrated strawberries for dessert.

      1. When you scramble the eggs DO NOT use oil. Scramble them hard, hen dehydrate till extra “crispy” as my grandson calls them. Powder them up and seal up in a mason jar They should be good for about a year if kept in dark cool place

    1. H NanooseDeb

      I am very interested in your recipes for back packing? I have only done bolognaise mince and curry mince which work fantastic but I want to try a chicken casserole and rice or some sort of similar meal with pork or beef do. I cooked the mince just like I would normally do if we were eating it then I just dried it and we used it on a hike and it was fantastic! So I am wanting to do something different but a meal that you just have to hydrate in one pot. Like my mince. Thanks,

      Merle

  14. I have some dehydrated onions that i canned (#10 size cans) in 1999. I am trying to find out if they will still be usable. Or should i discard. Thank-you for your help,

  15. I bought a ‘Lem’ dehydrator (poor man’s Excalibur) about five years ago; used it a couple of times only. I found it to be messy, time consuming and expensive to run with our “peak tier” triple rates in effect.

    Plus my garden has gone from 80% failure in years past to 100% failure this year. I’ve replaced all the soil; yet the sandy, depleted nasty stuff keeps coming to the surface. My water bill went from $60 to $150, yet I STILL cannot keep the plants wet enough in this recent 110F heat. Plus I am working around 12+ hours a day, just to hang on to a job I really don’t like. The math just doesn’t work out in my case.

    Auguson has #10 cans of dried onions for 10 bucks. Frontier offers onion shreds, granules or powder for around 8 bucks per one pound bag. Asian supermarkets have four different varieties of dried onions for cheap.

    So I’ve resigned myself to click a few keys in the morning, collect a box off my porch in the afternoon and place the contents in storage that evening. Best I can do for now.

    1. McGyver
      Garden: When you are ready use raise boxes with a tin liner in the bottom to keep root eaters out. It will also reduce your frustration on the sandy soil coming to the surface of your garden. In order to reduce the water bill, and frying the plants during our lovely furnace blast or other wise known as *lol* tropical heat wave. When the boxes are completed add up rights to the corners of your raised beds. You will be constructing a poor mans pergola to reduce the sun and heat on the growing beds. The side(s) that receives the greatest amount of sun and heat during the day should have sunshade. Instead of watering the beds to the point of drowning the plants use the drip irrigation system sold in the stores H/Depot or Lowes. Put the garden drippers on timers 10 minutes(example)every couple of hours this will keep the moister in the soil and stop the plants from wilting. You can also use newspaper as moister retainer for the soil by placing it in layers down your rows of your garden. Just make sure you have a board to hold it down should the winds pick up in your area.
      Hope this helps you next time.

      1. I did raised boxes one years. Termites ate them all before one growing season was in. Short of pesticide, is the a way to protect from that?

        1. McGyver
          Sounds like you were using pine boards in the construction of the beds, yes they are heaven for those wood eating termites.

          If you do it again, I recommend redwood but before you place them against the ground place a GREEN BOARD on the soil and the redwood on top of the green board. Green boards are designed for touching the soil an or concrete.

          The other suggestion is fabric landscaping material, it is porous so water drains through the material but creates a separation, still using the green board as your foundation.

          Just what you wanted to hear on a Monday morning….

        2. This is my fourth year with same boards and they seem fine. I like concrete blocks better. Will replace with those when needed, like maybe two years.

    2. I’ve found that shade from the western sun helps, since that’s the hottest part of the day.

      The forest garden has been a learning experience. I’ve always done bare soil gardening until the last few years, but up there (it’s ten to fifteen degrees hotter than the rest of the yard) I layered the mulch on as deep as I could get it. With once a week deep watering I have mushrooms coming up spontaneously and weeds I’ve never seen forcing their way through the mulch. It’s mostly sand and rock up there, too. The rest of the garden with its layer of dry grass I water two or three times a week, with spot watering when needed. I am seriously considering bringing in mulch to cover the whole garden, if this is the way it holds water.

