Homestead Hack: Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings!

by Texas Homesteader ~
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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.

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 I always toss these onion trimmings in the compost bucket. 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 shallow cast-iron skillet). Since I was cooking supper at the time, I put that comal 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. It’s 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!

Back in ‘the day’ I used to buy onion powder for convenience in 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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18 thoughts on “Homestead Hack: Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings!

  1. Katy SkipTheBag

    Wow, what a great idea! I love getting extra use from food scraps. Thanks for sharing on the #WasteLessWednesday Blog Hop!

  2. Shannon

    What a great idea, I do this with tomato skins. I never thought to do it with onions.

  3. JES

    Great tip! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! 🙂

  4. Mtn Mom

    Saw this on Homesteader Hop and really love this idea! Thanks for sharing.

  5. 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!

  6. 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! ~TxH~

  7. Audrey

    Love this idea! pinned it. Congrats on your You’re Gonna Love It feature.

  8. Kim (TheKimSixFix)

    Your awesome hack was the most clicked link this week! You’re being featured this afternoon! Thanks so much for sharing at You’re gonna love it!

  9. 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

      I’ve heard onions make a great dye material Harriett, although I’d never tried it before. Thanks for the tip! ~TxH~

  10. Connie

    That is pure genius . . .what a smart girl you are 🙂

  11. 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. 🙂

  12. 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! ~TxH~

      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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