Overwhelmed with chard, kale, or collard greens? Have enough blanched and frozen to last a couple of years? Try something different! Dehydrated greens don’t take up much space, don’t require energy – like a freezer – after the initial processing, and are a great addition to your pantry stores. Here’s how to do it.
Obtain some greens. Grow and harvest your own, go to a U-pick farm, get them at the Farmer’s Market, or buy them at your corner store.
Trim the stems. Cut or tear the leafy parts away from the thick stems.
Save those stems to chop and simmer in a little water. They are great in soups or even by themselves with a little seasoning.
Wash the leaves. Meanwhile, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Don’t worry about spinning the leaves dry: just let them drain a bit.
Blanch the leaves just until wilted. The time it takes for them to wilt will vary with the type. Chard leaves are much thinner than kale, for instance, and wilt quickly.
Lift out and let drain. I set them in a colander.
Spread leaves in a single layer out on dehydrator trays. These round trays were a pain and had me lusting for an Excaliber dehydrator with rectangular trays. On the other hand, I got to nibble little bits of blanched chard while fitting them on the trays. Wipe the bottom of the tray with a cloth to remove excess moisture and put in the dehydrator while still warm.
Dry at 135 degrees until crispy. It only took about 4 hours yesterday. Sampling had to be curtailed because they were so tasty. I’ve read about people dehydrating kale specifically for snacking. “Kale chips!”
Store in an airtight, moisture proof container. Since I plan to take these on our trip to add to soups, I crumbled the dry leaves into bags for vacuum packing.
I didn't have enough trays to dehydrate all the chard I harvested today (the entire bed). This little ball is what two-thirds of the fresh chard pictured above shrank down to after blanching! I'll be freezing some of this for our trip and using some in our dinner.