Preserving the Harvest: Super Green Veggie Powder

Super green veggie powder is my secret weapon for powering through the mountain of greens that pile into our kitchen from our farmers market, CSA and garden.  They arrive in huge bunches: kale and collards, Swiss chard and arugula.  I also trim the greens from bunches of beets, turnips and radishes – and it’s nearly insurmountable.

So while I pack the greens into scrambled eggs and salads, casseroles, soups and side dishes – there’s still too much for our little family of three to work through.  While the bulk of our kitchen trimmings and other food waste goes to feed the pigs of our local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader, I can’t help but feel a smidgeon of guilt when my family can’t get through the plenty of each abundant summer week.

So we preserve them – and a lot of other foods, too.  This simple vegetable powder, made of beet and turnip trimmings, kale and old leeks is one of my favorite ways to manage the harvest.

Kale, Collards, Leeks, Trimmings and Herbs

For my veggie powder, I tend to use anything so abundant we can’t eat it all fresh: greens, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs.  Any vegetable will do, and a variety is nice.  You don’t need to trim them or take any great care in preparation beyond seeding the peppers.  Simply dry them, blend them up and store them.  Recently, when my son and I over-dried our peach fruit leathers, we blended that into a fine powder to be used as a seasoning for sweets.

Preserving Greens (and other things)

Each season we put up enough food from our garden, CSA and farmers market to last until mid-April (with a few splurges now and then on out-of-town produce) and a few pick ups of what few local greens, squash and winter vegetables are still lurking in the local farmers’ fields and storehouses.

I favor preserving foods through traditional methods – those methods outlined in Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning which focus on low-cost, energy-wise methods of food preservation like root cellaring, drying, preserving in fat, preserving in alcohol and fermentation. (Though, in fairness, I still do a bit of canning and freezing – mostly fruit and tomato sauce).

But root cellaring, drying and dehydrating preserve nutrients better than canning, and fermentation actually enhances them.  (And if you dig food preservation talk, make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter  – I’ll be sending out tips every week including my awesome no-sugar-added spiced peach butter until the garden stops producing).

Finding the Right Dehydrator

When we first began preserving foods, we started with a secondhand circular dehydrator we found at a garage sale for 75 cents.  It did the job, but ran hot (in a spotty sort of way) and had limited capacity.  We saved and purchased a big 9-tray dehydrator with more precise temperature controls (you can buy them online) and haven’t looked back since.

So you can work your way through preservation season with an old hand-me-down dehydrator like I did, or try to figure out how to dry (and not cook) your veggies while finagling with the lowest setting on your oven (which is never low enough), or you can save up and invest in the right equipment.

How to Use the Super Green Veggie Powder

To use your veggie powder, simply scoop a tablespoon into your scrambled eggs.  Toss potatoes or beats with a bit of good quality fat and a spoonful or two of the powder and roast them.  Whisk it into soups and stews, along with some homemade bouillon.  And green smoothie zealots, might enjoy a bit blended up with their kefir, greens and coconut oil.

Preserving the Harvest: Super Green Veggie Powder

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 18 hours

Total Time: 18 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 1/2 gallon

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon

Preserving the Harvest: Super Green Veggie Powder

A super easy way to preserve the glut of summer greens and vegetables, super green veggie powder is also loaded with vitamins. This recipe requires a dehydrator (Click here for sources.)

Ingredients

  • 16 bunches greens (kale, Swiss chard, arugula, turnip, beet, collards, etc)
  • 3 medium leeks (sliced thin)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (peeled and sliced thin)
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 medium bell peppers (seeded and sliced thin)
  • 1 bunch celery leaves

Instructions

  1. Place vegetables in a single layer on your dehydrator's trays (Find a dehydrator here). Dry at 125 F for 12 to 18 hours or until vegetables become crisp.
  2. Working in batches, transfer dried vegetables to your food processor (this is the food processor I use), and pulse until they break down into a fine powder. Spoon into a mason jar, close tightly and store at room temperature for up to 6 months without losing potency.
http://nourishedkitchen.com/green-veggie-powder/