Funyuns, a crispy onion-flavored snack, have been around since 1969. A Frito-Lay Manufacturing product, the recipe to Funyuns has virtually remained unchanged for the past 40 years. The main ingredient of the Funyun is not onions or potatoes. Funyun batter starts with a cornmeal base which is pumped into hoppers and mixed with water to make the batter.
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The cornmeal-based batter is then transferred to a high speed extruder to shape and aerate the batter into rings. High temperature and high pressure shape the batter in a die into a cylindrical shape and then cuts the pipe-shaped formation into rings. The high temperature of the spinning extruder flashes the moisture from the batter to the rings as they spin around at high speed. The ring expands, much like a kernel of popcorn popping, aerating the ring, and giving it the airy bubbles that are so famous in Funyuns. Then rings are moved down the line on a conveyor belt awaiting a bath into a vat of corn oil set at 300 degrees F for 60 seconds. The rings are extracted from the oil and move down the line again for the coating of their infamous seasoning.
The seasoning of the Funyun is where the rings get their onion flavor. A mixture of garlic power, onion powder and salt are sprinkled onto the rings after the oil bath and before packaging.
The seasoned Funyun rings then move down another conveyor belt and are pushed onto a large round portioning device. The device has chambers that separate the rings into different sections and drop them into small individual bins which them open small trapdoors and drop the portions into the awaiting bags. The bags are then sealed and organized by weight, coded for date and await shipping.