How to Dehydrate & Freeze-Dry Green Onions for Backpacking Meals

By Inga Aksamit & Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD • Updated June 11, 2022

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Drying Instructions | Storage | Veggie Pho Recipe

Fresh vegetables, like green onions, can be dehydrated or freeze-dried and used in a wide variety of backpacking recipes. Drying green onions, also known as scallions, is a great way to use excess produce that you can’t consume fast enough that would otherwise go to waste. Dehydrating your own green onions is also an economical way to increase nutrition, variety, and flavor in your backpacking diet.

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What types of green onions can you dehydrate or freeze-dry?

Most vegetables can be dehydrated. In this article, we are talking specifically about green onions, a non-starchy vegetable. The process is similar when drying other leafy vegetables.

Use caution when dehydrating strong-smelling foods such as scallions. Do not mix different foods together with different odors. Ensure the house is well ventilated or dehydrate outside or in a garage when drying foods with strong odors.

Should green onions be cooked before drying?

Most fresh vegetables should be blanched in boiling water before dehydrating to improve quality though some prefer to dehydrate raw produce. Once vegetables are picked, enzymes are released that lead naturally to deterioration in flavor and texture, even when dried. Blanching slows or stops the enzyme activity, relaxes the cell tissues, so food dries faster, protects the vitamin content, reduces the time needed to rehydrate, and destroys potentially harmful bacteria. Taken all together, blanching is a worthwhile effort.

Blanching is recommended for tomato halves, summer squash, zucchini, greens, cabbage, cut corn, green beans, celery, fresh peas, and diced carrots.

Blanching is not required for sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, onions, scallions, parsley, okra, and peppers.

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How do you dehydrate or freeze-dry green onions?

Step One: Prepare the scallions for drying.

  • Slice the onions into small but uniform pieces.
Fresh (3/4 cup)

Step Two: Prepare the trays.

  • Spread the cut green onions onto dehydrator trays using mesh tray liners or parchment paper.
  • Tray liners are not necessary if using freeze-dryer trays.
Dehydrator Tray
Freeze-Dryer Tray

Step Three: Begin the drying process.

  • Dehydrate at 125℉ (51℃).
  • If freeze-drying, start the freeze-dryer and allow it to run its cycle.
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Step 4: The green onions are done when completely dry.

  • The dehydration process will take approximately 4-8 hours or longer, depending on the humidity.
  • The freeze-drying process will take approximately 12-15 hours.
Left to Right: Dehydrated vs Freeze-Dried Green Onions

Step Five: Prepare the dried green onions for long-term storage

  • For dehydrated green onions, allow the onions to cool for 30-60 minutes. Then package it in an air-tight container.
  • For freeze-dried green onions, package the onions immediately in an air-tight container.
  • Once dried, the scallions will reabsorb moisture from the air, so do not leave the green onions out for more than an hour.
  • To lengthen the shelf-life of the green onions, consider vacuum sealing them in vacuum seal bags, mylar bags, or mason jars.
  • You can purchase a mason jar vacuum sealer accessory online.
  • Also, consider adding an oxygen absorber. Oxygen absorbers will remove any extra oxygen from your container.

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    What is the yield?

    • The yield can vary quite a bit based on the size of the bunch of green onions.
    • A bunch of green onions provides roughly 1/4 cup dehydrated and 2/3 cup freeze-dried.
    Dehydrated (1/4 cup)
    Freeze-Dried (2/3 cup)

    How do you rehydrate dried green onions?

    • Add hot water and cover for 5-10 minutes.
    • Cold water may be used but rehydration will take longer.

    How long will dehydrated or freeze-dried green onions last?

    • Dehydrated green onions can be stored for six months in an airtight container kept in a cool, dry, dark area.
    • You can store freeze-dried green onions for 10-15 years when vacuum sealed with an oxygen absorber.

    How do I use dehydrated or freeze-dried green onions in backpacking meals?

    Dried green onions or scallions can be used in a wide variety of backpacking meals to boost flavor without adding additional weight. One teaspoon of dehydrated green onions only weighs 0.3 grams. Add them to breakfast scrambles, soups, tuna salad, mashed potatoes, and more! Our Veggie Pho Noodle Soup backpacking recipe below is one of our favorite ways to use dehydrated green onions.

    Here are a few of our favorite recipes using dried green onions.

    Give this Backcountry Foodie green onion recipe a try!

