Got limp greens that got shoved to the back of your refrigerator? Or how about a plethora of celery from your garden? Today I’ve got a tip for you on how to reduce your garden and food waste and at the same time, create a great resource for future meals…
I think we’ve all been there – you bought a head of lettuce to make a salad (which you did), but then you sort of forgot about the rest of the lettuce. It got shoved to the back of the refrigerator and there it stayed, forgotten and getting limper and duller by the day. You end up throwing it away or composting it. What if I told you there was another option (assuming it hasn’t gone slimy)? Or what if you have a bumper crop of something from your garden and you can’t eat it all or give it away?
My tip is dehydrating.
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I dehydrate lots of things, not just greens that have gone past their prime. Then, I use a spice grinder or a food processor to powder them and store the powder in a jar with various other powdered veggies. After mixing them all together (shaking vigorously) you can then use the mixed powder to make a vegetable broth, or simply add it to soups, stews, or other recipes to up their vitamin, mineral, and flavor content.
Here is a list of things I dehydrate and add to my veggie powder:
Celery (leaves and/or stalks)
Carrots (root and/or tops)
Squash and Zucchini
I have even been known to add dried rose petals to the mix.
You can also throw in herbs – either ones you bought from the store or fresh from your garden. I tend to keep these separate, but you can add them to your mix or keep them in separate jars…It’s up to you!
When it comes to herbs, you can dry them in a dehydrator, lay them out to dry on the counter, or even microwave them (personally, I’m not a fan of dehydrating in the microwave). I tend to dry fresh herbs from my garden out on the counter on a cooling rack – for good air circulation.
If you don’t have the counter space or time to dry things that way, a dehydrator is a wonderful appliance to own – I use mine a lot. Dehydrators have a broad price range… a basic one like this one cost about $50, and one on the top end, such as this one, can cost up to $200.
Dehydrators are very versatile kitchen gadgets…you can do so much more than dry wilted greens. You can use a dehydrator to make your own fruit leathers (fruit roll ups that you can pronounce all the ingredients in), jerky; dehydrate grapes, plums, and cranberries to make raisins, prunes and crasins, make your own dehydrated fruit and veggie snacks such as apple crisps, banana chips, mango and papaya slices. You can use it for non-edible projects such as for drying flowers, to make potpourri, and to dry homemade ornaments (playdough, or applesauce dough).
Do you have a dehydrator? If so, what do you use it for most?
Looking into buying a dehydrator? What are you most excited to use it for first?