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

51

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/

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What people are saying

  1. Dan says

    So, this combo was put together for a better taste? Or was this just the stuff you had on hand? Thanks for the great ideas. Dan

    • says

      You can use anything (and I often do), but this is a blend I really like as the flavor of the leeks, parsley and bell pepper bring out the flavor of the greens just a bit.

      • Jennine says

        Do you wash all the greens and veggies before you dehydrate them or just wipe off visible dirt?
        Would I still be able to get a superior finished product using my oven ?(I don’t have a dehydrator at this time and my veggies are coming in fast and furious). Any suggestions and tips for oven dehydrating success? Thank you.

          • C Hunter says

            Set your oven to 125 F (50 C). Put your trays in overnight, with the handle of a wooden spoon holding the oven door slightly ajar. This also works really well for making rusks and other hard coffee/tea dunkers.

    • says

      don’t forget you can eat [and dry] all those veggie leaves after you pick the Brussels sprouts/cauliflowers, and broccolis all of them can be eaten, even carrot tops and radish tops [not my favorites]. There is an embarrassment of riches- then, nothing, why not dry them too?

  2. Beth says

    This is brilliant. (and I also wonder why it never occurred to me, since I dry & store fresh herbs & tomatoes each summer).

    It is my understanding that some uncooked fresh greens can have goitrogenic properties; do you know if the dehydration at the low temp mitigates this? (although I suspect they would be eventually cooked in soups, eggs, etc…and I as a hypothyroid sufferer would just avoid any uncooked preparation like smoothies)

    • Catherine Meade says

      I had the same thought… I can’t do raw cruciferous either.
      Do you add kelp or spirulina to your daily diet? The high iodine content helps to normalize thyroid function – it’s even more absorable if it’s fremented.
      Blessings,
      Cathy

    • says

      I think you can simply avoid the goitrogenic veggies – stick to things like arugula and herbs instead. Of course, they end up getting cooked any way, and crucifers are loaded with indole-3 carbinols which are great for women’s health.

        • Tama says

          My ND recently clued me in that all vegetables are potentially goitrogenic (is that a word?!) and to wilt or lightly steam all before eating for my thyroid imbalance. I wonder if greens can be steamed before drying or would that just be a gross mess? I don’t have a dehydrator to try it out, but would get one if it works!

          • Harold says

            A way I’ve used to preserve greens is to lightly steam them and puree them with a bit of water, freeze in trays and store in bags in the freezer. They can then be added to soups, stews, smoothies, etc.

  3. says

    So I was just considering doing this with my abundance of kale as a mix-in for smoothies, but I was concerned I’d be losing a lot of nutritional value. It sounds like the low temp of a dehydrator preserves them? Is this better than freezing? Thanks!!!

    • says

      I think freezing may preserve them better, but I’ll have to check. That said, if your kitchen is like mine, you only have so much room – and this is a very compact way to store them.

  4. Jen says

    Dehydrations works great I’m drying the beans mostly right now. Zucchini the ever prolific squash should also do well. I didn’t grow so many greens this year but I’m thinking alfafa which I’m growing for livestock may do well for that sort of thing as a healthy additive to soups. We also do seaweed. A little goes a long way but it adds saltiness to the food and lots of nutrition. I’m just using an el cheapo dehydrater. It works fine I think it was about $40 at Home Hardware. I’ve done oven drying but in this muggy weather it heats the house too much.

    • Marilyn says

      Zucchini dehydrates very well… in fact, I use thinly sliced (lengthwise) zucchini instead of potato chips. I have also made crackers with zucchini, although that’s a bit more technical. I’ve been making my own onion and garlic powders for years. COmmercial onion powder is only white onion, but by making my own, I can have white, green, yellow, red, and seet onion powders, since a root cellar isn’t possible in Louisiana.

  5. says

    Really awesome!!!! I was just talking to someone at the CSA about freezing greens and spirulina both. I will have to try this. I don’t have a dehyrdator but I bet the oven will do ok. (As long as everything dries before the automatic shut off kicks in.)

