onion skins drying

Back in our Grandmother’s day, it would be unthinkable to toss out any part of a vegetable, everything was used, even the tops and ends were used for making stock.

But what about onion peels, which we usually throw away or add to compost? I have seen them used to dye eggs, fabric and wool, and some people even use them to dye hair (after boiling in water). However it turns out you can dry them out and make a nutritious powder!

The outside papery cover may seem like something you should throw-away, but they’re actually nutrient dense. Onion peels contain vitamins A, C, E, and numerous antioxidants. They are also a good source of flavonoids, particularly quercetin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Every time you use an onion save the skins and when you have enough make this powder.

Make sure your onions are organic and not sprayed!

crushed onion peels drying

I came across this idea on the Homesteading New Zealand Facebook page, the original information and photos were shared by Katherine Riddell who has a plethora of knowledge on her page Katherine’s Kitchen. Katherine has been preserving for over 40 years and loves being in the kitchen sharing the love of laughter and food with friends and family.

Homemade Onion Powder

Makes approx. 1/4 of a cup

5 cups yellow onion skins, loosely packed (from about 6 medium sized organic onions)

Arrange on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 65 degrees C for 3 hours. Or you can use a dehydrator with your machines recommended settings.

Once the skins are completely dry, crush them up by hand and put into your blender. Run on high until they are powdered. If still a little damp put back into the oven at the same heat until dry, check at 5 min intervals.

Store in an airtight jar out of direct sunlight for up to 6 months. Use as you would store bought onion powder.

Add one teaspoon of onion powder to your homemade bread dough to add mild flavour and nutrients.

Mix some in when cooking rice to add extra vitamins and a little flavour. 

Can be used to add extra nutrition to soups, stews, and when making broth or stock.

Add to salt to make onion salt.

Have you ever wondered why onions go brown in the middle? One reason is that I read about is that they have been sprayed with roundup to kill the tops so that harvesting can happen faster. This information is from a grower in USA so has not been verified here in NZ – something to be mindful of though.

onion peels in oven