Food manufacturing is an important industry in the world. The popularity of dehydrated fruits and vegetables has made a vast market for the industry, encouraging more research and development to make processing easier than ever.
Onion, being the second most important Horti Corp, is considered the queen of all vegetables. The export business involving onions have flourished due to the increase in the use of onions in regional dishes, as seasonings as well as snacks and desserts. The dried and dehydrated form of onion finds a respectable position in the marketplace. The popularity of good quality commercial onion dryers can be owed to this fact.
Understanding dehydrated foods
The attention surrounding fresh foods is justified. But what about dehydrated foods? The inability of fresh foods to stay for a longer time is eliminated by dehydrated forms. Any fruits or vegetables can be dried and preserved for up to years with the right technique. The water content is lost, inhibiting microbial actions. The food does not get spoiled at all and remains usable for a long time. The vegetables that are dehydrated often take the form of powders, chopped or minced forms, and flakes.
Onion is a vegetable that is available in a variety of dried forms- flakes, chopped, powdered, etc. The dried form of onion is attained by a lot of processing. The onion layers hold a lot of moisture which is removed during the processing to make it completely free of water. The dried skin serves as a shield against microbes and preserves the edible portions in the best conditions possible.
Onions are available in wide varieties, and some of them are considered best for drying than others. To preserve onion in the dried form, the 62% water content in them needs to be made to around 6% or less. Therefore, every onion type is not fit for this process. The best onion variety for drying is white onions such as Creole Onion, Hybrid Southport Globe onions, etc due to the 20% water content in them.
Preparation for drying
At the beginning of the drying process, the onion is washed thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or soil that may be attached. Any damaged onions can be detected during the washing. The washing is followed by cutting the onions to place them on the dryer machine. The pieces are kept scattered without congestion or stacking them. The machine is used for drying at the desired temperature. Since vegetables like onions have remarkable water content, drying them at a low-temperature hot air is preferred. The nutritional value of the onions will be lost if high temperatures are used. Each batch of drying takes about 15 hours, as quick drying leads to degradation in quality. The speed of dehydration helps manage the sugars present as well.
Onion drying machine for commercial uses
- Hot air drying:
This is the traditional form of drying onions. Hot air can dry the onions in the desired way, eliminating the water content. The heating device produces hot air inside the dryer. The cut pieces of onion are dried in these devices for hours to get the preferred result. Unlike household drying, commercial drying involves tonnes of onions to be dried. Dryers are the perfect choice here. The hot air used is usually of the temperature 50 degrees Celsius to 80 degrees Celsius.
- IR in combination with hot air:
Unlike the traditional form of using hot air dryers, IR in combination with hot air has so many benefits. When infrared radiation hits the surface of onions, it penetrates the layers, and the energy it carries gets converted to heat. The process takes much less than the usual 15-hour cycle of hot air dryers. Moreover, the onion slices that are dried are of better quality than conventionally dried slices.
Another commonly used drying method is by making use of a microwave. They have high thermal efficiency and dry the onions quickly too. It does not cause any pollution of any kind. Microwave drying has been a staple component in food processing for a while now. The volumetric heating system through electromagnetic waves contributes to high-efficiency drying. The energy required is also less, with quickly dried onion slices. The dried slices are of incredible quality too.
Before purchasing a commercial onion dryer, these qualities have to be kept in mind. The machine is expected to be made of good-quality materials. It shouldn’t cost much to maintain the dryer and it should be easy to use. The power consumed should also be a standard amount. The dryer should be equipped with the power to remove the required moisture content without wasting the product either.
For industrial or commercial purposes, an onion dryer is required to meet the standards. Purchasing from a trusted seller will ensure the quality of the product so that you can be stress-free.