Homestead Hack: Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings!

.by Tammy Taylor

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Recently I was trying to chop some purple onions for the freezer. I had so many of them and used as many as I could fresh but I also wanted to make sure they didn’t go bad before I could use them all.  Plus it’s so nice to have chopped onions as close as my freezer to simply toss into any recipe.

But as I was trimming those tough neck parts & the hard-to-chop dense section on the bottom where the roots once were, I paused before I tossed the wasted parts into my compost bucket.  There might still be a way to put these wasted parts to good use…

HOMESTEAD HACK: DON'T WASTE ONION TRIMMINGS! I'm Using the tougher trimmed parts from onions to replace an item I used to have to buy #TexasHomesteader

I’ve written before about using a warm but turned off oven to dehydrate small amounts of veggies for free.  I can then just place those dehydrated veggies into a jar and rehydrate them at a later time to use in my Endless Soup, etc.  But these tougher parts of the onion are not really useful in cooking.  Or ARE they??  What if they were ground into a powder?  I’ve done this with white or yellow onion parts from garden trimmings but maybe I can also use these purple onion parts…  I’m going for it!

Dehydrating Tougher Onion Trimmings

I took all the tough trimmings and placed them on my small cast-iron comal (a narrow skillet). Then I put them in a still-hot but turned off oven to use residual heat to dehydrate them for free.

When they were completely dry I tossed them into an *electric coffee grinder that I use for just this purpose  Well, I actually have several different coffee grinders for various grinding purposes – one of my most useful kitchen appliances that’s not actually used for its intended purpose.  LOL!  I ground the dried onion pieces finely and voila – purple onion powder!

HOMESTEAD HACK: DON'T WASTE ONION TRIMMINGS! I'm Using the tougher trimmed parts from onions to replace an item I used to have to buy #TexasHomesteaderI placed the powder in a repurposed spice bottle, slapped on a label and BOOM!

I used to buy onion powder for adding onion flavor to different dishes.  But using this procedure I haven’t bought the commercial stuff in years.  I love that because I used the more colorful outer layers the onion powder is a brighter color.  I know it will add a richer color when I use it to season beef stew or the like.  Plus it’s just one more way to REDUCE FOOD WASTE and you’ve gotta love that!


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28 thoughts on “Homestead Hack: Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We do this with tomato skins as well Shannon, that may be what started the process of dehydrating tougher parts of the veggie and grinding it into powder. Whatever path took me here, I’m surely loving that I’m able to use these previously-wasted parts of our food. ~TMH~

  1. Susan Olson

    When we brought in our (nice, but not huge) harvest of red, yellow, and white onions this spring, we kept a few of the nicest of each variety for fresh eating. Then, we chopped and froze most of the larger ones. The smallest ones were sliced thin and put of the dehydrator. When they were dry, my sister, who loves to do repetitive things while chatting or watching TV, used her mortar and pestle to break them up. We put the larger pieces (onion flakes) and the powder into separate re-used bottles. I think the three varieties mixed together give a deeper flavor. Mixed colors look great, too.
    The tough parts go into my “onion butt bags” along with carrot peelings and ends, celery tops, etc. for making stock.
    Waste not; want not!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      That sounds awesome, Susan – good for you! I hate to waste food, and it has surprised me even as careful as I am to use all the food we grow or buy, there’s often just a little more I can do. ~TMH~

  2. Cynthia O.

    Howdy, TMH, from down south-central Texas 🙂 If I don’t have a grinder, will a food processor or blender work for this? Just found you yesterday and lovin your site already ! 🙂 What a beautiful place you have! A little corner of God’s country <3

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Well HOWDY Cynthia! I can’t say whether a food processor or blender would work – I’d think it’d greatly depend upon the power of your appliance and the quantity of your dehydrated food. You might give it a shot & let us know how it works for you! ~TMH~

  3. Harriett Ritter

    Great idea-will use this one.
    The paper thin outer shell of the yellow onions make a great dye for Easter eggs – the look like wooden eggs-never tried the red onions – but will try it.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL Connie, I don’t feel very smart sometimes! But I am a true believer that we can all learn things from each other. Something I’m doing, you may have never thought of, and VICE VERSA. ~TMH~

  4. Michelle Nettles

    WOW, Thanks for sharing this!! I usually use all my veggie “throw away” parts for veggie broth. But I am going to try this next time I have an onion peel. 🙂

  5. ColleenB.~Texas

    Awesome idea on grinding up the remains
    Can also Grow new Onions from the otherwise Discarded Onion Root Bottoms

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OOOOH, good point Colleen! Although most of my store-bought onions already have the roots hacked off, my garden onions certainly haven’t. Wonder if onions will still regrow with hacked-back roots – perhaps I’ll have to give it a test. Thanks for the tip! ~TMH~

      1. Patti Kafton

        YES, they will! I tried them first in the edge of a flowerpot which is also a temporary home for a 2 ‘ avocado seedling.


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