  6. Karen Schadel says

    Could you give me an idea of which dehydrator you like/have? Thanks…I would love to do this. Years ago we had a small dehydrator, but it was broken and life got away from us. Now we are trying to do more of the wholesome things we used to do.

      • Karen says

        I have the same one. Mine is the one that doesn’t have the timer though. I have only used mine to prep food for backpacking trips. We have food allergies and pretty much all backpacking food is highly processed and contains wheat. Hence, epic dehydrating sessions:) I was super happy to see this post though, I am definitely going to try the green powder. I am in the process of trying to make pemmican. I rendered a big batch of grass fed tallow last week and the plain jerky just came out this morning. I’m super tired of all the sweet and or bread-y bars out there and am hoping we can come up with something tasty. Anyway, thank again! I am super psyched to try this out. Oh, and if you are interested – in the first 30 seconds of this slide show my kids made for a homeschool project about our trip last summer – there are a couple of really good photos of the food we dehydrated. Thanks again! :) http://youtu.be/vvTt2nKx0zs

        • K says

          Hey not sure if you’ll see this or not, but there are some great bars out there right now called EPIC, made from humanely raised and processed meat sources!!! My fave is the bison, and the turkey is second. They also have Thunderbird Energetica bars (fruit/seed/nut) and Gather bars by the same company.. a little pricey but delicious if you need a quick little bite!

  7. Kathy says

    I just dehydrated summer squash and seasoned with salt and chili pepper to eat as a spicy chip instead of corn or potatoe chips. Had company over the weekend and they really liked them, too:)

  8. Shirley Jacobson says

    Can you really get all that on your tray dehydrator? I have a 9 tray Excalibur and I couldn’t even get 16 bunches of greens layed out singly. I imagine at 18 hours it would take weeks to complete. Could they be dried by hanging, like you do herbs?
    I love the idea.

    • Naomi says

      I wanted to dry A LOT of my fig leaves for fig leaf tea but the leaves were so large it would have taken forever to dry them laid out individually. I stacked a very large stack of them and placed in a gallon sized or so plastic container and placed the entire thing on the bottom of my excalibur and let ‘er rip. They dried fantastically! I seem to recall that I did go in and turn them upside down midway through the drying process to help them along at the bottom end. They crisped up very nicely, then I put them in my food processor to grind to a powder. This should work with any leafy greens that take up large space.

      • Naomi says

        I meant to tell you that I recently dried some raw thinly sliced butternut squash with just a small amount of olive oil and some sea salt, and they have been my favorite chip! I just love all the things I can do with dehydrated veggies!

  9. Peggy says

    Oh my, this is sheer brilliance!! I had a cheapie round dehydrator I bought for $20 a decade ago that died last week. My mom bought me a 5-tray Excalibur because she knows how I love dehydrating food. It’s been in non-stop use since UPS delivered it. This powder idea is particularly genius because a powder would take up so much less space than any other storage method, and is as versatile as dried herbs. A little in the soup, a little on the salad…I can see where this would get used very often! Thank you so much for this dynamite idea!

  10. says

    I’ll have to try this, as I have an Excalibur. What I usually do is take kale, rinse it and take the leaves off the stems. I process it in my food processor until it’s in flakes. I let it dry for a few hours sitting out on a cookie sheet so it doesn’t clump together, then I freeze it in pint size jars. These flakes are great in scrambled eggs, quesidillas, soups, stews, sandwiches, smoothies, etc. We grow a lot of kale, and use it all winter long like this.

  11. says

    I have the book “food drying with an attitude” She suggests drying anything that you have extra before it goes bad (asparagus ends that are a bit woody are a good example). Grind up into a powder and add to soups etc. Somehow though, greens didn’t occur to me. This is an excellent idea. No more buying expensive green powders for me. :-)
    Thanks for the idea!

