I want to know what is in everything I feed my family. Even something like dehydrated onions contains things I can’t pronounce. So let’s make our own!
OK, so remember the other day when we were talking about what to do when good onions go bad?
And because putting them in time out seldom works I make onion powder?
And I told you that along with onion powder, the other thing I do with bad onions is make minced onions?
Good. Cuz today we’re talking about how to make dried minced onions.
“But, why would you go to all that trouble to make your own minced onions?” you say.
And that’s a fair question.
And here’s my answer. Two answers, really.
1. Because I hate wasting food and
2. Because I want to know what is in everything I eat or feed to my family and friends.
Even something as innocent as dried minced onions can sometimes contain things I can’t pronounce.
Things to preserve it. And things to keep it from sticking together. And sometimes even “natural” flavors.
Which we all know are really anything but natural. Because it’s made in a lab.
And we all know how well Frankenstein worked out. And he was “all natural”.
But back to the matter at hand.
Which is minced onions in case I lost you back there. 🙂
I use minced onions in so many things.
Onion soup mix.
Italian salad dressing mix.
And pretty much anything that needs onions fast and I don’t want to mess with finding an onion and chopping it up.
But anyway, after I made the onion powder I made a batch of minced onions.
And because I love you, I’m going to show you how to make your very own homemade better-for-you-cuz-there’s-no-weird-stuff-in-it dried minced onions!
Woo Hoo! 🙂
Here’s what you need to make dried minced onions
- fresh onions, of course
- mandoline slicer or sharp knife and cutting board (this is the mandoline that I love)
- dehydrator (this is the Excalibur that I have and love!)
- tray liners for the dehydrator trays. If you don’t have tray liners, no worries. Just cut some parchment paper to fit.
The first thing I did was, obviously, peel the papery skins off the onions. Then cut off the top of the onion and the root end of the onion. Next, cut off any bad or soft spots they may have.
And then toss everything you cut off into the compost pile.
Then I set up my mandoline with my julienne blade. If you don’t have any fancy blades for your mandoline, you got the wrong one.
Just use the blade that will give you the thinnest slices.
And if you don’t have a mandoline at all, just ignore all that and cut the thinnest slices you can. The thinner they are, the faster they dry.
Now cut your slices (or julienne pieces) into a fine dice. Again, the more uniform the diced onion is, the more evenly it will dry.
But don’t sweat it if your knife skills aren’t at the Iron Chef level. Mine aren’t either and my onions turn out just dandy.
Drying the minced onions
In a Dehydrator
Now put the liners or parchment paper on your trays. Spread the onions out as evenly as you can.
Try not to have too many big clumps.
Cuz then you have clods of minced onion instead of just minced onions.
As the onions dry you can periodically go and break up any clumps.
Put the trays in the dehydrator and turn it on.
Set the temperature to 145°F if you have a model with a thermostat. After 2 hours, turn it down to 125°F.
When I turn it down, that’s when I do my clod busting. It’s easier to break up the clumps now than when it’s all completely dry.
Drying time will depend on the size of your onion pieces, how much liquid is in them, and the humidity level. But it should be somewhere around 8 to 10 hours.
In the Oven
If you don’t have a dehydrator it’s still super easy to make your own dried onions.
Mince up the onions like we did before, then grab some rimmed baking sheets. You could, of course, just use regular cookie sheets. I just happen to like the element of safety the rims provide.
But if you’re not a little klutzy like I am, the ones without rims work just fine.
Anyway, cover the baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the diced onions out in a thin layer.
If you are hoping to preserve the nutritional value of the onions, you’ll need to use the lowest temperature you have available. 125°F is best if your oven will go that low.
So, preheat your oven to the lowest temp and then slide those onion covered trays in there. Put a wooden spoon or something in the oven door to keep it open just a tad to allow the moisture out.
Depending on the temperature of the oven and the size of your onion pieces, it could take anywhere from an hour to 6 hours to dry. Check every 30 minutes or so and stir them around a bit on the sheets.
When the pieces are completely dry, let them cool before you put them in a storage container.
And by storage container I mean canning jar.
You saw that coming, right?
I use my FoodSaver to seal the jar to keep moisture from getting back in.
Of course, these babies don’t have to be used dried. If you need some onion but don’t have a fresh one to chop you can rehydrate them and use them just like fresh.
Here’s how to rehydrate dried minced onions
I use the boiling water method to rehydrate most of the things I use. The basic formula is 1 cup boiling water (or other liquid) to 1 cup dried food.
So, if your recipe calls for a whole medium onion, or 1 cup of fresh onions, you would take 3 Tablespoons of minced onions and add 3 Tablespoons of boiling water and soak for 5 to 20 minutes.
Just leave it in the water until it’s absorbed all or most of the liquid. Then use just like you normally would.
I love giving food gifts for weddings, housewarmings, and Christmas. These almost always make it into the baskets.
What are your favorite recipes that call for dried minced onions?.
Other things to replace in your pantry:
Frequently Asked Questions About Dried Minced Onions
Pretty much all savory recipes benefit from the flavor boost of onions. And these dehydrated onions give recipes something of a toasty onion flavor. Which I love. So here are some suggestions:
Toss a couple of teaspoons soups, stews, and curries.
Use them instead of fresh in casseroles, meatloaf, and pasta sauces.
Throw some in your baked beans or potato salad. Heck, I even use them as salad toppings.
And, of course, I use them to make mixes to keep in the pantry. Like onion soup mix, Ranch seasoning, and Italian salad dressing.
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. I will typically store the bulk in my pantry where it’s dark, and put a small amount in my spice jar in the kitchen so it’s handy.
Dehydrated onions have a stronger taste than fresh, so keep that in mind. The following chart will give you the same flavor using dried onions.
Also keep in mind that the dried onions will absorb liquid so add as much extra liquid as you do onion to compensate. Or rehydrate before you add it to the dish.
Use this much dried: for this much of fresh onion:
1 Tablespoon 1 small onion or 1/3 cup chopped fresh onion
3 Tablespoon 1 medium onion or 1 cup chopped fresh onion
4 1/2 Tablespoon 1 large onion or 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh onion
Homemade Dried Minced Onion
- Dehydrator sheets
- Peel the onions and cut off any bad spots.
- Set up your mandoline with the julienne blade or use the blade that will give you the thinnest slices. Or use a knife and cutting board and cut the thinnest slices you can.
- Cut the slices (or julienne pieces) into a fine mince.
- Put the liners or parchment paper on your dehydrator trays.
- Spread the onions out as evenly as you can on the trays.
- Put the trays in the dehydrator and set the temperature to 145°F.
- After 2 hours, turn it down to 125°F. Break up any large clumps of onions at this time. Drying time will depend on the size of your onion pieces, how much moisture is in them, and the humidity level.
- When the pieces are completely dry, let them cool before you put them in a storage container.
How to rehydrate dried minced onions
- I use the boiling water method to rehydrate most of the things I use. The basic formula is 1 cup boiling water (or other liquid) to 1 cup dried food.