Please go easy on me, this is my first Instructable.
This was our first year growing a garden, and it actually went very well. The kale grew incredibly fast and as you can see there is tons left over at the end of the season.
I didn't know what to do with all of it. There is no way we could eat this much before it went bad, and we don't have anywhere near enough freezer space for all of it so I had to do something.
I decided that dehydrating it and grinding it into a powder would be the best long-term solution and so I gave it a shot and it tasted great! it is really nice in soups and smoothies, even in scrambled eggs.
Step 1: Wash the Leaves
Even if you grow "organic" and don't use pesticides and such you can get all sorts of nasty in your garden over a summer. Birds do their thing, bugs do their thing, various animals hang around your garden... you get the idea. There are also bugs and egg sacks on the leaves that you will likely want to get rid of.
Salt water is the best way to do this.
Cut the leaves to remove the tough stem and throw the leaves in a salt water bath. Put the leaves in a salad spinner and/or pat dry with a towel. This step isn't really necessary but it will decrease your drying time.
Step 2: Dehydrate
Get yourself a cheap dehydrator, or you can use your oven. If you use the dehydrator simply put the leaves on the trays, turn it on and you will be good to go in 2-3 hours.
If you use the oven set the temperature to ~ 38 C(100 F), put the leaves on a cookie sheet (or several) and put them in the oven for 2-3 hours with the door slightly open to let the humid air out.
I chose to do both because I had lots of Kale and a very small dehydrator.
Step 3: Will It Blend?
Take the dry, crunchy leaves and put them in a blender, food processor, or one of those little personal blenders like this on and set it to low. I find rotating the unit to help quite a bit in getting all of the little bits into the blade, as it is spinning so fast that it just blows the extremely light particles around. Stop every now and then to check your work. Flip the entire thing upside down or shake the container a bit to expose the larger pieces. If you have a decent quantity of small particles move to the next step, as we can add the bigger stuff into the next batch.
Step 4: Sift
At this point I took a pot and a splatter screen and used these to sift the powder. You can use pretty much any type of screen to do this but this was there and seemed to do the trick.
Carefully move the screen around to get the powder to sift through. Move too fast and the material will fall off the edge of the screen and you have to start over. A flour sifter might actually work better for this.
Pour the left over pieces back into your blender/cup for the next round of dehydration.
Pour the powder into a masonry jar or the like and store in a cool, dry place.
Step 5: The Best Part.
The powder you see here is after about 5 rounds of drying, and is about 1/3 of the garden so far. The jar is 1L. I am am considering trying this with other veggies, like lettuce, and starting a little stockpile.
My son tried a bit and insisted I give him some in a bowl with a spoon. I love that weird little guy.