How to Make Fruit & Vegetable Powders

You’ve read my article on Why I Love Fruit and Vegetable Powders and now you want to know how to make them for yourself? There are several schools of thought as to the best way to make powders. I will list the three methods I use and allow you to judge for yourself which works best for you. Dehydrate the food item according to specifications given until it passes the “clink test.” Many foods should snap when you break them, and you can check them by dropping onto a table. If they make a clinking sound, you have sufficiently removed the moisture.

Preparing Your Food for Dehydrating

Time for me to climb up on my soapbox because I feel I cannot over-stress this step. It is important, regardless of the source of your produce, to wash it thoroughly. In today’s world our produce can be sprayed and coated, shellacked, and plasticized prior to purchase. And with the recent food-borne outbreaks related to produce, consumers have heightened concerns over the safety of fresh produce.

Even if your produce is organic in origin, do not take a shortcut here for safety’s sake because your produce can still harbor bacteria and fungi. Growing your own organic vegetables is optimal, but understand that even these have been linked to a number of E. coli outbreaks in areas of contaminated ground water. Erring on the side of safety will never make you sick.

Additionally, there are many avenues of contamination in getting your produce to the stores, especially in the packing plants themselves. Recently, the headlines have been full of recalls and warnings on this matter. To learn more, check out this article by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), The Food Production Chain – How Food Gets Contaminated.

A simple fruit & vegetable washing solution utilizing the acetic acid in white vinegar will help to wash off soil debris and most contaminants that may be lurking on your produce.

Vinegar Wash Collage

  1. In your sink, a washing basin or large bowl, make a solution of 1 part white vinegar & 3 parts room temperature water AFTER you have thoroughly scrubbed the container to make sure it doesn’t harbor anything that often lurks in a kitchen. Research has shown that 3-parts water to 1-part vinegar is most effective, removing 98% of contaminants. Trim off any damaged, bruised, or browned areas.
  2. Place your room temperature fruits and vegetables into the wash. By keeping the solution and vegetables near the same temperature, you reduce the risk of shock to certain soft-skinned fruits and vegetables. Temperature shock can cause pores in the skins to intake more of the dirty water, and thus more of the chemicals you are trying to remove.
  3. Allow fruits and vegetables to soak for ten minutes. Rinse the vegetables thoroughly scrubbing all root vegetables well.
    • For produce like potatoes, turnips, carrots, apples, cucumbers, and the like, wash well, and use a firm scrub brush to remove wax and bacteria. If you’re concerned, peel off the skin.
    • You may think that a cantaloupe or a lemon, for example, doesn’t need to be washed, but whatever is on the outer skin can be transferred to the fruit when you cut into it. Wash these just as you would apples and carrots.
  4. Pat produce with toweling. Air dry on a towel or sanitized counter.

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Pretreatments Before Dehydrating

Peeling is a matter of personal preference for the most part. Since most of a vegetable’s nutrients are nearer to the skin, I prefer to leave the food unpeeled when I can. As long as your produce is washed correctly and bad spots have been removed, there should be no problem with leaving the skins on.

Check the Dehydrator InfoGraphic Charts for any special pre-treatments for the produce you are drying. Some skins, like the skins of blueberries, will need to be pricked before drying. Aesthetics, in the case of powdering, does not apply here.

Some of your produce will need to be blanched in boiling water. I Use my stainless steel colander in a pot with the same circumference so that I can minimize my time over the steaming pot. This only takes a few minutes. This process preserves the color of the produce.

After blanching, have your sink ready with very cold water. Plunge your produce into the cold bath. This immediately stops the cooking process from the blanching.


Now it is time to choose your method of drying to achieve the resulting powders. In the Dehydrator InfoGraphic Charts, I have listed which method(s) worked best for me for the various produce, but please feel free to choose whichever makes you most comfortable. The notes at the beginning of each method will help you to further determine what method may work for you.

Method #1: Raw Food Processing

Powder-Method1 Collage

Powders from herbs, spices, and flowers: These items do not need to be cooked, shredded or pureed before dehydrating. Roots, on the other hand, benefit from further processing because of their hardness.

Mushrooms should not be cooked either so this is the method to use. Mushrooms should just be sliced for processing.

If you are processing smaller mushrooms or items like strawberries, an egg slicer makes quick work of the cutting and gives you even slices that will dehydrate well.

  1. Clean the items selected for dehydration as described in the section Preparing Your Food for Dehydrating.
  2. Shred rather than chop if you are preparing vegetables such as carrots or other roots. Shredded vegetable matter is far easier than hard chunks to grind into powder. Unless you are processing something like mushrooms, leafy vegetables, herbs, etc. shredding makes processing much easier.
  3. Spread the shreds onto a lined dehydrator tray. Dry until brittle at the recommended temperature.
  4. When dehydration is complete, allow the shreds to cool before moving on to the next step, Grinding Dehydrated Produce into Powders.

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Method #2: Raw Food Processing-Puree

Powder-Method2 Collage

Food processors are best for most foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains). They are also good for shredding foods prior to puréeing.

Fruit does not need to be cooked before dehydration when making powders, so this is the puree method you would use and is the easiest method I have found to process into powder.

