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Friday, June 17, 2011

Vidalia Onions-Free

5 lbs of free Vidalia onions
Vidalia onions are only grown in an area defined by law in and around Vidalia, GA. Vidalias are a sweet onion. I will cook with any onion, but getting five pounds on Vidalia Onions is a real boon. At $1.99/lb, this is a  free $10 bargain. Since this is onion season, the price may be lower right now. Okay, May is Vidalia onion season, but I got these on June 11th, so these were probably harvested shortly before that. At any rate, these get rarer and more expensive as time goes by.

Today, my Excalibur dehydrator will make its maiden voyage. Okay, so it is pretty stationary--losing its virginity, perhaps? I will not be surprised if the odor of onion pervades my home, clean clothing, and my hair. People may avoid me!

It will be interesting to see how small the jar to hold all these will be. My guess would be a half pint jar will be sufficient--1 cup. We will see how close my prediction is to reality. I also predict these will last me until Vidalia season next year.  In my cooking of most meats and meat dishes, I add just a bit of onion to add flavor. In my efforts to make things last longer, I have frozen onion that otherwise would have just spoiled in the refrigerator if I did not use or put it up some way.

Look at the size of this onion. It weighs more than 1 pound, is almost 6 inches across, and is 15 inches in circumference and 3.5 inches thick. In the first picture, this onion is in the back. I put the two quarters on top of it to give you a frame of reference, then I found my tape that I had been search for! This is not just an overgrown onion or an anomaly. Many Vidalias are this size.

huge Vidalia onion

Yes, I am being frugal by adding only a bit for flavor. Rarely, do I get the urge to cook a hamburger with onions. Even then, I feel I am being frugal by eating not what I want but what I need. I look at it as being practical instead of trying to deny myself because of parsimony. I know I will get another onion.

I quit buying bags long ago because the "savings" to me is just a false economy. One bad onion discovered immediately raises the price per pound. Several onions gone bad later keep raising the price. I buy an onion, use a bit, dice and freeze the rest--until today.

Probably, the garlic on the counter should be dried, too. If I am going to smell onion-y, I might as well add a little garlic to the mix! Okay, here goes! Maybe some celery will accompany the onion and garlic.

While I am chopping, you can check out this article about the origin of the Vidalia.  Here is more information, including exactly where the Vidalia onion can be grown and be called Vidalia.

Hmmm, less sulfur in the soil means a sweeter onion?  I wonder if soil can be amended to make it have less sulfur? There is a project for research another day.

Your turn
Have you ever eaten Vidalias? If anyone has dried onions, how did they turn out?  Does the odor permeate your home while they are drying? The smell of bananas did when I dehydrated them in the winter. It was a lovely upon arising each day.


  1. I love Vidalia onions. I have a whole shelf in my extra fridge filled with them right now. They are on sale in the store, very cheap, for here that is. I have never been lucky enough to find them for free. Lucky you. I will use them up ...the rest of the summer.

    I will get about 30 pounds of garden onions and those I let dry for quite a while until husks are crisp. I leave out enough to use fresh for a month or so, the rest I dice and fill into freezer bags of 1 or 2 cup portions ready for cooking the rest of the year. My daughter said last year she just peeled her onions and put in bag in freezer whole. I may try that too with some...then I can just quarter those ones for cooking like in a stew.

  2. I would love to have an extra refrigerator! I won't use much in a stew, so these should last longer than yours. It is just me here. I never heard of or thought of freezing them whole. But, it seems like a good idea to me. I am trying to not use my freezer or I would be dicing these and freezing them. I have a separate freezer. When the tornado ripped our town apart, I was without electricity for five days. Luckily, I was able to borrow the money to buy and install a generator, only 49 hours after the electricity went off. So, except for a few things on the door of the freezer over the refrigerator, I saved everyhing. In the upright freezer, noting thawed at all. I decided that the more I dehydrate and can, the less there will be to ruin. Now, to try canning meat! Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon and leave a comment.

  3. I've never tried one. But then again, neither myself nor my husband like onions much. I recently made ham & beans and the small amount of onion I used stunk up the apartment for days!

  4. tlc,
    No, I don't really like onions either, except for seasoning. Set small saucers or shallow bowls of white vinegar around the kitchen and other rooms that have odor. That will take away the smell. However, I had rather my home smell like food tham commercial cleaner scents. I am sure my house will smell like onions, not what I will find pleasant!

  5. Linda, by now, you know that the odor does permeate your home! If you put in the celery, it will most likely pick up the onion flavor too. Garlic and onion are usually done seperately for that reason. I read one blog post a long time ago where the lady put her dehydrator outside when drying onions because she hated the smell so much!
    I would say you will get about a half pint from the onions you showed. Just a guess and feel free to prove me very, very wrong;)
    I love Vidalias! I love onions! I didn't know that they freeze well though.

  6. I did not do the celery and garlic because I was tired, it was hot, and it was very late. One cup/half pint was my guess, too.

    What I want is a bug-proof screen box to completely cover the dehydrator outdoors. I do not want bugs going in the back. Flies will go into dehydrators. I had a fly in my other one and just was sick to throw out food.

    All onions freeze well, just do not thaw crispy. So, for cooking, dehydrating is fine.


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