      1. Wow you are exactly correct about that western face! It is a blast furnace from about 3p until just past sundown.

        When we bought the house the retaining wall along the north side (mountain side) was gone. It had previously collapsed and the previous owner tore it all out leaving an unstable block wall 5 feet setback on the neighbors southern limit. It took me a year and a half of weekends to hand-excavate 110 feet and remove huge rocks everywhere, to complete a new retaining wall.

        So I had this space, 5 feet x 110 feet, totally de-rocked and isolated from everything else. I decided to replace the topsoil down a foot or so and start developing it into a productive garden. That was twelve years ago.

        But anyway, to your point. Yep it gets the full days sun blast from east to west.

        1. Plant grapevines (or something else thick and tall) on the western edge. Toward true west or south-west, not northwest. Although with a space that large it won’t make much difference. Another thing you may consider is planting in sections about 20 feet wide, with the tallest plants to the west. Plant things close enough together that the rootzone is protected even during the hottest part of the day, or plant sacrificial plants to protect the crop plants (pumpkins around the corn, lettuces around the tomatoes, etc).

          I started using the grass from the lawn in the garden two or three years ago, and it helps a lot. Unfortunately the yard doesn’t provide enough “mulch” for the whole garden, and this year it’s mostly been going up on the hill for the forest garden. So another thing I’ve been trying in place of mulch is layered cardboard (at least, in areas where it won’t blow away). Since I use driplines the cardboard goes over the lines and around the plants. It seems to help, and it should compost in. We’ll see if it affects the plants in other ways.

        2. Oh, after reading that it just occurred to me–you have a hotbox. The sun off that wall is going to make everything even hotter and increase evaporation. Check temperatures–my guess is you have a similar situation to the forest garden I’m working on, with the whole area 5 to 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the yard. If that’s the case, that in itself could extend your growing season by a month in the spring and a month in the fall if you can mitigate the other aspects.

          So mulch, shade from the west, and some kind of plant to cover that wall during the summer that also lets the rock heat the area during the winter.

          1. To cover the wall it might be something as simple as planting your corn there. If you can plant a month earlier it’ll be up and shading the wall before the really hot weather hits. Or even plant something above the wall (where the soil will warm up even sooner) that will drape down and shade it. Some kind of squash, maybe.

    3. To save water use wicking beds. They take very little water compared to even drip systems. I use raised beds that are off the ground, or get 4 x 4 x 2 plastic containers which work well for wicking beds. Avocado bins work well also, but need a liner. Even Home Depot buckets work well for one plant at a time.

  16. I have a $35 Presto and bought 4 fruit roll up trays (for eggs), 4 mesh trays (for fine chopped), 4 extra trays and have had no problem with no timer or temperature control. A friend used it so it was doing double time.

    Have shelves of dehedrated foods; made vegetable soup using beef bouillon and it was as good as fresh vegetables. Very good soup.

    Beginners may want to learn with a cheap dehydrator and move to Excaliber later???

  17. We dry sliced spuds , diced spuds, diced carrots ,diced onions, apples ,plums and apricots . Storing dried foods saves us storage space, glass fruit jars makes it easy to see what is in the jar.
    We use a Nesco unit purchased at BI- Mart for about $60.00 , it works well and is a great starter unit . It will accept 8-10 trays .We haven’t used a jar sealer unit yet , it is on the “to buy”list .

  18. they taste entirely wonderful, dehydrated.

    Shame I am only one in my home to eat them..

    ah well…

  19. just to mention..

    all those skins you are peeling off of the Onions..

    Have you/can you come up with a good way to “use” them?

    I have read many articles that Onion Skins (as opposed to the flesh of the onion), are chock full of nutrients and anti oxidants…

    Any ideas? (I have tried chopping them, put them in blender, etc..but still end up with bits of things tasting/feeling like unchewable paper)

    1. keep all your veggie trimmings in a bag in the freezer, then use them to make a veggie stock or add to beef or chicken stock. Just strain them out. I’ve never done this, but onion skins can be used as a dye.

