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Monday, May 3, 2021

Thought I'd show you what making carrot powder in my kitchen looks like

Last week I told you about using vegetable powders. Today I wanted to show you how I make my own carrot powder. It's a 2-day process for me, one day for drying the carrot slices and the next next for grinding them into a powder. 


The other day, I made powder from 4 medium-sized carrots. I scrubbed, but didn't peel them. I trimmed the end and tips, then used my food processor and the slicing blade to slice the carrots into 1/16 to 1/8-inch slices (it's my finest slicing blade). I spread the carrots onto dehydrator sheets to dry at 135 to 145 degrees F for about 7 to 8 hours.


At this point, I really could make the powder. But waiting until the next morning means a relaxing evening for me.

If I had a newer and more powerful food processor, I would use it to grind the dried slices. But, since my fp is 37 years old, and I don't want to burn the motor out, I use my coffee/spice grinder to make the powder.


After one grinding, I put the rough powder through a mesh sieve, using a pastry brush to get all of the finer powder out of the grinder.


I run the coarse powder through the grinder about 4 more times, sieving in between each grinding. By the end, I have about a teaspoon of coarse grind (that I add to a cup of soup for myself) and about 1/2 cup (more or less) of finer-ground carrots, kept in a covered dish to use mixed in juice or yogurt.

The other day, I said that 1 tablespoon of powder was equal to one carrot. That may be true for more finely ground powder (which is more dense and compact). But for my home-ground powder I think 1  1/2 to 2 tablespoons is equal to 1 carrot.



The differences between commercial and home-ground carrot powder

To the left is a commercial powder and to the right, my homemade powder. Mine is definitely more pigmented and likely has much more beta carotene than the commercial. Home-ground is also more flavorful than the commercial powder that I've used.

I have a few thoughts on the color and flavor differences between the two powders. My home-ground is slightly coarser in texture than commercially-ground. A finer grind, like the commercial one, may affect appearance of color. I noticed this in the finer carrot powder that clung to the lid of the grinder. It was slightly lighter in color than the coarser pieces in the base of the grinder. It's possible that the commercial powder is made with larger, fatter carrots, grown for size, that have a larger center core that is light in color. Or, perhaps commercial powder is made with the residual pulp from making carrot juice. Anyway, home-ground dried carrot powder has more pigment and more carrot flavor than the commercial brand that I had tried.

The other noticeable difference is that without high-speed grinding equipment, the powder that I make at home is slightly more coarse than the commercial product and so doesn't completely "disappear" when mixed into other foods. I should add, some people shred their carrots before dehydrating, in order to make grinding easier. This might also produce a finer grind. I'll give that a try sometime soon and see.

Despite these differences, I'm very satisfied with my home-ground carrot powder. I have seen for myself just what is in my powder, so I know the nutrients that my body is getting from it. And, as I said before, I am able to squeeze a couple more servings of vegetables into each day without much extra effort.


5 comments:

  1. That was interesting to see a demo of how you make a carrot powder. We were talking with my father-in-law this past weekend about how he uses his coffee grinder to grind up dried, hot peppers to make hot sauce and how the "powder" is too coarse for his liking. Also, I was wondering if the fiber content of the vegetables changes with drying and grinding? It doesn't seem like it should, but I'm not sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Has your FIL tried sieving or sifting his ground chili peppers? It might help. I don't think the fiber content would change in a significant way. But like you, I don't know that with certainty. I just checked the packages for both my blueberry powder (commercial) and the bag from the commercial carrot powder. The nutrition info indicates that the fiber remains. In the carrot powder, it lists 3 grams. A cup of raw grated carrots has 3.4 grams fiber. So it sounds like the fiber content remains the same.

      Delete
  2. Interesting! Similar to L&L, I am wondering about the nutritional differences between fresh and powdered veggies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kris,
      the nutritional sacrifice would be vitamins that are heat-sensitive, like Vit. C and possibly some of the B vitamins. A, E and K should remain mostly intact, I think. I also think you lose some enzymes with dehydration. Electrolytes might remain mostly the same in dried vs fresh, as dried fruit is often recommended for potassium.

      Delete

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