How to Dehydrate and Powder Greens for Winter

We are fortunate here in Scotland that winter temperatures rarely drop below minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit). And because I have a polytunnel, I can grow fresh greens all year round. But even with the potential for cold season growing, it still makes sense to keep as much of the summer as possible year-round.

I like drying and pulverizing green vegetables that have been grown during the summer months as it’s a useful way to add nutrients to winter soups and stews without necessarily having to brave the elements and harvest greens from the polytunnel. Dried and powdered vegetables take up little space in the pantry and can be very useful when cooking in winter. They can also be a good solution when freezer space is tight.

It’s worth noting that while a dehydrator can be handy, vegetables can be dried for this purpose in your oven or stovetop, or even by air drying in less humid environments. You don’t necessarily need any special equipment for this job.

How to dry greens for the winter

I can dry vegetables from the garden in and above my wood stove. I also like drying some herbs by hanging them in bunches to dry. But I place the greens on wire racks in a warm position with good air circulation or in the oven on low heat. Of course, if you have a dehydrator, you can use that as well. I usually remove the largest and toughest stems and dry the leaves to powder without them. But the straws can also be used and should not be thrown away in a zero-waste home.

Once the greens are completely dry, they will crisp up and break and crumble easily. When storing, care must be taken to ensure that they are completely dry and not partially dehydrated, otherwise they may become moldy.

There are a wide variety of leafy green vegetables that you can use and preserve this way. I often use Brassica plants – not just kale, but also the leaves of broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Other greens that can be preserved this way are beet leaves, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, etc. Dried and powdered onion greens add a mild onion flavor throughout the mixture.

How to pulverize greens

You can place the leaves whole or lightly crumbled in airtight jars to use over the winter months. But I like to use a blender to grind them up into a powder as it takes up less space in jars and results in a powder that can be unobtrusively added to a variety of recipes. If you don’t have a blender or don’t want to use electricity, you can use a mortar and pestle to powder the flakes and pieces of green leaves.

It won’t take long to reduce the bulk of a leafy greens crop to a very small amount. Typically, about a cup of loosely packed dried leaves is reduced to about a tablespoon of powder. This can be very helpful when, like mine, your freezer space and pantry fill up quickly.

Powdered veggies in an airtight jar should last all winter (and maybe up to a year or so) and allow you to add nutrients to a range of recipes during the coldest time of year when less fresh produce is available in your garden.

How to use powdered greens

If there are members of your family who are reluctant to eat leafy greens, then a spoonful or two of powdered veggies is a great way to add something without them even noticing. Even if you and your family like to eat fresh vegetables, adding powdered vegetables is very easy. You can easily reach for a glass when preparing soups, stews, casseroles or other meals. Powdered greens can also be added to smoothies or health drinks. I like to add them to egg dishes like omelettes, frittatas, and quiches.

If you don’t have fresh veggies available from your garden, or if inclement weather means you don’t really feel like taking a trip outside, then a jar of this powder means you can still add nutrients to your meals.

We don’t want to do without our fresh green through the winter. But I definitely find that dried and powdered greens make a great addition to winter supply shelves.

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