Rituals are how we humans build habits that turn our intentions into action. Rituals are the means by which we demonstrate our values in the world. They can bring you a sense of security and optimism by actively fusing meaning and purpose. The icing on the cake is that, often, they are a whole lot of delicious fun! As we will explore throughout the Mindful Kitchen Story of Autumn, many of our fall rituals stem from a time when we humans were fluent in the language of nature. To build your nature related practice, we will be diving into the deeper meaning of rituals you likely already participate in, and also encourage you to build some simple new ways to connect to nature with every bite. Making preserves are a big part of it. The hint is the name! When I make preserves, I don´t focus on the end product, but I focus on how the making is reinforcing my urge to preserve (and deepen) my identity as a part of nature by tuning into the season, connect to the way humans who better read the language of nature saw the world and see the process as reinforcing my intent to help preserve and celebrate as much of the diversity of the natural world as possible.
When it comes to apples, I find myself peeling a lot of them this time of year to make apple sauce, roasted veggies, and of course pies and cakes. But, what to do with all of those peels? Instead of tossing them in the bin, why not dry them and then grind them up to make a zero waste apple powder? Much of the intense apple flavour is trapped in the peel and when dehydrated provides an intense apply zing, particularly if you have been using tangy green baking apples like Granny Smith. What to do with the powder? Well, there´s your chance to get creative. I sprinkle it on porridge and yoghurt, I toss it into muffin and cake batters like you would do spice or salt and have even been known to rim a whisky sour cocktail glass with apple powder. The possibilities are endless, and of course each time you bring out your powder, you once again are reconnecting to the rich story of apples and tie yourself to your intent to get closer to nature.
HOW TO MAKE ZERO WASTE APPLE POWDER
I make a lot of powders, as you will discover, and therefore I own a food dehydrator. If you think you might become a food preserving devotee, this might be an investment you want to consider. They cost anywhere from £35 – £100. If not, do not despair. If you have an oven and a cooling rack (the kind you would use for cakes or cookies) you are good to go. This recipe is designed for people who are using ovens and don´t have dehydrators.
1.) Peel your apples (and if you want a delicious apple cake recipe, check this one out) and reserve your peels.
2.) Place the peels on a cooling rack allowing some space between each peel. A cookie sheet could work, but it is better that the warm, dry air reach all sides of the peel, hence using a rack.
3.) Turn the oven on low heat, 50 Celsius/120 Fahrenheit, place your apple peels in the oven and let them dry for 5 or 6 hours. A rainy, lazy day at home is ideal.
4.) The peels are ready when they are dry to the touch but not yet brittle. A tiny touch of moisture is not a problem.
5.) Place your peels in your food processor or coffee grinder and blitz them until they turn into a powder.
6.) Place the powder in a jar and twist the lid to keep it as airtight as possible. Your powder should be good for two or three months.