Sunday, September 1, 2013

Use it Up: Veggie Powder

Many things are tossed into the garbage can when they still have lots of good life left in them. Use It Up is a section on how to use this "trash" to make new, useful items for your home or to re-purpose items to avoid a purchase.

My garden is producing massive quantities of veggies right now, and I'm adding them to every meal and also preserving as much as possible. With this harvest, I'm faced with another problem: waste. I harvest several radishes for a nice little snack, and I'm left with a gallon-sized container of radish greens. When cutting up celery for stir-fry, I'm left with lots of celery leaves. If you can tomatoes, you'll have loads of tomato skins. Whatever edible veggie-parts you're left with, it seems a shame to throw them away (or into the compost bin) when you worked so hard to grow them (or spent so much to buy them). A great way to use them up is to make veggie powder.

Veggie powder is a mix of dehydrated veggies, pulverized into a powder, used to add flavor to dishes. You can add it to eggs, casseroles, breads or soups. You can us it in place of seasoning packets when making rice, or sprinkle a pinch on top of a baked potato. You can add them to salads or to salad dressing. This winter, I plan to dump large quantities into the soups and chilis I make every couple of days to add more flavor and nutrition in a time when I'm craving produce.

Here are some ideas of veggies to add to your powder: tomatoes or skins, carrot leaves or peelings, beet leaves and stems, radishes that are too spicy to eat or the leaves or stems, celery leaves, pea or bean pods left from shelling, any green leafy veggie that you have too much of, any herbs in surplus, pepper skins, broccoli/cauliflower stems, and any other veggies that you just have way too much of (or find a fantastic clearance rack bargain on).

Dehydrate leaves separately from more dense items that will take longer to dehydrate. Leaves only take a few hours in my dehydrator, while many veggies take 8 hours or longer. Cut denser veggies into small pieces or shred them to expose as much surface area as possible to the warm, dry air. This will also make it easier to pulverize.

Once you have your leaves and veggies dehydrated, toss them into a food processor or blender and pulse until you've got a nice, fine powder. Pour the mixture into a flour sifter to sift out large pieces. Reprocess the large pieces. Mix the powders well and you're done! You now have veggie powder to add to all sorts of savory dishes and reduced the amount of green matter you tossed into the garbage bin!

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1 comment:

  1. I don't do this, (i don't yet have a dehydrator) but I do save all these bits in the freezer until I have a big gallon bag or 2 and I make and can veggie stock. I find this is also a great way to add flavor and veggie goodness to my soups, rice, couscous, etc.

    With my skins and stems from canning tomatoes, I cook them down and get tomato sauce (which I also can).


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