Thursday, May 26, 2016

Keeping the Greens

   As each garden season comes to an end we find ourselves with a need to preserve. Recent heavy rains have brought parts of our garden to become water-logged driving us to harvest as much as possible before the water and southern heat destroy it.

   After harvesting the greens, I like to give it a nice soak in the sink to clear out bugs, dirt and other not-so-nice's that may be lurking in the little crevices.

   After a nice bath, the greens are placed between two towels; rolled up and given a nice squeeze; they can be run through a salad spinner as well. One thing to be careful of is snails- they tend to hide in the leaves. Snails can carry dangerous parasites, so I like to be extra careful.

   Once the greens are clean and fairly dry they are placed loosely on dehydrator trays; I try to keep from over crowding since any residual moisture will lead to mold and waste. Greens are dehydrated on low temps for 4-6 hours depending on the density and size of the leaf. To speed things up, stems can be removed and leaves torn into smaller pieces. After they are completely dehydrated (crisp) I place them in a colander over a bowl and rub them through the holes until they fall through in a  powdered state. The powdered greens are stored in an airtight container and placed in a dark, dry pantry.
   Dehydrated greens are used to add vitamins and minerals to any dish; stir fries, soups and dips... sprinkled on a salad or tossed in a smoothie. I find they are not overpowering and generally do not effect the flavor of the dish.
   Now when the summer weather kills off the plants we will at least have some of the greens tucked away!!


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