    2. Put a pot of water on the stove and all the skins with maybe the ends of celery, the carrot skins (if you scrape the carrots) Can’t remember what else you can put in the pot, sorry, cover the pot and simmer about 1-3 hours about med low don’t let it boil, Strain the liquid and you have vegetable stock for soup or stews. Then compost the dregs (the stuff you strained out) for your garden

    3. Anon,

      I put onion and garlic skins in the compost heap. It takes a long time for them to decompose, but it helps keeps the bugs out of the compost. I also scatter onion and garlic skins (and garlic that has started to go bad) in my garden. It helps keep the bugs and squirrels away.

  20. We have an Excalibur 9 tray unit. I have found using a salad shooter for zucchini sliced or shredded cuts down the drying time on the vegetable. Other wise using the mandolin I purchase along with good thick latex cleaning gloves to protect my hands from being a part of the process.

    When Cash & Carry advertises their large bags of frozen vegetables on sale I purchase those bags to either dehydrate or divide into smaller bags for the freezer. The cost per pound is less than standard grocery stores. I have done this with frozen onions but prefer to purchase the dehydrated ones when fresh is not handy(long drive to the store).

  21. As THE jerky master in residence, it is one of my duties to dry all of the herbs, and veggies we can dehydrate. We have two dehydrators dedicated to veggies, currently I’m doing mushrooms in both. We store all dehydrated veggies in mason jars, they keep VERY well sealed up until used.
    We also store our jerky in mason jars, or food saver sealed bags for road trips, camping and the now fewer backpacking jaunts my knee will let me take. Hope to get a good supply of my jerky put away, now that the grandkids are 1600 miles away!
    When onion season is on, we will normally dehydrate 150lbs of local white onions, gives us about Aymara supply. Takes about a week to do all 3 50 lb bags, but it is worth it.

  22. i got tired of garden excavating about 30 years ago. My formula for success is ” The Lazy Man’s Garden ” Each fall, i get as much chicken manure as possible, horse manure, stacks of fall leaves, and every bale of cheap spoiled hay I can haul away from a farmer’s field.

    I layer each ingredient down on the ground. Only dirt that does not get covered is where my rows of produce will be – got some old deck 2 x 6’s that go down on the ground where I will plant the following year. After spreading out the manure, leaves, maybe lime or rock phosphate, down goes the hay as well, in flakes off the bales about 6 inches thick, right up to the edges of my planting row boards.

    Come spring, off come the boards, in go the seeds. Next fall, same thing all over again. After the first 3 years, my clay based crap soil turned into friable loam full of worms, that you could push your hand down into fingers first up to your wrist very easily. Watering is minimized, so is weeding, thanks to the top covering of hay.

    I haven’t tilled my soil for decades now, because the worms do a better job of it than I can. No watering and no weeding, relatively speaking means i can do my gardening from the porch in a chair with a cold beer instead.

    All I do now apart from the fall marathon gathering and spreading of materials is plant ’em, pick’em, and eat ’em.

    1. Unfortunately I don’t have the resources for this kind of all-out lasagna gardening, but I’d love it! After two years of no-till I’m seeing lots of worms in the soil and I didn’t water the garden until almost June.

  23. I have a toaster oven that has a convection mode. I use it to dry onions and herbs, and to make jerky. It’s not high speed production but it gets the job done.

  24. I had trouble a couple of times when removing the jar attachment from the mason jar getting stuck on the lid and losing the seal.
    I learned that if you put 2 lids stacked up on each other, then sealing it up, when I remove the jar attachment it doesn’t stick to the bottom lid and break the seal.
    I have the seal a meal brand.

