How do dehydrated onions make the journey from farm to plate, while retaining their distinctive robust flavor, attractive color and important nutritional elements? It all starts with the right produce and a painstaking scientific process that effectively diminishes any harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi in the dehydration process. The process starts with selecting and harvesting a ripe healthy onion crop, then following a stringent quality process. This is to verify that every onion is ripe, safe, and free of harmful chemical dusting or pesticides. Each delivery of onions then enters a step-by-step process:
The onions are brushed and washed thoroughly with clean water, not once, but twice, to clear them of any debris or dirt.
02 Secondary sorting
Eve the most rigorous inspection can miss small particles, so the onions then go through a metal detector to filter out any harmful metallic debris. Leaving nothing to chance, this essential process is repeated four times; after every step of the production process.
03 Cutting and dehydration
This is where advanced technology comes into play. Using state-of-the-art automated Urschel cutting machines, the onions are sliced and chopped to the exact specification required, and fed into a German-made Hans Binder machine which dehydrates the batch at the required temperature. When ready, a five-belt conveyor then transports the onions through temperature-controlled chambers and airflow chambers to eliminate the optimum amount of moisture.
04 Tertiary sorting
As part of UD Crops Total Quality Management processes, technology is applied again bypassing the dehydrated onions through two large X-ray machines that sort the product automatically according to size. To maintain consistency in aroma and flavor, a camera built into the machine categorizes the product according to its color. This step forms part of the main Laboratory analysis, where a sample from each product category goes through the on-site laboratory to ensure that the sample is safe and consistent with international standards.
To keep the dehydrated onions in optimum condition, upon passing through the conveyor, the dehydrated onion products are transferred to an area where a specialized dried onion chiller preserves the correct level of humidity to keep the dehydrated onion fresh.