Wednesday, April 20, 2016

DIY greens supplement powder for smoothies

Make superfood greens supplement powder for smoothies from your garden


Superfood greens supplement powder is a concentrated form of vitamins and minerals that you add to smoothies, and soups to increase their nutritional punch. Different brands of green supplement powder contain different ingredients but the common denominator is the green colour, high in chlorophyll. It usually contains a blend of herbs, seaweed, fruits and vegetables, along with emulsifiers, probiotics, added vitamins and minerals, and fiber.
Greens powder is used as a dietary supplement that can be mixed with water for a nutritional drink or added to shakes and smoothies in the winter when fresh greens like lettuce, kale, and other leafy green vegetables are not as readily available.  Did you know that you can make your own superfood greens supplement powder for smoothies from your own garden?  I kid you not.  And you can make it from weeds and leafy vegetables that you are probably overlooking when you harvest.  I’ve included a handy infographic, The Nutritional Value of Weeds to help you find the right combination of vegetables, sea vegetables, and weeds for your own nutritional greens supplement.
Hint: Nettles are a powerful superfood, that I still have growing in my garden in November.  Maybe you have it growing near you, too.

What’s in commercial greens supplement powder?

The brand of Antioxidant Greens supplement powder that I buy is from Tropical Traditions. It contains a huge list of natural ingredients that I can’t reproduce at home:
Concord grape powder, Acerola cherry Powder, Milk Thistle Seed Extract, Red Beet Root Powder, Aloe Vera Leaf Powder, Pomegranate Powder, Turmeric Rhizome extract, Kelp Powder, Green Tea extract, Grape Skin Extract, Grape Seed Extract, Blue Berry Leaf extract, Probiotics (Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifido Bacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus), Carrot Juice Powder, Broccoli Juice Powder, Cauliflower Powder, Spinach Juice Powder, Parsley Juice Powder, Chlorella, Spirulina, Alfalfa, Barley grass, Barley malt, Apple pectin, and flax seed.

On the other hand, I can grow some of these ingredients, and my organically home grown ingredients are going to be fresher and just as nutritious as many of the ingredients found in these ready mixed, balanced nutritional supplements. At the very least, you don’t need to worry about getting unbalanced nutrition by mixing your own, provided this is just one part of a balanced diet.

Save the weeds

Check what you already have growing in your garden and don’t overlook the weeds. Chickweed, lambs quarters, purslane, plantain, dandelion, and nettles pack a powerful nutritious punch. They can be dried in your dehydrator when they are at their peak of sweetness, throughout the growing season, and especially in spring when your dehydrator may be idle. Don’t neglect the leaves of fruiting plants like strawberry leaves, raspberry and blue berry leaves. Herbs like parsley, and mint are good additions but omit the spicier herbs like chive, garlic, thyme or sage. Save those for your spice blends.
This infographic is not a complete listing of the nutritional value of weeds.  Those weeds that we have a fairly complete nutritional profile on are those weeds that are part of a traditional or indigenous diet.  Most weeds, however, have not yet been profiled.  There are gaps in our knowledge.  So this chart is accurate but not complete.  If you have more information to add to the nutritional profile of our beneficial weeds, please add it in the comments.

DIY Superfood Greens Supplement Powder for smoothies -- Joybilee Farm

You can download this Infographic: Vitamins and minerals in common herbs (pdf)

Grab the veggies

Extra lettuce, beet greens, carrot tops, kale, broccoli and cauliflower can be dried at their peak and saved for this as well. Consider also drying beets and carrots for extra beta carotene. Really whatever mild tasting vegetables that you have in the garden can be used. Just dry them at their peak of freshness.
Green Powder Lettuce

Utilize the waste

Tomato peels, clean carrot peels and beet peels, outer leaves of lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower can all be dried when they are at their peak of freshness.
When you are making apple juice or grape juice, save the pulp and skins to dry for green juice. You’ll want to remove the apple seeds and stems before you start, if you plan to dry the pulp for powder.

Vegetables like kale and chard keep producing all season

Plant some extra veggies next season to use for green power nutrition. Vegetables like kale and chard keep producing all season long, so don’t let these valuable nutrients go to waste. Harvest the leaves as they mature and put them into your dehydrator to dry for green super powder.
Leave out the stronger tasting vegetables like cabbage, radishes, mustards, peppers, onions, and garlic. Also leave out any vegetables that are potentially poisonous raw, such as potatoes. But within these parameters there are a lot of veggies you can add.

Consider adding herbs

Rosehips add vitamin C. Green weeds add extra minerals and vitamins to the mix, as well as lots of healthy chlorophyll. While some herbs will be high in oxalic acid, the overall ratio of herbs to vegetables should be small.   20/80 is a good ratio to aim for, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Green powder 1

How to powder dried herbs and vegetables to make greens supplement powder

I use a coffee grinder to powder my dried herbs (This one). A blender is too large and the herbs tend to circle above the blades without falling back into the whirl to be powdered. A food processor, even a small one, just blows the light dried leaves above the spiralling blade, leaving the herbs crumbled but not powdered. A coffee/spice grinder efficiently powders most herbs leaving a fine powder behind.
DIY Superfood Greens Supplement Powder for Smoothies -- Joybilee Farm

One caveat: Be careful when you are grinding large amounts of dried fruits and vegetables that you don’t overheat the motor. Yes, I’ve burned out a few grinder motors in my day. Now I feel the inside chamber of the grinder and if it feels warm, I give the machine a half hour break before continuing the workload. This little trick gives the grinder a longer life. They don’t last forever though. I wish Blendtech made a spice blender.
When I’m doing larger fruits and nuts, I begin by putting them through the blender until they are crumbly about the texture of coarse meal and then complete the process in the coffee/spice grinder. When I am doing greens I crush the dried leaves in my hands and then add the crumbled leaves to the bowl of my coffee/spice grinder to complete the process.
You do 8 to 10 lbs of lettuce and other leafy greens in your dehydrator — about a laundry basket full.  It will dry down to about 2 quarts of crumbled green leaves.  Once you’ve powdered it you’ll have about a pint jar of superfood greens supplement powder! That’s concentrated nutrition — a real superfood.

Add some seaweed for minerals like iodine

Consider adding spirulina, dulce, kelp, or bladderwack from Canadian artic sources to add some iodine and additional trace minerals to your superfood greens powder.   About 2 tbsp per pint of greens powder should be perfect.  I buy my seaweeds from Mountain Rose Herbs because I trust them to source from noncontaminated waters.  Dulce and bladderwack are the two that I use most often.

How to use your greens supplement powder

Commercial greens supplement powder is usually sweetened with stevia, so you’ll want to add a very small amount of ground stevia if you want your DIY greens powder to taste like the commercial blend.  But why not leave it plain.  I use my greens supplement powder in smoothies and shakes for the added nutritional support.  But I also use my greens  powder in soups, stews, and other savory dishes, as well as adding it to bread dough and pizza dough.  Leaving out the sweet stevia allows me more flexibility.

 Look in your garden for the ingredients

Have a fresh look in your garden for the ingredients to make your own superfood greens supplement powder.  Check the weeds and green, leafy vegetables against my infographic and be encouraged.  You have more nutrition still growing in your garden than you originally thought.  Think outside the box and you’ll see that you have a lot of superfood greens supplement powder just waiting for you to harvest it.
Don’t forget to pin this on pinterst so you can find it in the Spring when the baby greens show their lovely heads and you’ll be ready to forage, plant, and harvest for all your superfood greens needs.


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