Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm A Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch . . .

My house smells like onions. Our bed smells like onions. Our clothes and my hair smell like onions. According to our daughter, halfway up our (quarter mile long) driveway it smells like onions.

I told you previously that because of the less-than-adequate growing season just passed, my yellow storage onions didn't have quite enough time to mature in the garden. When I had to harvest them because of extreme drop in temperatures (and snow, sleet, wind, rain and hail), the tops weren't dried up much. I lopped off the green tops and have them stored in our heat-tempered garage. I've been sorting through them about every other day and am very surprised to see some (very few) of them looking fairly good . . . like I might be able to store them (for a little while at least) as they are.

But the majority are just going to mold rather than keep for any length of time so I've been concentrating on dehydrating those.

When I work in the kitchen taking off the outer skins and slicing them up to lay out on the dehydrator trays, the fumes are so strong I can hardly tolerate the burning in my eyes . . . let alone the fact that I can't see for the tears streaming out of my eyes and am in fear of cutting off a finger or two.

When starting this morning's batch I knew I had to do something different so I enlisted my husband's help and we set up a small fan on the counter blowing right over the cutting board and another window fan directly across the room blowing air out of the room. This did help a lot and I was able to get the eight trays of the dehydrator filled without nearly as much agony (and grumping and grousing) on my part.

We've got the dehydrator set up out in our attached garage but somehow, the aroma still wafts its way into and through the whole house. Not the worst smell in the world certainly, but very noticeable.

I guesstimate I've got at least three more fillings of the dehydrator yet to do. Roy has suggested I dump the whole batch of onions in the compost heap, but I can't see wasting all those (blasted slow-growing, non-maturing) onions I nurtured all summer.

Penny-wise and pound-foolish? Could be. Wouldn't be the first time I've made a not-very-bright decision.

Uh-oh. Roy just came in for a few minutes from working outside and announced we had to figure out some sort of a new system before I do yet another batch. I've been in the house all day and have apparently become slightly desensitized to the smell but he says it's overwhelming and becoming more than a little unpleasant. (Maybe that's why I have such a headache? Can onion fumes be noxious? Gosh, it's dangerous trying to be self-sufficient.)


RuthieJ said...

wonder how long it will take that smell to evaporate from your homestead? at least it's better than the smell of lutefisk, right?

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - Oooooh, ya, waaaay better!

The curious thing is it's so much worse than the first batch I did. It's got to have something to do with a low pressure area . . . or something.

But fear not, we shall survive!

Sue said...

I fear I may have started something with the Lutefisk crack.......LOL!!! Sorry!!!! :D
Try chopping the onions , and freezing them in ziplocs. MUCH less painful (and smelly) That way you'll be able to smell the Lutefisk!

Erin said...

Lutefisk, there's a reminder of home! MamaPea, I am getting a visual on this whole onion operation and can't help but laugh! But I seriously have "dehydrator envy"... mine is just the little plastic jobbie!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - I shall always think of you when I smell lutefisk! (Tee-hee!)

'Tis the time of year when my freezers are 'bout to burst with all the things I'm trying to stuff in them, but freezing the buggers would certainly eliminate the house being permeated with eau d'onion during dehydration. Good suggestion. :o)

Hi, Erin - Yup, we've got to keep our humor while trundling through life, don't we? (I'm saving the rest of my onion dehydration project until you come to visit!)

I've wanted for some time to get better at dehydrating because most of the "stuff" then has an unlimited shelf life, it takes so much less storage space, and isn't dependent on electricity as with a freezer! ('Course, it's hard to get excited about a reconstituted, dehydrated pea when compared with a fresh frozen one!)

Claire said...

I doubt it would work when you're dealing with that many onions, but I did recently learn a trick to keep my eyes from watering while cutting onions. A trick that actually works! I put two stick matches in my mouth, holding them between my teeth with the side you'd light out (but don't light them, for heaven's sake!!). It's worked for me every time. Not that you want to walk around your house like that all day.

Mama Pea said...

Claire - OH! You're not supposed to light the matches! Ha-ha! I've heard of that before, too. When I do my next batch in the dehydrator, maybe I can wear a crown of lighted candles on my head like . . . like . . . is it St. Lucia at Christmas time? Might be worth a try!!??

Jody M said...

I need to do this with onions and, I hope, garlic. I hope to do it outside before the weather gets too cold.

Chicken Mama said...

You know, Mom, if you are in need of extra freezer space, I have some. Besides, a full freezer (or refrig) runs much more efficiently than a semi-full one!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Jody - Yes, yes, yes, doing the onions (or garlic) outside would certainly be the way to go. So much easier all the way around. Unfortunately, we're way past (and have been for several weeks) warm enough weather outside to accomplish that. Even today when we have nice sunshine, the wind is blowing so strongly that it's very cool. Hubby is struggling with his clothing attire . . . he's cutting up a couple (more!) trees we took down this morning and is sweating from exertion but cold from the cutting wind. Ah, yes, if we could only choose the kind of weather we wanted when we wanted it!

Mama Pea said...

Chicken Mama - I have just loaded up the back of the Suburban and am on my way!

Just kidding, but I may well take you up on your offer.

Thanks, Chickadeedle!