  12. Dawn McKinney says

    So strange yoou posted this… I was just wondering if it was possible to do something like this… lol! I guess it is!! Thanks for confirming!

  13. Mary says

    Jenny, I love all of the recipe ideas that you provide. I normally print them out so that I can keep them handy with my other recipes however, your website no longer allows copying or even saving the page. I am not crazy about writing these all out. Is this permanent?

    • jenny says

      Yes, due to content theft, I am planning on permanently removing copying; however, you can always print by using the “print” button just beneath the title of any page, post or recipe. Moreover, the print function allows you to keep or discard the different components of the page as you see fit.

  14. says

    We have had several Italian WWOOFers through the years on my farm in Norway, two of which shared with me their mothers’ recipes for herb-salt, which is much the same as your dried vegetable powder, except with the addition of sea-salt (I have used a combination of finely chopped herbs, garlic, onions, kale, Swiss chard, etc.)…. Since I have been living without electricity for many a moon, I simply spread my chopped vegetable-herb-sea salt mixtures thinly on old screened windows, hung above the heat of my wood-burning cook-stove…. The salt helps extract moisture, and the damp mass dries extraordinarily quickly…. I store my herb/ vegetable-salt mixture in glass jars, to be ground up and added to whatever as needed….

    • Julia says

      Jenny h. you sound fantastic, what amazing knowledge you must have.
      Jenny thanks so much for your site bringing all these people together.

    • Deborah says

      I hardly use my dehydrator. I bought it to use on sunny days as we are on stand alone solar but when its sunny I put everything out in the sun anyway, or shade for herbs. I use a cane basket and line it with paper towel. Most things only take a day if its really sunny, and its good if its windy too. I have also used the basket method with glass on top (I use an old window). Did that for the mangoe slices and they were done in a day in summer. Nuts and seeds take a day in summer or a few sunny winter days. I shall try the greens and let you know how it goes without a dehydrator.

  15. Deborah says

    What a great idea! I currently dry zukinni, mango, tomatoes, citrus skins and even herbs, but never thought of green vegies! thanks for the tip Jenny.

  16. says

    This sounds great. I have a dehydrator that I use for nuts, seeds and fruit but never thought of making a powder. Excited!

    My understanding is if you go above 118 degrees then you destroy all the goodness which is what we are trying to preserve. I will try your recipe but work with 118 degrees, I know it will take longer but that’s ok.

    • says

      I don’t buy into the raw foods argument that anything heated to 118 or above suddenly becomes nutritionally worthless. Veggies dehydrated at lower than 125 can actually impair flavor or introduce unwanted flavors, but this recipe is totally adjustable, so dry it at a temp that you prefer and see if it works!

  17. says

    Nice write up! I hadn’t considered dehydrating vegetables to purposely grind into a powder. Such a simple way to really get the most out of your foods and not let anything go to waste. Plus the abundance of nutrient-dense food – on hand – year round is such a blessing!

  18. Gorb says

    Ah lovely! I dehydrate greens too in my xcalibur – haven’t tried adding onion & such, I will definitely try that. Great comments too – on screens over a wood stove?! Brilliant. I love knowing that works :)
    PS. Beets, not beats ;) in the ‘how to use super veggie powder’ paragraph

  19. says

    I’ve been dehydrating my greens for 3 or 4 years now, and boy is it addicting! You get so that you don’t want ANYthing to go to waste so you dehydrate it all–even carrot greens. They’re edible, did you know? Clover, too, and nasturtium leaves… I used to carefully lay out my green leaves on the Excalibur dehydrator trays like working on a jig saw puzzle and it took forever, but this year I got smart and decided to simply chop or shred them (that’s the way you want them in the end anyway unless you intend to powder them, which I do also) and measure out four cups of that per tray. Then I dump the tray of dry chopped leaves into a jar, vacuum seal, and label it. This way, I’ve got four cups’ worth of greens ready for a green soup recipe or side dish. Much easier and faster, and I know exactly how many greens I have. Now I also have the means to figure out (must get on that soon) how much powder to use if I want (say) the equivalent of 1 cup of greens in a smoothie or whatever.