  1. Clean the items selected for dehydration as described in the section Preparing Your Food for Dehydrating.
  2. For harder produce, such as carrots, it is best to take the additional step of shredding first. This makes it easier to puree and is less difficult for your food processor to handle. Use your shredder blade to facilitate the
  3. Switch to a chopping/mixing blade and process items in the food processor until they are fine and homogeneous in texture. For fruits you can use an immersion blender to purée.
  4. If the purée is too thick or too thin, take the necessary steps to get the purée to the proper consistency.
  • If too thick: Add measured amounts of hot liquid for cooked foods and cold liquid for cold Add small amounts at a time so as not to make the purée too thin. Reprocess until purée is of a smooth consistency.
  • If too thin: Measure and add commercial thickener or natural food thickener. Add small amounts at a time so as not to make the purée too thick. Reprocess until purée is of a smooth consistency.
  1. Spread the puree onto a lined dehydrator tray. Use ParaFlexx sheets or baking paper to line your trays. Scoring the purée into squares makes it easier to break it up when it is dry. Dry until brittle at the recommended temperature.
  2. When dehydration is complete, allow the puree to cool before breaking up and moving on to the next step, Grinding Dehydrated Produce into Powders..

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Method #3: Pureed Cooked Foods

Powders-Method3 Collage

Important note about baby foods: If you are going to make vegetable and fruit powders with the intent of using them for baby food, the produce you use MUST be cooked until very tender before dehydration even if it is indicated that cooking is not necessary. Do not add anything to your produce; no oils, sugars, salts, or herbs/spices. Babies cannot handle these additives and the food must be broken down for their delicate digestive system.

  1. Clean the items selected for dehydration as described in the section Preparing Your Food for Dehydrating.
  2. Boil, steam, roast, or bake produce as indicted on the Dehydrator Charts. Do NOT use any oils in the cooking of your fruits and vegetables.
  3. Remove any skins, seeds, and unhealthy spots on the produce. Sometimes you are just able to scoop out the pulp from the produce.
  4. Mash the pulp until it is of a smooth consistency with a fork, food processor, or immersion blender.
  5. If the purée is too thick or too thin, take the necessary steps to obtain the proper consistency.
  • If too thick: Add measured amounts of hot liquid for cooked foods and cold liquid for cold Add small amounts at a time so as not to make the purée too thin. Reprocess until purée is of a smooth consistency.
  • If too thin: Measure and add commercial thickener or natural food thickener (for example, ClearJel or arrowroot powder). Add small amounts at a time so as not to make the purée too thick. Reprocess until purée is of a smooth consistency.
  1. Spread the purée onto a lined dehydrator tray. Use ParaFlexx sheets or baking paper to line your trays. Scoring the purée into squares makes it easier to break it up when it is dry. Dry until brittle at the recommended temperature.
  2. When dehydration is complete, allow the puree to cool before breaking up and moving on to the next step, Grinding Dehydrated Produce into Powders.

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Grinding Dehydrated Produce into Powders

What is needed to grind powders is a milling-type blade that is a flat blade that will completely break down ingredients into their most nutritious, most absorptive state. Food processors, as a rule, do not contain this kind of blade. A coffee/spice grinder or, if you don’t own a grinder, in your blender or other high powered appliance like a Bullet works well as long as there is a flat blade like a milling blade.
VERY IMPORTANT when powdering: allow a few minutes for the dust to settle! A nose full of powder is no fun.
Powders-Grinding Collage
  1. Once thoroughly cooled, simply pulverize the food in a coffee/spice grinder or, if you don’t own a grinder, in your blender or other high powered appliance like a Bullet. You want to grind them enough to achieve a powdered consistency between white sugar and white flour. I finally broke down and stopped buying the little $10 grinders. I now have a Cuisinart DCG-12BC Grind Central Coffee Grinder and am very pleased with the larger capacity and the better grind.
  2. Allow a few minutes for the dust to settle.
  3. You may find it useful to shake the material from the grinder through a sieve. Put the larger pieces left behind through a second grind or store them in a jar for adding to foods as flakes.
  4. Store in sealed, airtight containers away from heat and light according to the directions in the section How to Store Your Powders.

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How to Store Your Powders

Powders-Storage Collage

For immediate use: Place the powder in an adequate size mason jar with an oxygen absorber and store away from heat, steam, and light. Adding a few grains of rice will help to keep it from clumping. You can also add a bit of arrowroot powder as a natural anti-caking agent.

Long term storage: Store the powdered vegetable in vacuum sealed bags for long term food storage, and Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber will help eliminate the light and other variables. I usually store the shreds themselves in long-term storage and grind when I am ready to refill my jars for short- term storage.

Storage Options

  • Stored in a spice jar or a Mason jar, powders will last about 6 months.
  • Stored in a Mason jar with an oxygen pack, powders will last up to a year.
  • Vacuum sealed with an oxygen pack, then double-bagged in Mylar and stored in a cool, dry place, powders will last five years or more. When stored like this, the powder can become compacted. If it does, just sift, re-blend, or grind again before using.
  • As my friend Ted pointed out, “It is worth noting that if you vacuum seal the dehydrated foods without first grinding, the shelf life is extended, and you have more flexibility. I say the shelf life is extended because I’ve read on some dehydrator manufacturer’s site that dehydrated cabbage and onions and similar vegetables will last for 6 – 10 years when processed in recommended sizes. Powdering radically increases the surface area, which is why powders have so much punch, but that larger surface area also allows for more oxidization and more surface area for pathogens to attack and thrive on. And in the case of dehydrated pastes I leave it in large flakes before vacuum bagging, for the same reason. I can always open a bag or two and blend/pestle and mortar it as needed and store the remnants in jars for imminent use.”

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4 thoughts on “How to Make Fruit & Vegetable Powders

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