Product Type: Whitworths Spices & Seasoning
Newest Review: ... are. The onions don't smell too much until the packet is open. Once it has been, I find the scent strong, even for onions. It doesn't mak... more
These onions don't bring me to tears
Whitworths Dried Onions
Member Name: ryeb
Whitworths Dried Onions
Advantages: Easy to use, saves a little time as no chopping required, natural taste
Disadvantages: Once opened, the bag is not re-sealable, need careful draining.
I first bought Whitworths Dried Onions when I had run out of fresh onions and so had my local corner shop. The assistant suggested them as an alternative to me. I had seen them in shops before but I didn't really know what to do with them.
They come in a small cardboard box measuring 40g, with the onions themselves sealed in a plastic bag. The bag isn't re-sealable, so if you don't use the whole lot at once you will have to find somewhere to store the remainder. As they are very pungent, it would have to be an airtight container away from other foods! Having said that, I find that I tend to use half a box in one go, with that being about the equivalent of one good size onion. I don't measure it carefully, just by eye knowing what my families tastes are.
The onions don't smell too much until the packet is open. Once it has been, I find the scent strong, even for onions. It doesn't make my eyes run though, which is a nice bonus because I am usually streaming at the slightest whiff of even a spring onion! The pieces look like pale, papery flakes. They have a yellowish tinge when raw, but this fades to a white colour once cooked. They feel dry and slightly rough. The pieces are various sizes, so the flakes look like a rougly chopped onion rather than neat dices. They don't look much like onions really at this stage but that soon improves. They don't really increase much in size once cooked but this fact makes it easier to judge how much to add at the dried stage.
You are advised to cook them in boiling for 5 minutes before use, if you wish to add them to dishes such as pies and pizzas. They really do cook in that time. The biggest hassle is in ensuring that they are very well drained afterwards. Some of the pieces are small so to avoid loosing any you need to use a fine sieve. This is only a minor problem though. Once cooked, they taste exactly like a fresh onion, and have a good texture, being just soft enough but they stil have bite. I have used them in this way in many pies and quiches, and the flavour isn't distinguishable from the fresh kind. I have found them fiddly to use in dishes where the onion needs to be fried because they are difficult to really dry once boiled, and if you do not the oil tends to spit. Apart from that, they make a quick and easy addition to all sorts of dishes. Stirring a few into mash potatoes, along with mustard, is an easy way of adding some extra flavour for example. They also taste great on burgers.
If you want to add the onion to a soup, sauces or stew, you don't have to pre-cook the pieces, but you can add them directly to the pan. This makes using them even more convenient. My boyfriend enjoys eating them raw, but I don't like the intense taste, which mellows on cooking.
Overall, I would recommend these as a useful stock cupboard standby. They have a long shelf life - the packet I bought a couple of weeks ago has a best before date of March 2014! They cost me 49p in my local corner shop, and are a similar price in the supermarkets, so they are hardly expensive. Well worth a try, especially if you don't like preparing onions. They can't replace the real thing entirely, as you can't bake dried onions for example, but for many meals they are are a handy addition.
[This review also appears on Ciao.]
Summary: A handy store cupboard ingredient for use in a variety of dishes.
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