Kale is one of the easiest vegetables to dehydrate. It needs almost no prep work and dries very quickly. Learn how to dry kale using these simple methods!
Kale is one of those superfoods that’s full of antioxidants and vitamins. To add even more benefits, it’s easy to grow and preserve! So whether you have a large crop of kale you need to save or you just don’t want your store-bought kale to go to waste, learning to dry kale at home is invaluable.
Another bonus for dehydrated kale- it makes it super easy to hide this nutritious vegetable in other dishes like soups, rice, sauces, dressings, smoothies and more!
There are 3 different ways you can dry kale at home, so let’s start with my favorite!
(Haven’t ever grown your own kale? Here’s how: How to Grow Kale from Seed. It’s super easy!)
How to Dry Kale in a Dehydrator
An electric dehydrator is my preferred way of drying kale, and here’s why:
- It keeps the kale at a controlled temperature, that’s not too high and won’t cook the nutrients out of your kale.
- It’s quick! You can dry kale in less than 6 hours (that’s short for drying times!)
- There’s no chance of burning the kale
To dry kale, start by washing and thoroughly drying your kale leaves. I’ll admit that I usually skip this step since my kale comes fresh from my organic garden, but you do you.
Lay the leaves on your dehydrator trays in a single layer.
Set the temperature for 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit.
The leaves should take 4-7 hours to dry completely, depending on the humidity and conditions in your home.
Make sure the leaves and stems are 100% completely dry before storing to prevent molding and spoilage. Once the kale is completely dry, turn off the dehydrator and allow the kale to cool to room temperature before storing.
Don’t have a dehydrator? Check out the 11 Best Electric Dehydrators to help you choose one.
How to Dehydrate Kale in Your Oven
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven to dry kale.
The key to dehydrating kale in the oven is to use the lowest temperature possible (or 125 degrees Fahrenheit, if yours goes that low). My oven goes to 145 at the lowest if I use the warming function.
If your oven doesn’t go below 200 degrees, you might want to leave the door open a crack to prevent the kale from getting too hot and burning.
Remove the thick central stem, if desired. Place the clean kale leaves on baking trays in a single layer. Cook in an oven, set on the lowest heat setting, until dry and crispy. You may need to turn the trays and flip the leaves a couple of times to get an even dry.
Allow to cool completely before storing.
How to Air Dry Kale
You can also air dry or use a solar dehydrator to dry kale. This way will take much longer, but it is also free and doesn’t require any special equipment.
To air dry kale, tie together bunches of 3-4 stems. Hand the stems in a place where there is good air flow and low humidity.
It might take 2-3 weeks (or more) for your kale to dry completely, depending on the humidity in your home.
You can also get a hanging, mesh solar dehydrator, to prevent pests or dust from contaminating your kale while it dries.
Again, be sure your kale is 100% dry before storing.
How to Store Dry Kale
Once your kale is completely dry, place it in an air tight, glass container. I prefer mason jars with metal rings/lids since they are air tight and don’t let in any moisture.
I like to crush my leaves before storing, this helps me see that the leaves are completely dry, and it takes up less space in the jar.
You can also run the dry kale through the blender or rub it between your hands to form kale powder.
Store the jar in a cool, dry location that’s not in direct sunlight for maximum shelf life. It should last at least a year if prepared properly.
How to Use Dried Kale
Now that you have lots of dried kale, what should you do with it?? Well, the sky is the limit! That’s the best part about dried kale, you can add it to virtually anything and it’s almost undetectable. It’s the perfect way to get a little more veggies in your (or your kids!) diets.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use dried kale or kale powder:
- Add it to your smoothies- add it with frozen blueberries and you won’t even see the green color!
- Toss it in your soups or stews
- Add a tablespoon or 2 to your rice
- Hide it in your pasta sauce
- Make your own ranch dressing? Add in a little kale for extra nutrition
- Add a bit to your scrambled eggs or omelet
- Don’t crush it and just eat the dried kale like chips! (You might want to season it first!)
Dried kale retains much of it’s original nutrients since it hasn’t been blanched or cooked before drying. You can feel good about saving money by preserving it at home and not letting it go to waste!
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