If there are vegetable residues such as leaves, stems or remains of mushrooms and onions when cooking, there are many ways to use them sensibly. A particularly versatile method is to process the vegetables into tasty, nutrient-rich vegetable powder, which gives dishes more flavor and serves as a natural food coloring.
For this, the remains are best dried, pulverized and stored individually. If there is vegetable powder of different varieties, such as Carrot powder (e.g. from carrot peels), beetroot powder, onion powder, mushroom powder, garlic powder or celery powder, you have both different seasoning powders and a good basis for an individually composed vegetable brewing powder.
Dry vegetables and grind to powder
For the production of vegetable powder from vegetable residues, drying that is gentle on vitamins is recommended. Small amounts of vegetables can be air-dried well, for example on the windowsill, the heater or in another warm place. For this, the vegetable pieces are cut into thin slices, spread out on documents and turned over daily.
Air drying works best with vegetables that contain little water, since plants with a lot of water take too long to dry and could therefore become moldy. For larger quantities of vegetables, drying in a dehydrator or in the oven is recommended.
For the production of vegetable powder you need:
- Vegetable leftovers to taste – carrot peel, celeriac, mushrooms, onions and beetroot (peel) are ideal
- Salt (5-10% of the weight of the finished powder, optional for a longer shelf life and more seasoning)
- Stand mixer, mortar or spice grinder to shred the dried vegetables
This is how the vegetables for vegetable powder are dried in a convection oven:
- Wash or clean vegetables and dry them. If necessary, core and cut into fine slices or pieces. In the case of paprika powder or chili powder, the kernels can also be dried for more sharpness.
- The vegetables on one or more with baking paper or one Baking paper alternative Lay out the baking trays, leaving some space between the individual vegetables.
- Distribute the baking sheets evenly on the rails in the oven, clamp a wooden spoon in the oven door and either only switch on the oven light (results in approx. 40 ° C) or set the temperature to 40 to 50 ° C (circulating air).
- Turn the vegetables occasionally during the drying process. Take them out of the oven as soon as they are completely dry and easy to break.
- Place the cooled, dried vegetables in a blender, mortar or spice grinder, optionally sprinkle with salt and finely grind everything. Sieve the powder again if you want it to be particularly fine.
The finished vegetable powder is best stored by type in clean screw jars or spice shakers. It can be used sparingly for seasoning because the powder is particularly aromatic. For a quick vegetable brewing powder, simply mix some types of powder, for example leek, carrot, celeriac and onion, and possibly add more salt to achieve properties comparable to those of commercial brewing powder.
Depending on the temperature and humidity, drying in the oven can take several hours. But you don’t have to worry about high energy consumption. Our own measurements showed that at a temperature of 50 ° C and the oven door slightly open, consumption was around 0.21 kWh per hour (around 6 cents at an electricity price of 30 cents / kWh). When drying in air, no electricity is used at all, but it takes longer and requires more attention to prevent mold.
This is how vegetable powder can be used
With home-made vegetable powder made from dried vegetables, a wide variety of dishes receive a wide variety of flavors. Carrot and celery powder give soups and stews more flavor. A strong onion or garlic powder goes well with all hearty dishes or complements a ready-made falafel mix.
With a spicy mushroom powder, gravy and scrambled tofu have a particularly strong taste. The mushroom powder also refines Asian dishes with its umami taste.
Vegetable powder with tomato or peppers round off, for example, vegetable bolognese, chili sin carne or farmers breakfast.
In addition, the colorful vegetable powders can be used for smoothies rich in vitamins, homemade mixtures in powder form (for example sauce powder or salad mixes) and even as bright food colors for baking and cooking.
Tip: For trekking tours or camping, the vegetable powders are ideally suited to have varied ingredients for a healthy camping kitchen in the minimalist luggage – the bare, dried vegetables can also be packed in, which soaks up liquid again when cooking.
You can find many more recipes and tips for DIY products in the kitchen in our book:
What ideas do you have to continue using aromatic vegetable residues? We look forward to your tip in the comments!
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