Making your own powdered foods saves money. Beyond that, it reduces waste, preserves seasonally available foods for times when they are scarce, and gives you complete control over ingredients (so you know there’s nothing that might be in there that isn’t on the label). In addition, you get delicious foods and a sense of accomplishment that’s good for your mental health.
It’s easy, and in most cases doesn’t take much hands-on time. Basically, you just slice, dry, and grind. By “grind,” I mean you can use a blender, or a food processor, or a coffee grinder, or a spice grinder to powder-ize the dried stuff.
I made powdered ginger this week. I just sliced fresh ginger root into thin strips, dehydrated it, and then ground it up with my blender. I also made powered limes this week, the same way. I sliced up the whole limes, dried them, and ground them up. They make a fantastic seasoning, and cost very little to make.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry things on low settings in a regular oven. You can even air dry some foods.
GARLIC — Even if you love fresh garlic, it’s often useful to have garlic powder on hand. Here’s how to make it: “How I Make Garlic Powder,” by Shirley, at ChoosingVoluntarySimplicity.com
ONION — Erin Huffstetler, at FrugalLiving.About.com, writes: “Tired of forking over big bucks for a little jar of onion powder? Here’s how to make it yourself and save”
LEMON PEEL – You can call it Roasted Lemon Zest Powder, or Lemon Extract Powder. You can pay a lot of money for this stuff from fancy spice houses, or make it yourself for free from what you would otherwise have thrown in the trash.
HORSERADISH – Grate horseradish root, then dry it and grind it into powder. That way you can keep it a long time without a refrigerator.
MIREPOIX — Mirepoix, as explained in Wikipedia, “…is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces.” Onion, carrot, and celery (or your own variation of this “holy trinity” of cooking) can be dehydrated and turned into powder, to be ready on the shelf to be used on the spur of the moment as a natural, healthful, flavor-enhancer for all kinds of great foods.
BEETS — A natural food coloring for a lovely red color, or used for its concentrated beet flavor in soups and stews, sprinkled on fish. Try adding it as a topping on cheeses, salad dressings, put it in bread or noodles! Mmmm… red beet noodles!
PUMPKINS – Yep, pumpkins. You can roast it, then dry it and grind it. Pumpkin powder is an actual thing. Then it’s ready any time, without refrigeration, to use in breads, stews, pumpkin goodies of any kind. In fact, I have three big pumpkins transmogrified into one quart of powder in a container on my spice shelf right now. Those big pumpkins are about $3 each for a few weeks in the fall. This way I can have pumpkin all year.
Oh, the power of the powders… I had no idea! I guess there’s really no end to the possibilities. Carrot powder. Banana powder, sweet potato powder, mushroom powder …