If you want to cut down on preservatives and salt but still prefer seasoned foods there are simple ways to incorporate natural flavorings.
Making your own spices at home is cheaper than buying them and uses what would normally be tossed out from groceries that you already have.
Taking this concept and turning it into a functional device, Rianne Koens has created a system for making food enhancers at home.
A product designer with an environmental eye, she saw the opportunity for naturally flavoring foods often being thrown in the trash after dinner. She uses the example of a fruit bowl as an invitation to make homemade seasonings. Using the leftover peels allow not only the flavors but also the fragrant aromas from the fruit to be released into food dishes and drinks.
Her kitchen utensils the peel grinder and dispenser work together, sort of like a fine tuned peppermill. After peels are dried they can be inserted into the dispenser and then ground onto foods. She recommends using thinly sliced, completely dried peels as thin portions dry faster, and fully dried peels contain more flavor and last longer.
Bits of any type of produce peels, fruit or vegetable, can be used in foods and beverages for instant, organic flavor.
Though this system makes it convenient, another way to do this with kitchen equipment you may already own is to employ a designated coffee or pepper grinder specifically for flavoring foods. The same technique could be used with a zester, microplane, blender or pestle mortar. Carefully grating or chopping dried peels or even finely dicing them works, being sure not to cut too far down into the bitter, pithy portion of the skin, but staying near the top layer for the best taste.
Since toxins can reside in the peels of produce, organic varieties are recommended and be sure to wash thoroughly to remove any residue before drying them. After fully dehydrated, they can be stored in an air tight container in a dark space or frozen until needed.
Grated oranges and lemons are popular choices, but other citrus fruits, peppers, onions, carrots, ginger root, turmeric or even apples produce flavorful results. A likely natural match can be found for any taste preference, sweet, savory or spicy, just think about what can be dried, ground up and sprinkled. Herbs can also be dried and grated for their flavor.
Exclusive spice combinations can be created, and infusions can also be made for marinades, sauces or dressings by simply adding dried out portions to food oils or other condiments. Allow them to steep for a few days or longer for a more intense flavor.
Making your own spices and seasonings provides taste and increases health benefits while forgoing unnatural, processed flavors.
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