    • Carolyn says

      I read recently that carrot tops were not a healthy option at all, because they have alkaloids . Has anyone else read that? Something to do with alkaloids?

      • SuperChef says

        Don’t know about the alkaloids, but carrot tops just don’t taste very good. Like munching on lawn grass and they’re quite tough. If anyone has had success in making them palatable please do share!

  20. says

    What a great idea. I’m so happy to find a way to not have to compost the veggies I can’t get eaten from my CSA. How thick do you cut the zucchini for chips? Do you add seasonings before or after putting in the dehydrator? Love making my own kale chips too.

  21. Chelo Gable says

    Hello! I have a question about enrolling in your cooking course, but I think my emails to you are getting lost in your inbox. How can I contact you?

  22. says

    Just found your blog site from a link in one of the groups I belong to – WOW LOVE IT!

    Thanks for the article on drying the greens – I’m trying hanging container gardening for the 1st time this year & as we harvested our 1st ever radishes I really hated to toss out those pretty bright green tops & was wondering if they were edible like I’ve seen frozen chopped turnip greens right next to the collards in the store.

    Boy now that I’ve found your blog site I’ve got a whole lot of reading to do (0;}

  23. says

    I just dry them all individually, then mix and match when cooking. While no one in my household would sit down to a bowl of greens except me, no one minds me putting “parsley” in our soups, omelets, etc.

  24. Kac Gilmore says

    when you dry food does it stop the ripening process so nutrients are retained like blanching does when you freeze food?

  25. says

    You can dry can or use a foodsaver/rival vacuum sealer on your canning jars to make your stock last even longer! It simply removes the air from the jars, making them store even longer if needed.

  26. Darcy says

    I tried to comment on dehydrating summer squash but I’m not sure it went through. I apologize if this is a duplicate comment. Can you tell me for how long the squash would stay in the dehydrator? The instructions that came with mine only indicate 24-36 hours for vegetables. Seems like a long time for squash but then, I’ve never tried it before. Any suggestions? Also, at what point is the squash seasoned?

  27. Jeannie says

    I dried greens and leeks the other day and added to cream cheese to make a spread for crackers. My teenage boys loved it. The mustard greens were too strong to eat raw but amazingly they were extremely mild when dried.

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  31. Kat says

    You can also dry greens and herbs in a brown paper bag. They won’t mold and dry nicely. I’ve never tried kale but I might this year. I do know lambsquarter and amaranth [edible weeds] and stinging nettles dry well this way too. I leave the whole and dry them on the stems. They have much more flavor this way and last for a very long time. I’ve never tried Kale or Chard but there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t dry in the same way.

  32. Becky says

    WOW !!!!! a friend just sent me your site. So many great ideas!!! I like to play w/ food and enjoy experimenting.
    Have passed your site onto a few friends, one w/ a diagnosis of cancer this past week.
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  34. Erin Wichman says

    Hi there….
    I have a few items for my garden but I have so much lettuce that its over grown and over harvest. Can I use this recipes for the dehydrators?
    Thanks
    Erin

  35. says

    Hi I have just started taking cider vinegar three times a day do
    U know if I can take wheatgrass powder say an hour before I take the cider vinegar ? It would be great if I could
    Many thanks

  36. Sarah says

    I’m in the process of making a smaller batch of this recipe and I noticed that the parsley is definitely brittle at the 4 hour mark. Do you take things out as they are finished? Is there such a thing as over dried if it’s going to be pulverized anyway? I’m a newbie at dehydrating and any wisdom you have would be wonderful!

  37. Bob R says

    Question from newbie to experts: How much powder do you get from, say, a cup of raw veggies? I take commercial veg and fruit powders and have always been suspicious of the claims of how many servings those little scoops supposedly contain.

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