Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Andrea Chesman: Dried Kale Chips

Kale again?

No kidding. Besides the fact that I really like kale, I love to feed people. That means when I give a class you can expect samples. Here I am making a batch of dried kale chips.

Last weekend I taught a couple of workshops on the many faces of food preservation at the Vermont Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) winter conference. Saturday’s workshop was an overview of the pros and cons of the various food preservation methods. Most of the folks at the workshop were new to food preservation, so I had to deliver the idea that each method involves a trade-off, whether it is time, storage space, dependence on electricity, use of plastic, or loss of nutrition. There is no perfect method of food preservation for all foods in all conditions or at all times.

I brought samples of dried kale chips, which may be the best reason to explore dehydration. Dehydrators are great for wild mushrooms and all manner of snack foods, from seasoned seaweed (more on that at another time) to dried berries. Unfortunately, my dehydrator (bought at a yard sale for $10) is a small-capacity dryer and just doesn’t seem practical for serious food preservation.

Prepared kale arranged on dehydrator tray, ready for drying

The finished kale chips

No matter, the kale chips are delicious, the perfect snack for a long car ride. Tomorrow I am off to the Rhode Island Flower Show to talk about making pickles and winter salads.

Dried Kale Chips
Makes about 8 cups

Any type of kale can be used. I have a slight preference for lacinato kale because it is flatter and fits better in the narrow space between trays in the dehydrator. Don’t overdo the salt; it doesn’t require a lot.
1 bunch kale, stems removed, and chopped (about 8 cups packed)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
  1. Toss the kale with the oil until well coated. Sprinkle the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder over the kale, and toss to distribute. 
  2. Spread out on dehydrator trays. 
  3. Dry for 4 to 5 hours at 125°F. 
  4. Store in glass jars.
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