The Garden Patch
In this picture the onions look a lot more full of life then they did when we got back from our trip on 5/27/2018. The majority of all the onion leaves had browned on most of the plants. I would have picked them a week before if I knew I could process them before our trip. We ended up with 27 lbs of onions after giving at least 1/3 away to friends and co-workers and steadily using them in the prior month and a half fresh from the garden. Next year I will try to figure out how to be able to either continually harvest onions by planting different varieties and/or plant storage onions so we don’t have a glut of fresh stuff that has to be used up within 20-30 days like we do right now.
Here the onions are spread out to dry for a day or two in the hot sun. This is supposedly supposed to help “cure” them so they keep longer. Honestly I don’t know if it helps or not for non-storage types. It may have shortened their life. At any rate, when the green tops had died back to brown they were all brought inside for processing. There is NO way that two people can eat that many onions in 20-30 days.
The majority of the onions are medium-ish in size, some are a little small, some are tiny and some are fairly large. They all got sorted into a few different piles with their different sizes for different uses.
Small onions: The super small ones will be pickled like pearl onions. I only had a few of these, less than 1 pint.
Small/medium onions: The smallish/medium ones will be dehydrated in an attempt to make onion powder. This seems like a good way of storing a non-storage onion.
Larger Onions: Stored in pantyhose to figure out how long they keep and to be used in fresh cooking
Quick Pickled Pearl Onions:
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp salt + extra for water
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
Prepare the onions, peel and cut an x in the bottom. Boil in salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water then put the onions in a jar. Put the thyme in the jar with onions. Put all other ingredients except thyme in a pan and boil for 2 minutes then pour liquid over the onions and let cool. Store in refrigerator. Since the onions are in a brine they should be good for a year in the fridge. This whole process probably took 15 minutes including going outside to pick thyme and bay. I got to use my fresh coriander for the first time!!
Slice onions to 3/16ths of an inch and arranging them on the tray they dried at 125 degrees fahrenheit. Most sights say to dry between 4- 8 hours. This is going on 11 hours. They are still leathery and not crisp although they appear to be mostly dry. I’m not entire sure how long this part will actually take. Good thing it’s a passive activity and I’ve got all weekend.
Either store the dried onions in a jar whole and blitz them in a coffee grinder when needed, or make immediately into a powder after onions cool and store in a dry air tight container.
The Texas Sweet onions ground more readily into a powder. I found the Georgia sweet had a higher sugar content and would actually not grind. They are stored whole and I’ll use them in sauces and just sprinkled on top of dishes. They are SUPER tasty on their own. They already taste caramelized.
Whole Onions for Fresh Cooking:
Each nylon bag is knotted so you just cut off the bottom for a fresh onion. Pantyhose work perfectly for this (weird I know) but you can get a whole brand new carton for super cheap. A knot between onions keeps them from touching each other and they can be hung this way. I wrote a “T” or “G” on top of the sack so I know if it is a Texas onion or a Georgia onion and can keep track on the keeping qualities this way.
If they start going bad quickly I’ll make some sliced refrigerator onion pickles and we can use them up that way.
Now to find a place to hang these…..