How to Dry Onions & Make Onion Powder @Whats4Chow
Recipe type: Preserving / Vegetable
In today's episode, we're going to be drying or dessicating onions. This is a fantastic way to preserve your onions, and I find that dried onion flakes and onion powder lend a different type of onion flavor to your meals - it is more of a roasted onion flavor as apposed to a regular onion flavor.
- 2kg / 4.4lb Onions
- 1-3 Tbs Cornstarch
- Boiling Water
- To start, top, tail, and peel your onions. You can use any cultivar of onion - these are California Brown. Cut the onions into quarters from top to bottom. This is much quicker and easier than chopping the onion, and you lose less volatile oils, and this is where all the flavor is. You will also find that the larger flakes will dry quicker and more evenly than smaller chopped bits that tend to clump together inhibiting the airflow in your dryer.
- Place all of the cut onion into a larger non-reactive bowl and cover them with boiling water. Allow this to stand for 3 minutes stirring constantly. This heat softens the membranes between the onion layers and will make the onion layers very easy to separate. This also dilutes some of the acidity resulting in a very mild aroma while drying. This is a major consideration if you're running your food dryer in the house, or worse, in an apartment.
- Drain the onions in a large colander, and start packing the onion into your food dryer trays, making sure to separate any layers that did not separate during the heating and stirring process. By placing some of the pieces facing up and others facing down, you will ensure a good airflow through the dryer as a result of the big gaps between the pieces.
- Once you're finished packing the onion into the trays, place the lid on top, make sure the lid vents are open and switch on the dryer.
- The process can take anywhere from 36 to 72 hours depending on the relative humidity, the moisture content of the onions in the beginning, and mostly, your machine. If you're using a small domestic dryer like this one, then it will take longer. In a larger semi-industrial unit like an Excalibur, it will be much quicker.
- This is the result after 3 days, or 72 hours. The onion is bone-dry, and simply crushes into pieces. At this stage, if you want onion flakes, crush them by hand to the size you require, and store. Alternatively, pulse them a few times in your food processor until the desired texture is achieved.
- I am going mill my dried onion in my spice grinder to get a fine powder. To do this, place a large handful of the onion into the grinder and zap it a few times to break it down. Add more onion and continue. By adding more and more onion, the grinder blades get the required back-pressure to do their job properly. Continue until the mill is full of powder, empty the machine, and continue with the remaining onion.
- As soon as the onion powder comes into contact with the atmosphere it starts to clump, or cake. To prevent this during storage, add 1-3 tablespoons of corn starch to the onion powder and mix it in.
- Store the powder in an airtight bottle in a cool place. It will last indefinitely under these conditions.