Daily Archives: November 4, 2010

Dehyrating Greens – Rainbow Chard

My dehydrator has been on overdrive due to a surge in my end of season preservation. This year instead of freezing my greens I decided to dehydrate them. Not only will this save on space but also requires less energy since they do not have to be kept frozen.
I’m so smitten with Rainbow Chard. I think it is absolutely stunning and I have major plans of making this chenopod a feature in next year’s edible landscaping! 
Earlier in the week I started harvesting my Rainbow Chard. I first de-stemmed it, then cut the greens into strips. I submerged it in a sink of cold water and swished it around a good bit to remove any extra dirt hidden in the curly leaves, then placed it into gallon ziplocks. I ended up with 2 very full bags.
Whether you are freezing or dehydrating greens you first need to blanch them (with either boiling water or steam) until wilted. This stops the enzymes from breaking down the nutrients as well as retards the loss of color, taste and texture. I chose steam to retain the maximum amount of vitamins. Using tongs I carefully rotated the chard to insure even wilting. 
Once the greens were wilted I placed them on my dehydrator trays keeping them no more than a quarter-inch thick.
I set the heat dial to the recommended setting and left for a photo shoot with my brother’s band. (I’ll be sure to share that on my photography blog…eventually!) When I returned four hours later this is what I found.
Perfectly crisp and crunchy chard!
Over a large bowl I crumbled the greens by hand, then scooped them into my grinder to powder them. I could have used a mortar and pestle as well but this was way faster and I had over 500 picture to start going through!
Four trays of greens yields a measly inch or so in powdered form. Guess it’s a good thing it is so potent! I plan to add the powdered chard to soups, stews and curries. I’m sure it will also be good sprinkled on baked potatoes as well as an excellent vitamin boost when added to smoothies!
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