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Shortcut: Onions, Garlic, Herbs and Veggies

Here in Colorado, it's Fall bordering on Winter. Our best growing season is over. So, if you didn't garden this year and are worried about providing decent food for your family, it's not hopeless. This posting will give you a shortcut on providing a few essentials additions to your dishes.

Check out your local health food store. Near where I live are several locations of Vitamin Cottage. If you don't have a V.C. in your area, get out your phone book and call up health food stores to find out if they have the following:
  • Onion flakes: These are diced onions that have been dehydrated. I usually buy every bag they have out. If the section labeled "onion flakes" is empty, I find a clerk and ask! Sometimes they have more in the back and sometimes they are waiting to dry more. Sometimes I rehydrate them and use as regular just-diced onions. Most often, I leave them as is and use these while making taco meat, spaghetti sauce, stew, crock pot meals, roasts, etc.
  • Garlic flakes or granules: I prefer the flakes even though they look almost as small as a granule. Again, this is garlic dehydrated. These are still pretty potent and really add a great garlic taste, whether rehydrated before adding to a dish, or during cooking.
  • Spinach flakes: These are spinach leaves chopped and dried. Sprinkled on salads, add to spaghetti sauce, or rice. Remember that spinach has iron and calcium so we try to add them to our meals several times a week.
  • Soup Vegetables: This is a combination of dehydrated veggies like potatoes, celery, parsley, carrots and more. This can be powdered (see below), or added to sauce, stews, chicken bakes, and more. Or, here's a novel idea, make soup with them! One bag of soup veggies makes one decent pot of soup.
  • Parsley flakes: Same as spinach. Doesn't have as much flavor as fresh parsley but still provides great nutrition.
  • Herbs: they have chives, borage, thyme, and many many bags of dried herbs. Good not only for cooking but also holistic treatment of ailments.

The above aren't very expensive. A $3.00 bag of garlic flakes should last you a couple of months.Each comes in a plastic twist-tied bag, marked with contents and price. They aren't marked "organic", but I think they are pretty close. And they don't have any additives - just what's on the ingredients section.

Most of the above can be found in V.C.'s bulk item section, along with other herbs, nuts, seeds, TVP (textured vegetable protein), granola, beans, and much more. Check out the entire section.

When you bring these home, mark on the bag the date you purchased them. Then store them in the original bag but placed inside something airtight like a mason jar. Include a dessicant package (moisture-eater) if you have some (we save them from new shoes or vitamin bottles). No need to process by canning; just seal tightly. Store in cool place, away from light. I have my VHTS color brown paper bags, cut to fit, as labels.

POWDERED: If you need to get more veggies into your children, use a spice or other grinder to turn them into a powder. This will hide the color and individual tastes. We call this our "all-vegg powder". Add to mashed potatoes (covered with cheese), rice, into mac-n-cheese, pizza sauce, etc.


TheSurvivalMom said...

You buy all this at a health food store, huh? Wow. I will have to check this out because I am a huge advocate of storing herbs, spices, and anything else that will add flavor and variety to our cooking. I'm guessing that the big national chain stores don't carry this? (GNC, for example)


Trashdigger said...

thanx for the link thru.. Fall is also a grea time to pull out the dehydrator and use the dumpster finds onions and peppers etc and dehydrate for later use. I am also begnning to bag up the herbs for winter use.Rosemary, Basil, Thai basil and especially he omniptresent chives..

ThrtnWmsFam said...

Survival Mom: I don't know about GNC - haven't been in one in ages. I do know that I haven't seen them at Whole Foods (although I might have missed them) and we don't have a Trader Joe's (?) here to check. Or you could use a combo of dried veggies in #10 cans.

Trashdigger: you're welcome! I like your blog. Once I find my dehydrator, I'll be drying again. This is a good time to find veggies, apples, pumpkins, etc. on sale so it's definitely time to dry again!

Thanks.. Vikki

Trashdigger said...

BTW.. The host of VG with the blond hair and beard that I was thnking of was Roger Swain.. He was one of my early influences.. Tokk a little googling to find hime. Apparently he left the show..