How long has it been since someone told you to “take a powder?” I hope it was recently. Confused? What comes to mind for you? How about the late 20s and 30s gangster slang, where “taking a powder” meant to “vanish, scram, hide from sight,” maybe from the “coppers.” It may also mean to disappear for good, if you catch that meaning. How about the early doctors’ obsolete instructions to take a laxative powder? This one would cause you to leave the room quickly, especially when laxative powder was secretly added to your drink, as in a “Mickey Finn.” The most familiar meaning, though, means to exit suddenly to the ladies’ room, when you realize your nose needs to be “powdered.”
Today, this expression means something entirely different. And taking or using a powder will be a usual expression popping up everywhere in the days ahead. Only this time it will mean using an herbal powder extracted from pure organic herbs. Milled into fine powders, they will now be incorporated into smoothies, soups, baked goods, lattes, nutrition bars and just about anything else your creative mind can imagine or recipe magazines can print.
I have been trying the different drinks offered at different coffee houses around our county. I think I can say I’m hooked on my iced maca mocha, my morning alternative to coffee. Powdered maca root is just one of the many herbal powders now available. Instead of just purchasing herbs spices in their usual dried whole form, powders will also be offered on store shelves. It’s now believed that powders are a better health value. They deliver their medicinal health benefits and culinary enhancement to foods and drinks more efficiently and save time doing so. Their concentrated form means you will use less, but sorry, will pay a little more.
Some powders to look for are saffron powder, geranium, moringa, acai, seaweed, aloe, allspice, anise, cardamom, clove, elderberry, fennel seed, ginseng root, horseradish root, kola nut, carob, lemongrass, lemon verbena and yucca. All powdered and all available now. In fact, almost any herb or spice you can imagine is on the list. So are my very favorites, the mushroom powders! No more sautéing before adding mushrooms to my morning eggs. With just a sprinkle of mushroom powder, I have my daily requirements of so many powerful vitamins and minerals. And I can add a different mushroom powder everyday.
You can buy powders or make your own. It just means adding a step when harvesting and preparing for storage. Remember to use a dedicated mill, though. It’s easier than ever to “take a powder.” Think how much fun it will be to experiment. Add powder to your morning coffee, your baked goods, and just about anything. Of course, we’ll still have our familiar dried herbs available. Some herbs and spices just won’t work as powders. But for those that will, it’s a welcoming trend by many; one that just might become mainstay.
By Cheryl Balster