WHAT IS IT?
Let’s not mince words. I truly hate minced dehydrated onion. It’s the Captain Obvious of dried onion products. Dried minced is the Liptonesque stuff of instant foods. It leaves an annoying texture behind with that “Look at me! Look at me!” thing of a billion textural little squares, many of which are incredibly slow to rehydrate, sticking in your mouth and throat. Ugh. I would rather mince, sweat, and caramelize the fresh, and add a little onion powder for that toasted flavor.
The onion is dehydrated, and then toasted.
It removes the pulpy aspects of onions as they break down into liquids, but sweating them down works just as well, and you’re not left with thousands of these little squares doing this culinarily bratty “I’m here, deal with me! Deal with me!” thing.
This minced onion is made from Indian onions, shipped around the world as India’s way of mocking other cuisines that rely on down-and-dirty solutions like this.
- Onion bagels (Reyhdrated and then baked to dry and stiff again);
- French onion dip;
- Sloppy Joe seasoning mix (dry);
- Taco seasoning mix.
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
Truth: I don’t cook with them. I find them to be a poor shorthand for the real thing. Essentially they “replace” chopped onion in most recipes one-to-one, with some added rehydration prior to putting them into any wet recipe.
Dehydrated minced onions are a legacy of the “instant” food craze of the 1950’s and 1960’s. With more women entering the workforce, looking for quick, convenient foods, these pre-minced “instant” onions were a quick fix to mincing and sauteeing onions for a hurried feed-the-fam recipe after work. At least that is what the convenience-crazed companies making big bank dehydrating tons of onions, shipping them for a fraction of their water-soggy bulk weight, and getting a super-premium for them, told consumers. Like many less-awesome foods that become household staples, the taste kind of “stuck” as part of mom, or grandma’s recipes.
Truth is that it only takes about three to four minutes to mince onions. Most never need to be sweat down to carmelize enough to be equivalent to toasted, and onion powder can immediately add that toasted flavor, without the awful texture of a minced dried, dehydrated onion.
Just say no.
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