My focus this year has been on trying to minimize winter food bills as much as possible. Winter time greens can be expensive in the markets, especially if you prefer to buy organic for your family. Part of my strategy to minimize the amount of money spent on expensive greens is to dehydrate garden greens while they are plentiful now. Not only does dehydrating allow them to retain most of their nutrients it makes them super easy to use in a variety of dishes.
While I plan to grow greens as far into the winter season as possible with the use of Cloches, and am considering trying to grow greens indoors this year, having a stash of spinach, kale and other greens dehydrated will allow me to sneak in valuable nutrition that my family needs without having to worry about the high cost of buying fresh.
What I Use Dehydrated Greens For
There are plenty of ways to used dehydrated greens; one of my primary ways to use them is in smoothies, where the strong taste and color of berries makes them invisible. But I also put the greens into soups, baking when and where it is appropriate and rehydrate them for use in stir fries, casseroles, and a number of other dishes. There are not too many places where you cannot tuck in a few of these greens; I also slip them into omelets, frittatas and quiche.
How I Do it
I like to use the darker greens for this project and I usually keep them separated, keeping Kale in one jar or vacuum seal bag, spinach in another and so forth.
This project is super simple to do, just wash your greens well, let them dry or use a towel to towel them off.
I like to tear my greens into smaller pieces, it makes it easier for them to fit in my dehydrator and they are much easier to store as well. I dispose of the rib, just using the leaf part of the greens.
I place the greens in my Excalibur dehydrator; turn it on to 125 degrees overnight. How long they stay in will really depend on a lot of things such as the temperature in your house, the humidity levels and the greens you are dehydrating. You want to dehydrate your greens until all of the water is removed; they should be crisp and crumble easily.
Storing your Dehydrated Greens
Once the greens are dried and ready to store, you will need to decide how you want to store them and how small you want the pieces to be.
I take the pieces of kale or other greens and rub them between my hands to create a smaller size and then I package these in vacuum seal bags or mason jars. You can put the vacuum seal bags in the freezer for long term storage and then store them in a mason jar for daily use.
You can also run the greens through a food processor and make a fine substance that is perfect to add to smoothies, soups and any other foods you might want to tuck a bit of nutrition in.
Finally you can leave the leaves whole and carefully package and seal them, this allows you to rehydrate them in a bit of hot water and then add them to lasagna, egg dishes and more, just like you would fresh greens.