    1. I read to do that because all jars are not made equal–some have more head space than others.
      My regular mouth jar attachment is fine, slides right off-the wide mouth is really a tackle to get off, but that only tells me I have an awesome seal on that jar! :-)

  25. i started drying STUFF everything from apples to zucinni i even went so far as drying CHILI A the chili stays good for a LONG time and it takes up a LOT less space than canning one DRYED takes up about 1/10 OF THE SPACE that one thats NOT dryed and when living in a APARTMENT SPACE IS EVERYTHING

  26. I like to take some of the dehydrated onions and run them through an old electric coffee grinder to make onion powder. Also do it with dried garlic. Lasts just about forever. You can grind all sorts of dried vegetables (and fruits) into a powder to boost nutrition in foods. I think this idea has been posted many times by tons of good people here. Just a reminder, and I am grateful to all of our MSB family who post such wonderful information here. Thanks again Ken, for such a terrific blog!

  27. my wife and i live in a apartment so SPACE IS EVERYTHING i got into drying pretty much anything if it can be dried from apples to zucchini hell i have even dried home made chili for a grab bag boil it for five minutes and your all set in this part of the country water is everywhere so that aint a problem
    the only problem with drying onions is unless you want to hear complaining all day long dry em outside because it does SERIOUSLY smell

  28. Why or Why couldn’t this have been yesterdays article!!! Dried onions in the house….sad now it smells like my teenagers shoes or bad BO.

  29. I have a really old Ronco brand dehydrator and found that everything I put in it came out smelling and tasting like dirty socks. Looked at the better dehydrators for sale and realized that they all had fans, so I turned a little space fan on it’s back set on low and put it under the old dehydrator and found to my surprise, it works just fine. It just needed some air circulation. Now my dried figs actually taste like figs.

    1. You can also find surplus computer fans and surplus power supplies online that operate on 12 or 24 volts dc. These work great if you need to add a fan to, well, just about anything. :)

  30. Response to TMcGyver: on trying to grow things in the hot desert of Southern California Interior Valley’s:

    I fought fires in your neighborhood years ago and I had a home with garden out back several hundred miles north of you decades later. Coming from a background of farming and large scale gardening, I have the following story of what I did to my sun blasted back yard in interior valleys of Southern CA:

    #1 track the high temps during the day on a calendar and track the sun and shade line of your yard. I do not know if you have a fence which provides shade and windbreaks or not. Do you have any trees or shrubs?

    #2 with the data gathered, you know the areas of your yard that get blasted by too much sun and possible high wind exposure. I had a wood fence and lots of cinder block wall surrounding my growing area so I grew flowers and flowering shrubs to break up the ugliness of bare cinder block wall.

    #3 I planted pressure treated 4×4 posts into the clay soil ( lots of work soaking and digging/repeat until done.). I made sunshades using shade cloth on top of a frame of wood made of 2×4 cross braces and lengths of 2×2’s to hold the cloth in place. I stapled the shade cloth onto the 2×2 pieces.

    As the years went on, the area I was able to plant more shade “trees” and the growing area for the butterfly garden grew larger and more diverse. Soon it became habitat that attracted birds to feed, insect pollinators to visit and the cats came around to look at the birds.

    End result, the area beneath the shades was 15 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature and the temp dropped even further after watering on a hot day. For a treat, I would spray water up into the shade cloth and let it drip down onto the plants. It felt good to do that on a hot afternoon in So Cal. We tried to minimize use of chemicals in the yard to encourage pollinating insects and we brought in the occasional box of ladybugs to manage insect pests once a year.

    My daytime highs were about 100 degrees in the Summer with the temp dropping down to 70’s at night. My spouse and I worked in healthcare down there so the garden was more for spiritual needs versus growing food from our land. many of my other relatives and friends were already farmers and ranchers so we knew where our food came from.

    Hope this helps.

  31. I forgot to mention: to McGyver

    Plants were mostly planted in inexpensive large plastic pots. The few permanent perennial shrubs were planted in an old oak barrels and left in place. ( Banksian Roses mostly planted against the ugly cinder block wall.).

    Many thanks to Lauren as all she said was spot on in planning out your growing areas. Southern California can be a very challenging place to grow plants. between the heat and the wind, all the moisture gets sucked away.

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