Kale chips may be the biggest new sensation on the snack market. With the feverish pursuit of health, kale chips were bound to happen. I can consume a rather pricey bag of these chips in ten minutes, still wanting more. How about you?
The answer to this dilemma is to make your own kale chips. This is absurdly easy to do and if you have kale growing in your organic garden, you are set. Turning out a daily batch of kale chips can become as routine as brushing your teeth.
Preparing The Kale For Kale Chips
Tear the leafy part from the stem in 1-2 inch pieces. Toss the stems into the compost. They are tough and somewhat bitter.
Wash the leafy kale as you would any green. Fill a large bowl with cold water. I use one of those over-sized stainless steel nesting bowls. Swish the greens in the water for a moment and then lift them out to a collandar. Check the bottom of the bowl for grit. You probably have some. Dump the water and the grit. Refill the bowl and repeat the washing process until the water comes clean.
Put the kale through a salad spinner to dry it as much as possible.
Toss the kale into a large bowl. Consider using the wash bowl that has been rinsed and dried.
Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over the kale and toss until every piece of kale is thoroughly coated. Add more oil if needed. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. You can also experiment with different seasonings like garlic powder and chili powder. There is no end to the possibilities.
To make the chips themselves, you can use an oven or a dehydrator. Both methods work quite well, though we do have a preference for the low-heat dehydrator.
Option 1: Baking the Kale
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the kale out on a cookie sheet with sides. Do not overload the sheet. There will be some overlap with the kale pieces but they should not be piled up.
Bake for about 15 minutes and then start watching carefully. Some of the kale will already be baked and crispy, some not. Pull out those chips that are done. This leaves more room for the kale that is still in process. Stay close. The final kale finishes up quickly.
Pile the kale chips in a serving bowl and enjoy. Initially the chips are as crispy as what you pull out of a bag at the health food store. Sogginess will eventually set in. How soon the chips become soggy will depend on your atmospheric conditions. Plan to serve the chips for one meal. Any leftovers can be re-crisped for the next meal.
Option 2: Dehydrating Your Kale Chips
If you have a food dehydrator, by all means use it for your kale chips. The low heat protects precious nutrients lost to the baking process. Dehydrating is super easy. It takes more time to crisp, but there is no danger of burning your kale as you would have if you baked your kale chips.
Follow the preparation directions above.
Scatter the kale pieces on the shelves of your dehydrator. Work at having the kale pieces not touch each other. This ensures even drying.
Set the dehydrator to 118 degrees.
The drying process takes about 12 hours. If you popped the kale into the dehydrator in the evening, your chips will be ready to go in the morning.
Check the chips as you remove them from the dryer trays. The kale chips should be quite crisp. If not, give them some additional time in the dehydrator.
If your kale chips last long enough to get limp, just pop them back into the food dehydrator for a freshening up.