Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Dehydrate Spinach and Swiss Chard

Lay spinach or Swiss chard leaves on dehydrator tray
I always seems to have more fresh spinach and Swiss chard than I can use in a week or so. I belong to an organic food coop and have a standing order for both these nutritious veggies but I need to use them fairly quickly to get the most value from them.

I use lots of Swiss chard and spinach in my daily green smoothie so I wondered if perhaps I could just dehydrate them and add them in dried form. It turns out I can easily dehydrate both spinach and Swiss chard.

Dehydrating veggies and fruits retains much of the nutritional value of these foods, plus dried fruit and vegetables takes up much less space in your pantry.

How to Dehydrate Spinach and Swiss chard.

These leafy vegetables are easy to dehydrate. 
  • Wash with water and pat dry
  • Cut thick stems from leafy parts
  • Chop stems into one inch pieces - You can dehydrate these too and toss them into soups and stews!
  • Lay leaves loosely on the trays of your dehydrator, allowing space for air flow around leaves. I usually put the stems and thicker pieces on the bottom rack so they get the most heat.
  • Set your dehydrator on 105 degrees
  • Allow veggies to dry for several hours. Check after about 4 hours and then every hour or so thereafter to find the time when they are crisp and all the moisture is evaporated.
  • Once your spinach or Swiss chard is dried, put it into a zip lock plastic bag and store out of sunlight. I usually label my bags with the contents and date so I use the oldest first.
It's easy to grow spinach and Swiss chard in a small garden space.

How to Use Dehydrated Spinach and Swiss Chard
  • Add dehydrated veggies to your morning smoothie like I do. I usually crumble them into powdery form first.
  • Add to soups and stews, then add a little more water to the broth because the dried veggies will absorb some liquid.
  • Add to stir fry
  • Crumble and add to bread or muffin mixes before you bake them
  • Crumble and add to salads as a topping.
Just about anyplace you'd use fresh spinach or Swiss chard, you can also use the dehydrated version.

Every since I learned how to dehydrate spinach and Swiss chard, I have a constant fresh supply of these nutritious veggies.  It's easy to grow these cold weather crops in a small garden area too. In this small bed pictured, I have some beets, collards, Swiss chard, mustard, parsley and fennel growing.

No comments: