When I watched the Growing Your Greens video for dehydrating vegetable chips, I was intrigued. John was plucking all sort of leaves, not just kale. This was new for me even though we have made kale chips. Then he proceeded to season those leaves like they were the next fast food item to be offered at Whole Foods. Amazing!
I was amazed but did nothing with my new-found knowledge until last week. The broccoli plants in my garden were needing extraction to make way for new vegetable plants. While the broccoli was done producing little flowerettes, each plant had an abundance of healthy tender leaves. I decided to put John’s method to a test.
The process is quick and straightforward — so simple your kids could do it. Six hours later we were eating crispy seasoned broccoli chips and marveling over how sweet they were. We ate and kept eating. How could a food this fun be so healthy? With the low temperature used in dehydrating, these broccoli chips are considered raw by many people. Most of the nutrients are still intact.
To make your own, start by watching John’s video linked above. He delivers loads of information and inspiration. Then follow these steps:
- Decide what you have available in your garden. John did not strip any plant clean of leaves like I did the broccoli plants. Choose two or three from each plant.
- Wash the leaves and let them dry. To speed the drying process, tear the leaves into your desired size and run them through a salad spinner. (I cleaned those broccoli leaves the lazy cook’s way. Hours before plucking the leaves, I washed the plants down with a spray nozzle and let them dry standing like soldiers in their little bed. This was a real time saver.)
- Put the dried leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Toss, toss, toss. You want each leaf to be coated with oil but not dripping.
- Sprinkle on a bit of sea salt and desired seasoning. I had a sample envelope of organic steak seasoning and decided to use it. It was quite tasty. You could opt for garlic powder, curry powder, and on and on. Sprinkle the seasoning lightly and toss some more. Go for an even distribution of the seasoning.
- Lay the leaves out on the dehydrator trays. Do not overlap the leaves as you arrange them.
- If your dehydrator sheets have holes in them, place a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the dehydrator to catch oil drips in case there are any. I had none, but you never know.
- Dehydrate your leaves for about eight hours at 120 degrees. Check from time to time for doneness. The finished chip will be crispy and tender. The dehydrating time can vary depending on what leaves you have chosen, on the humidity, on the size of the leaf pieces, among other variables. Check from time to time.
- Pile the chips onto a platter for all the family munchers. The chips will begin to lose their crispness within a few hours. Simply return them to the dehydrator for an hour or so for more crispness. An approach that works for us is to set the serving bowl of chips into the oven with just the pilot light heat. In an hour or so the crunch is back.
- Wash the dehydrator trays clean of oil and seasonings. What tastes great on your vegetable chips may not blend well with your fruit leather. When I know that I will only be doing chips for the next week or so, I just wipe down the trays to remove excess oil and save the bath for later.