Is your onion powder hard? Read more to find out why this happens and how you can solve this problem, and how to prevent it from happening again.
If you are reading this article then chances are high that you have hard onion powder in your kitchen and you’re wondering how this could happen. You use it all the time for seasoning your meals to add a wonderful tangy taste to your food. But what exactly is onion powder? It is just your regular onion ground and then dehydrated to produce powder to make it easier to mix.
Onion powder can be made from all kinds of onions, be it white, red, or yellow. It is one of the main ingredients in spice mixes. It is made commercially, but you can actually make it yourself at home too! Ran out of onion powder? You can use onion paste, minced onion, and onion salt as an onion powder substitute, and it will work just the same.
Why Do You Need It?
Onion powder is a versatile ingredient and can be used for a variety of culinary purposes. Let’s look into some very common uses of onion powder.
- What does fresh onion remind you of? Tears! Onions make us cry because of the sulfur compounds present in them. For preparing onion powder, 96 percent of the water is removed, and thankfully, the tears are gone too! Use only one tablespoon of onion powder instead of a half cup of chopped onions to save the tears and to add elevated flavors to your food.
- Is your soup or stew too plain? Sometimes soups and stews seem to lack flavor if you have mistakenly watered them down too much. Add a bit of onion powder to bring back the flavor.
- You can’t go wrong with using onion powder to season meat! Onion powder is a very important seasoning for ground meat for burgers, skillet suppers, meatloaf, and more. Use one teaspoon powder per pound of beef. You can also experiment and try out different proportions to see what you like best.
- Dry rubs call for onion powder. Dry rub your pork rib with onion powder first and then add garlic powder, thyme leaves, red pepper, cumin, and parsley leaves. Grill the rib after letting it sit for about an hour.
- Roasted or steamed vegetables are a challenge to feed to children. In fact, a lot of adults don’t enjoy vegetables either. Add a bit of onion powder to make your veggies tasty and smell scrumptious as well.
- Any potato dish with onion powder is ten times tastier! Whisk the needed amount of powder into the sour cream before adding it to the baked potato or simply sprinkle over the dish before serving.
Why Does Onion Powder Harden?
The main reason that your onion powder may have hardened is the absorption of moisture. As mentioned earlier, onion powders are dehydrated and almost 96 percent of the water is removed. So when moisture or water is absorbed by the powder, it will harden.
A lot of time while adding our seasons to a dish, we tend to shake the container over the steaming pot. This causes water vapor from the pot to enter the container and make the powder clumpy.
Another reason for the hardening of onion powder could be just the humidity of the place you live in. If you live in a zone with high humidity, keeping your spices outside at room conditions makes it more likely that they will harden.
Some brands of onion powder can harden faster than others. Due to other added ingredients and different expiration dates, some brands can clump faster and more often.
How to Solve the Problem?
So now that you have a container full of hard onion powder, you must be wondering if loosening or softening the product is possible. Luckily, it is! We have gathered three ways in which you can do this. Use whichever option is most convenient.
Use a Blender or Food Processor
If all of the powder is chunky, break it up with your fingers into small enough pieces that will fit inside your blender or food processor and pulse it until it turns back into powder. If it is less lumpy, then use a funnel to prevent it from flying around the room.
Strain the Powder
For this purpose, you can use a microblade or just a strainer to break up the lumps in your powder. First, you need to break up large solid clumps using a spoon so that the straining process is easier. Then gently rub a spoon over the lump against the strainer mesh. Store the powder in a dry container.
Use a Fork
This is perhaps the simplest method for a quick fix. Spread the hardened lumps over a sheet and use a fork to press over them gently so that they break up into a powder. This is more suitable in cases where the entire product has not become rock-solid.
Prevent the Problem
Prevention is always better than looking for a cure. If you can prevent your onion powder from hardening, it will be more economical and also save you from all the hassle of trying to re-powder it. Here are some tips on how to stop getting these nasty clumps in your favorite spice powder.
Add a Moisture Absorber
As we have seen, powder hardens because it absorbs moisture from its surroundings. The best way to prevent this is to add something that will absorb the moisture so that your powder doesn’t have to. Dried rice, beans, and even unpopped popcorn are excellent moisture absorbers. Also being much larger in size than powders, they can easily be separated.
Don’t wait for your powder to form chunks. Sift it from time to time, maybe monthly, to keep it from hardening. This will not only prevent lumps from forming but will also break up any small lumps if present.
Avoid Holding Powder Over Hot Food
Steam from hot food can enter your powder and cause it to harden. So take the required amount of powder in a spoon or your hand and then sprinkle it over your dish instead of holding the entire container over the hot dish.
Store the powder in an airtight container so that moisture from the air can’t enter. If you live in a humid area, storing your powdered spices in the refrigerator might be a good option.
Now that you know why your onion powder is hard and how easy it is to fix this problem, don’t hesitate to make your favorite dish. Bon Appetit!