The Weston A. Price Way

Monday, January 14, 2013

Create Flavor and Interest with Home Seasonings

Yesterday, I promised to let you know how to make your own onion and garlic powders, "cheap-cheap". Have I spoken of this before? Perhaps, but it's worth repeating.
You either need to have a cartload of veggies to pull this off quickly, or know that it will take some time to accumulate...but not too much time if you eat more at home than out. And this is not only for onions and garlic...several other seasonings may be made at home as well.

Ingredients/Tools needed:

veggie peeler (sometimes)
food processor (or similar appliance of smaller scale)

Veggie of choice, for example: onion, garlic, tomato, carrot...what else can you think of?

Perhaps that's an unfair question since I haven't even told you how to go about it.

The next time you go to cut up an onion, wash it well first. "But I'm not even using the outer layers of the onion," you reply.

Perfect. Wash it anyway.

Now, instead of discarding that layer or two, keep them. This is much better if you're using a lot of onions at once. I read recently that saving onions is not a very good idea as they attract bacteria rapidly even when refrigerated. If you are not using a lot of onions at once, however, you can still save these 'scraps' in a baggie in the freezer. Save them until the baggie is full. And yes, you can save raw onion pieces the same way.

Whether using 'scraps' or whole pieces of onion, when ready to dehydrate them be sure to separate the layers. (Of course, if using frozen, thaw first.)

Often, vegetable scraps will be damp. If this is the case, use paper towels to dab away excess moisture. If you are a paper conserver - applause! - you'll want to dab away using a cloth towel.

Spread fresh or thawed pieces on the dehydrator. Don't crowd them and do use as many levels of the dehydrator as needed. Dehydrate until completely dry. Place in zippable plastic baggie and proceed to crush with fingers until pieces are seasoning-sized. Keep in bag or transfer to preferred container. If finger-crushing isn't going to turn your dehydrated produce pieces to powder, (test first), a food processor will definitely do the trick.

In the summer, when skinning scads of tomatoes for canning/freezing, use the same method to dry the tomato skins. The powder can later be added to soups, stews and countless other dishes to add tomato taste...They can even be used as an attractive garnish.

Those skins we usually throw away off the garlic? Same thing.

Do you use a veggie peeler for your carrots? Next time, wash them well first, peel, and save the peels for the same purpose. Like tomatoes, dehydrated and 'processed' peels of carrots can add a dash or more of flavor and add eye-appeal to a great number of dishes.

What other veggie peels normally thrown in the trash or compost might you consider using to make some of your own spices/flavorings?

Have you considered fruits? I have been successful with apple peels. I used green apples, but will probably give both green and red a try next time for the sake of color interest.

Making some of your own seasonings is more than easy. It's frugal, resourceful, interesting...and fun!

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