Dehydrating – Onions & Bananas

Nope..I didn’t dehydrate the onions and bananas at the same time!  They were done separately and on different days!

I’m the proud owner of a Garden Master Digital Dehydrator by Nesco/Amercian Harvest.  I chose this model because I really liked the following features:

It has a digital thermometer and timer, which means I can set it and walk away because it turns itself off.

The fan is on the top so there is no risk of drips (from food like jerky) getting onto the fan

It can expand up to 20 trays

Because of the rounded shape and the way the air moves through, over and across the trays there is no reason to rotate them.

It came with a free dehydrating cookbook (love that!)

I started with the onions, they were available fairly cheap (89 cents for a 3lb bag) at our local Old Farm Market.   As I am growing onions in our veggie garden this year, it was an experiment to see if I will continue to chop and freeze our harvested onions or whether it would be better to dry them and recover some of my highly coveted freezer space.  As well, these will become a staple in our emergency food supply pantry.

Onions are an essential ingredient in East Indian cooking, so we always have plenty on hand, both frozen and fresh.  It will be interesting to see how well these dehydrated onions work in our regular curry recipes.

WARNING:  You must dehydrate onions outside (covered area) or in the garage – otherwise your house will smell like onions for at least a couple of weeks -so will your coat, couch, curtains and critters!  Drying them outside might make your neighbours salivate for a few hours – but that’s no biggy!  I’m sure mine thought we were cooking curry for the masses!!

Peel and wash the onions, remove any soft or rotten bits.  Soaking the peeled onions in cold water is supposed to reduce the tears when cutting – yah, not so much!!

I used my Bosch Slicer Shredder attachment to make quick work of slicing the onions, this really helped in keeping the slices uniform, which allows all the trays to dry in the same amount of time

I also used the mesh inserts that came with the dehyrator to line each tray.  These are a great way to prevent the onion slices falling through the slats on the trays. (I made a total of 4 trays).

I was able to get them started in the morning and they were completely dry by the time I got home from work.

At this point they can be stored as is (dried slices) or they can be blended or crushed into onion powder.

 I left them as dried slices.

I decided not to grind them into powder (because I have a bag of onion powder in my spice cupboard)

Can you believe that 3lbs of onions now fit into this 500ml mason jar?

Onions hydrate easily so it is important to keep these dry.  So, if you have any of those little packets of dessicant, drop one in the jar along with the onions.

Another important step is washing the mesh liners and trays thoroughly afterwards to prevent any future foods from tasting like onions!

A couple of days later, I dried some banana chips and a couple of kiwis that were getting ripe in the fruit bowl.

These took about 6 hours at 130 degrees and cost about 45 cents in electricity use.

I make the banana chips every couple of weeks and we eat them for snacks, in our packed lunches and picnics.  I also regulary dry pears and apples for the same purpose.

This is the first time I have made kiwi chips, they were pretty sour once bitten into…which my son loved!

This is a great way to store fruit and veg.  Especially when you can get large quantities on sale. The perfect way to stock up on your Emergency Food Supply!

(Extra note, I made up 3 trays of banana chips which used about 11 bananas.  I save the peels, pop them in a bag and keep them in the freezer.  When I am ready to plant my tomato starts in the garden, I dig deep and put one peel under each tomato plant, as they break down they provide nourishment to the growing plant).

Do you have any favourite dehydrated foods or recipes?

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