    Veggie Pho Noodle Soup

    Backcountry Foodie Recipe
    This recipe is a staple in my backpack and at home on weeknights. It's that good!
    Rate This Recipe
    5 from 2 votes
    View Comments / Leave A Review

    NUTRITION (per serving)

    cal/oz 98
    cal/gram 3.6
    Calories 364 kcal
    PROTEIN 12 g
    CARBS 76 g
    Fiber 10 g
    Added Sugar 6 g
    Fat 2 g
    Sodium 1940 mg
    Home Prep Time 9 hrs
    Field Prep Time 5 mins
    WT/SERVING 3.7 oz (102 g)
    MEAL PREPCook
    Diet TYPESDairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan
    Servings2 servings

    INGREDIENTS
     
     

    VEGETABLES

    • 4 cups broccoli, fresh florets, roughly 1 head of broccoli
    • 2 cups cabbage, fresh shredded, coleslaw mix works just fine
    • 1 ½ cups mushrooms, fresh white, sliced, approximately 8 oz container
    • 1 small onion, fresh yellow, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup carrots, fresh shredded, pre-shredded carrots in a bag work just fine
    • 1 bunch green onions, fresh, chopped, tops only

    NOODLES

    BROTH

    OPTIONAL

    INSTRUCTIONS

    HOME

    • Bring a stockpot of water to a boil.
    • Add the broccoli, cabbage, and carrots to the stockpot.
    • Blanch the vegetable mix for 3-4 minutes after returning to a boil.
    • Drain the vegetable mixture and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
    • Spread the mixture onto two dehydrator trays.
    • Spread the sliced yellow onion, green onions, and mushrooms onto separate dehydrator trays.
    • Dehydrate vegetables at 125℉ (52℃) for 4-8 hours or until completely dry. The time required to dry the vegetables will vary based on the humidity in your home.
    • Divide the dried vegetables into two servings and store them in two bags or containers to be used in the backcountry.
    • Divide the noodles into two servings. Add one serving of noodles to each serving of vegetables.
    • Divide the dry broth ingredients into two servings. Add one serving of broth to each serving of vegetables.
    • Pack the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sriracha (optional) separately.

    FIELD

    • Bring 16 oz (480 mL) of water to a boil.
    • Remove the pot from the stove and add the soup mixture, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sriracha (optional) to the pot.
    • Stir to mix well and cover the pot with a lid.
    • Let the soup stand for 5 minutes to allow the vegetables and noodles to rehydrate.
    • Stir occasionally to make sure the noodles are completely covered with hot water.
    • Once fully rehydrated, stir to mix well, and enjoy!

    NOTES

    MEAL PREP TIPS

    • Dehydrated or freeze-dried tofu is a great way to add protein and calories to this meal.
    • Instructions for dehydrating tofu:
      • Freeze the tofu overnight in the container that was purchased.
      • Allow the tofu to thaw completely in the refrigerator.
      • Cut the tofu into 1/2″ cubes and place on dehydrator trays.
      • Dehydrate at 135℉ (57℃) for 4-8 hours or until completely dry. The tofu should break in half easily, rather than bending.
      • Dehydrated tofu can be stored for 1-2 weeks in an airtight container kept in a cool, dark, dry place, 6 months in the refrigerator, or 12 months in the freezer. The short shelf-life is due to the fat content of the tofu.

     

    NUTRITION

    • Be aware that this recipe prepares two large, low-calorie servings of soup.
    • Total sugar (per serving): 13 g, including 6 g of added sugar from the hoisin sauce
    • To reduce sodium by 1638 mg, use sodium-free bouillon and low-sodium soy sauce.

    MY NOTES

    Did you make this recipe? We’d love to see it!Share photos from your kitchen or the backcountry below.
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    ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

    Inga Aksamit is a Northern California-based author and backpacker who writes about exploration, adventure, and eating well on the trail. She focuses on creating delicious gourmet meals with healthy, wholesome ingredients and no-fuss preparation in the backcountry. She has written several books, including “The Hungry Spork: A Long Distance Hiker’s Guide to Meal Planning” and “The Hungry Spork Trail Recipes.”

    Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD, is a registered dietitian and ultralight long-distance backpacker with over 20 years of nutrition and backpacking experience. She’s also the founder and owner of Backcountry Foodie, an online ultralight recipes and meal planning platform for backpackers. She also enjoys teaching hikers about backpacking nutrition via virtual masterclasses, YouTube videos, and podcast episodes. You can follow Aaron’s adventures in the kitchen and the backcountry via Instagram and Facebook.

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