Let me help you save some money and make you think you are a frugal genius! I used to be one of those that bought dried chopped onions in the grocery stores paying anywhere from $.99 to $3.99 for a container of that stuff. Then I got my mom’s old dehydrator. I played around with the dehydrator and put it away not realizing its invaluable contribution to our household. Silly, silly me.
One day I ran out of dried chopped onion which I use frequently, especially when I need to hide the onion used in the dish from my kids. I knew they would know I used real, un-dried onion and practically refuse to eat the delicious casserole I had prepared. I need a solution.
Voila! Dry my own onions!
This is easy, peasy! First of all, you want to chop up an onion to the size pieces that work for you. I leave a few bigger pieces, but I like small pieces. Remember the pieces will shrink!
(Sorry about the scuzzy cutting board. I did remedy that problem already!)
Then, depending on your dehydrator screens, you might need parchment paper or something to keep the onions from falling through the holes. Especially when they dry.
Lay out the onions so you can fit as much as possible while keeping them in a single layer. My dehydrator will do one onion chopped. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but one onion takes up a lot of room chopped.
Load up the screens into the dehydrator. (I will spare you the picture of my ancient dehydrator.) Depending on your dehydrator, the drying process can take from 12-24 hours.
**Very important** Unless you truly, truly love the smell of onions, place your dehydrator in the garage, shed, outside somewhere, or anywhere that is not your house. Not that I have done it in the house, but it will give your house a “lovely” onion-y smell for quite awhile if you do dry them in the house!
Now find an old jar or a pretty jar that you kept because it was pretty *ahem*, and fill it with the dried onion. It is actually pretty in the jar! Use when needed!
Finally, I get to give you a hint: a little of this goes a long way. If you are used to using the store-bought stuff, you will find that you need less of the homemade dried onions. They are a bit more potent than the store-bought stuff and give better flavor to the dish than store-bought.
The cost-savings on this is pretty decent. If you have your own homegrown onions, this will cost little to nothing for you. If your onions did not grow this year (yeah, me), I have been able to buy 3 pounds bags of onions on sale for $1.49. Those bags usually hold 7-9 onions and I use one for drying, this will cost me about $.18. Pretty good savings!
Thanks for reading! Have a great day!