How to Dehydrate Greens and Herbs and Make Homemade Green Powder
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Preserving the harvest is a great way to get more out of your garden! Sometimes the garden gives a ton of surplus. Learning to dehydrate greens and herbs is a great way to preserve vital nutrients and flavors for later use. It’s a great way to use excess greens from the garden.
A few weeks ago, I harvested a ton of excess herbs and greens that were not being used in the garden. I wanted to find a way to save them to use throughout the year when there are not as many wonderful things to eat from the garden.
Find out more about how to start an herb garden here.
I used some of the basil to make a nut-free version of Pesto, and the kids and I used some of it to make some yummy kale chips. But I still had bunches of herbs and greens to use, so I decided to dehydrate them.
Drying herbs dehydrator
Dehydrated foods take up less space for storage, lose very little nutritional value, and are easy to store without the use of electricity. You can dehydrate greens in no time and have a powerhouse of nutrition to use later.
Preserving the Harvest: Drying Herbs and Greens
To dehydrate greens or herbs, wash them thoroughly and spin them dry. You can dehydrate kale, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli or cauliflower leaves, turnip and mustard greens, radish greens, lettuce, arugula and so much more. Any greens you have going to waste in your garden can be dried and used later.
Dehydrated greens: swiss chard, spinach, collard greens or any kind of greens
Dry the greens thoroughly. Dry greens take less time to dehydrate. You can dehydrate greens and herbs in your oven, but I like the dehydrator because it uses less electricity and doesn’t heat up the house as much. The mix of greens will dehydrate in just a few hours.
When the greens are dry, you can place them in a large paper bag and crunch them up into a powder. For a finer powder, you can also grind them up in the blender.
Drying herbs without a dehydrator
You can easily dehydrate herbs in a paper sack to save electricity and heat in the house. Herbs dry great like this. I am going to mix my dried herbs and make my own Italian seasoning mix to use throughout the year and give as Christmas gifts.
Another electricity-free way of drying herbs and greens is using a sun oven. Click here to see how you can dehydrate herbs or greens in a sun oven.
You know what else? If you don’t have a sun oven, you can even dehydrate your herbs and greens in your CAR! Click here to see how to do it. I bet it makes your car smell GREAT too!
Bunch a handful of herbs in your hand and tie them with a string or rubber band. Set them in a paper bags that has slits cut in it.
Bunch up the end of the bad including the herb stems in the bunch and tie a string around it. Hanging the bag helps air get to all sides of the herbs through the slits cut in the bag and helps the herbs dehydrate without getting moldy. The bag keeps the herbs from getting dusty as well.
Hang up for a couple of weeks and the herbs will be crisp and ready to crunch with your fingers and place in airtight jars for storage. Carefully strip the herbs from the stems and place them in your jars.
DIY Powdered Greens Superfood
What can you do with green powder once you make it? It’s a superfood! Dehydrating greens preserves most of the nutrients with the exception of some of the vitamin C. It’s a great nutritional supplement. Just sprinkle it in or on whatever you’re cooking.
If you have picky eaters, green powder is a great way to hide vegetables in their food. A serving of greens dries down to just a few teaspoons of powder. You can hide it in your pizza or spaghetti sauce or mix it with eggs. It looks like herbs and you can’t taste it. Meatloaf and meatballs are great places to use it too.
Click here for more ways to hide nutrients for picky eaters.
I feel good about boosting the nutrients in the food I serve with green powder. And my excess greens aren’t going to waste. I feel like a superstar. Also, I know we can use that nutrition when the garden season is over. Wintertime is when we need it most.
You can also chop it up and freeze it in one cup portions to drop into soups and casseroles.
Dehydrating Greens for Easy Nutrition All Winter Long
What are some ways you preserve the harvest? Here are tons more ideas for using excess food from your garden.
And check out these other ideas for reusing food scraps instead of throwing them away.
And check out these how to grow articles too:
- How to grow kale in your garden
- How to grow kale in containers
- How to grow spinach
- How to grow radishes (you can eat the tops as greens)
- How to grow carrots (and carrot tops too!)
For more herb gardening basics, check this out.
I have a “related” question:
Can you suggest 2 or 3 crops for my community garden plot that would be absolutely avoided by “poachers” but nutritious for me?
Hmmm, that’s a tough question. It really depends on the poachers and what they like and what they know about plants. I would think something that doesn’t look as appealing or as common as other plants such as greens (but many people do like them too). It’s frustrating to grow things and have someone else take them. I’m sorry you’re experiencing that. What a bummer. Maybe things that grow under the ground would be more hidden like turnips, beets, radishes, carrots, and potatoes? Sweet potatoes might be stolen if someone is brazen enough to dig them up, but the vines are edible and nutritious too, so maybe you could get one or the other from the crop? I would definitely steer clear of the common popular things like tomatoes, fruit, peppers, and cucumbers that everyone knows what they are at a glance. Spikey things like artichokes and okra might be good since they are a little painful to harvest. I’m rooting for you. I hope you are able to secure your food. I hope they don’t realize that it’s not a free for all and it’s just a mistake that they are taking your harvest.
Another idea for getting some vitamin C into your green powder is by adding dried okra. It’s super easy. I cut the okra into about 1 inch pieces, and then cut these length-wise in half. In my dehydrator, it takes 4-5 hours at 130 degrees for them to dry completely. Okra is super healthy for you in other ways, as well!
Another great idea. Thanks.
Re roses/vitamin C – meant to say NO pesticides!
For the vitamin C, I add dried rose petals. I grow my own roses, so commercial pesticides to worry about. I cut (dead head) the roses just before they start looking not so great. I dry them upside down. They dry quickly. I store them in a large clear jar. Beautiful mixture of colors, and a wonderful smell when the jar opened! I use some for tea and others the grind/powder to add to my greens. Enjoy!
Superb content you have right here.
We love dried or freeze dried herbs. Such a great resource!
Thank you for checking it out!
I started an herb garden this year and thank you for this information. I want to do this and am excited to see the ending product when it is done. I look forward to using my own home grown herbs this Fall and Winter!
You’re so welcome, i’m glad it was useful.
great idea for green smoothies
Thanks for checking it out!
Thank You, I am glad I stumbled along on your blog. This is exactly something I was looking for. I want to learn more about herbs and how to store them this so helpful. Thanks
It’s so fun to learn new things. I’m glad you liked it. Thank you for reading!
Thanks a lot , this is the best way of preserving food mostly the nutrients.
Yes, not much nutrition is lost in drying like some other “cooking” methods. Some Vitamin C is lost, but not a lot of anything else. Thanks for reading! 🙂
This is a great way to preserve the harvest! I have never considered drying greens, but it seems like a great way to add some nutritional punch to lots of food during the winter.
Thanks for sharing.
It worked great. Thanks for reading!
Thank you for the ideas and step-by-step tutorial. Dried herbs are so expensive and these are basically free. I’ve never had dried greens, but I would love to sneak more spinach and any kale at all into my daughter’s diet.
Free is awesome! AND they are package free. 🙂 I have used the green powder in the kid’s food several times with no detection. 😉 Every little bit helps.
Very cool tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks! And thank you for reading!