You don't need a dehydrator to start your raw journey. When I first started mine though, I thought you did. So I bought one and it sat in a box in my closet for close to three years, virtually un-touched.
Then one summer, after visiting Karyn's Fresh Corner in Chicago, I found a recipe that I knew would be simple and tasty enough that it would inspire me to open up that closet and put my $159.99 machine to work. Kale Crisps in the house!
Now, if you're just starting your raw journey I don't recommend that you go out and get a dehydrator. Instead, that money is better spent on a high quality blender - like a Vita Mix or Blendtec. When you're starting off it's very easy to get caught in the trap of eating mostly dehydrated transition raw foods. Not having a dehydrator will force you to get smart and real with your food.
Plus, you don't know how many raw foodies buy a dehydrator, thinking they will use it, and then leave it chillin in a closet somewhere - like me! But if you did make that mistake and you're looking for a reason to put that bad boy to work... well, here you go.
Kale Crisps, or kale chips as some call them, are a simple dehydrated snack food made out of kale. Not only do they taste great, but they are an excellent way to get anyone comfortable with eating and enjoying more greens.
There are a few variations on the recipe, but I'm going to show you how to make the simplest version around.
These steps may look like many, but what I've found is the more step-by-step a recipe is, the more likely people will want to try it. Why? Because you see just how easy it is. You can imagine yourself following through on each step.
This entire recipe, excluding dehydrating time, will take you 15 to 20 minutes to put together.
Ingredients (all organic)
- 2 bunches of kale (Dino or Curly)
- Olive oil or Coconut Oil or Flax Oil
- Celtic Sea Salt
- 1/2 a lemon
- Raw Honey or Raw Agave
Step 1: Wash and dry your kale.
Step 2: Bust out your dehydrator.
Step 3: Get a large mixing bowl ready.
Step 4: Line up your ingredients like you mean business.
Step 5: Chop your Kale. I'm using dino kale here and I prefer to have it chopped into 2 inch chunks. Small enough to be infused with flavor, large enough to stay together after being exposed to the heat of the dehydrator. If you're feeding kale crisps to kids for the first time it may be worth it to de-stem the kale. I prefer the stems in.
Step 6: Throw your chopped kale into your mixing bowl.
Step 7: Take about 1/4 or so of a cup of olive oil or coconut oil or flax oil and pour it over the chopped kale.
Step 8: Take 1 tea spoon of salt and throw it over the kale. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the kale too. Massage the salt, olive oil and lemon into the kale for about 3 minutes. I suggest massaging the kale before you toss the honey or agave on so that the kale starts to break down a bit. When the salt and lemon starts break down the kale, it makes it easier for the kale to absorb the sweetness of the honey.
If the kale seems a bit dry you can always add a little more oil into the mix.
Step 9: After you've massaged your kale for a few minutes, take about 1 table spoon of honey or agave and slowly drizzle it over the massaged kale.
Step 10: Now that they honey or agave is on the massaged kale, massage everything together once more for another 3 minutes. Really work the flavors into the kale with your hands. If you've done your job right, the massaged kale will take up about half the space that the plain kale took up in the mixing bowl.
How do you know the kale is ready? If you take a piece and eat it, it should taste good if not freaking great on it's own - without the use of the dehydrator. If it taste great before it goes into the dehydrator, it will be fantastic when it comes out. If you want more flavor you can always add a little more salt or lemon.
Step 11: Now that the kale is all massaged and ready to go, place it evenly over your dehydrator trays. Two bunches of kale will probably take up 2 dehydrator trays. Close up the dehydrator and flip the on switch.
Dehydrating Method 1: Kale Crisps, at 115 degrees F, will take about 8 hours or so before they are ready. It's tempting, but try to keep your hands out dehydrator until the kale starts to become crispy.
Dehydrating Method 2: In his book, Rainbow Green Live-Food Cusine, Dr. Gabriel Cousens talks about a study his masters team did on dehydrating. The team showed that certain foods can be dehydrated at 145 degrees F for the first 1 to 2 hours and then be brought down to 115 degree F without harming the enzymes.
It turns out that many foods "sweat" when first exposed to heat and the moisture of the sweat keeps the food item cool and the enzymes complete even a temperatures higher than 115 F. To be honest, I forgot if kale was on that list, but that's what I've been doing. 145 degrees F for 1 hour and then 115 degrees for 4 to 5 hours. This cuts about 2 to 3 hours off the dehydrating time. I've tried both methods and the kale tastes the same.
Step 12: 6 to 8 hours later and we're all done baby! I usually make my Kale Crisps in the morning so that they're ready by evening time.
I treat Kale Crisps as a snack. I don't really rely on them for my daily intake of greens. They are just a fun treat. It's still important to have green juice, green smoothies and kale salads. That being said, if you live with someone who's not down with green leafy vegetables, I've found that introducing them to kale crisps is a great way to get them more accustomed to eating greens.