"Someday, I'm sure my children will be shocked to find out not every Mom put Kale in everything."
It made me giggle because, as a CSA farmer, the question I most frequently receive from members is "What do I do with all of this kale?" or chard, mizuna, arugula, escarole, sorrel, or whichever green things are being tucked into the shares that particular week. I have a hard time not responding with this simple statement: Eat it.
|Chard growing in the morning light.|
CSA fields tend to be a bit messier than home gardens,
but we still manage to grow the good stuff!
That isn't meant to be flippant. It's just that, well, that's what I do with it. In my house we munch on raw greens just because they're there, make them into salads, and add them to at least half of the dinners we cook. In fact, my family and I like greens so much that I get kind of sad when winter comes and the greens stop growing. So, not only do I eat my greens, I dry kale and chard so that I can eat even more of them later.
I know that the kale chip, oiled and seasoned kale dried for snacking, is pretty hot right now, and those are good, but I am talking about simply drying greens so that they can be added to dishes during the off season.
It is an easy process, and now is the time of year to do it.
I use an electric dehydrator, though you could just as easily use your stove or a solar dehydrator. We use what we have - even if it isn't the most efficient option. A solar dehydrator is certainly on our wish list...
Cut or tear the greens into small pieces and lay them out on the dehydrator tray. Space them evenly, so that they are not touching.
Dry them overnight on the lowest setting. When they are done they will look pretty much they same as they did when you started, just a little duller and more velvety, and they will be crisp.
|Well dried Kale.|
|Crisp Rainbow Chard.|
Pack the dried greens into jars, close the jars tightly, and the greens will keep all winter long.
|Dried kale, ready for a season of storage.|
The recipe below is almost as easy as the drying itself. It makes a hearty breakfast, a satisfying lunch, or a comforting low key dinner. It really just depends on how you look at things. You can also throw a handful of the dried greens into many of your standard dishes. I suggest starting with spaghetti sauce. Once you see how tasty that is, go from there. Be extremely creative.
This can also be made with one or two leaves of fresh kale or chard cut into bite sized pieces.
Oatmeal with Dried Greens, Chicken Stock, and Root Vegetables
- One cup steel cut oats
- One cup thinly cut root vegetables - I used carrots for this version because our neighbor had dropped a bunch off for us (look how huge!). Celeriac and parsnips are also divine here.
- 1/2 cup crumbled dried kale or chard, plus more for serving
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock - Vegetable stock or water works too if you want to go vegetarian.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the stock or water to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Stir in all of the other ingredients.
- Turn the heat down to simmer, cover the pot, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal is fully cooked. Cooking time will vary depending on the oats and your personal texture preferences.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon the oatmeal into serving bowls and top with additional crumbled dried greens.
|It may not be that photogenic, but it is highly tasty and oh so comforting.|