We had our very first harvest of the season last Saturday. We’re growing a dinosaur variety of kale and it’s coming up with a vengeance. Seriously, these kale leaves are as big as your head! We woke up early, early, early on Saturday morning to harvest and prep the kale before selling at the DeSoto Farmers Market.Â So we packed up our booth and headed over to the market to sell our kale, herb seedlings and fresh homemade beer bread.
A question that I got asked a lot at the market is, “What do you do with it?” To which I replied, “What can’t you do with it?” In my mind I was thinking “What do you mean? You eat it! DUH!” But for real, you can do so much with kale. I like to prepare kale a number of ways; eaten raw in salads, sauteed with olive oil as a side dish or added into brothy soups. But I think our favorite way to eat kale is by dehydrating it and making kale chips.. which are kinda like diet potato chips. Kale chips satisfies my crunchy, snacky craving but doesn’t leave me full of salty guilt 550 calories later.
You can make kale chips two different ways: baked or dehydrated. I think using a dehydrator is a lot easier because you don’t have to heat up your house by turning on the oven and you lower the risk of burning the kale chips and therefore burning down the house. But either way, prepping the kale chips is the same. Here’s what you do:
1. Wash and dry the kale. Make sure you get out as much moisture as you can so everything will dry out/bake at an even speed.
2. De-stem the kale. I found it’s easiest to fold the kale in half and run your knife along the stem. The, feed the stem to you chickens that are peeping at you from the other room.. or compost it.
3. Cut the kale into even pieces, about 3″ squares. Keep in mind that they’re going to shrink quite a bit in the process.
4. Now comes the fun part; the seasonings! I made a salt and pepper batch, a parmesan garlic batch and a cajun batch. Toss the kale in a bowl with your seasonings and a little EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil).
5. If you’re dehydrating, place the kale in a single layer on your trays. If you’re baking, set your oven to about 200 degrees and spread out your kale in a single layer on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake/dehydrate until your desired level of crispiness.. about 10-15 minutes should do the trick.
6. Throw the chips in a paper bag and store in a cool, dry place. if they even last that long. I caught Dave walking around the front yard with a bag of the salt and pepper chips.
So next time you see kale at your local farmer’s market, give them a try! And next time you’re craving potato chips, try some kale chips. Crunchy, tasty, flavorful and keeps the calories on the low-low.