Using Excess Greens from the Garden

Sometimes the garden puts out more excess greens than you can handle at once. Check out these creative ways to use them and save them for later.

Sometimes the garden puts out more excess greens than you can handle at once. Check out these creative ways to use them and save them for later.

Using excess greens from the garden

There are a ton of types of greens you can grow in the garden. Kale, swiss chard, cabbage and spinach are delicious raw or cooked. Did you know you can eat carrot greens and radish tops too? Greens that need some cooking are wonderful too. Mustard greens collard greens, turnip greens, broccoli and cauliflower leaves are a wonderful addition to the table.

This post may contain affiliate links; I’ll earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase.



Greens are delicious, but sometimes I don’t want them every single day. When the garden is putting out a ton of them, it’s time to get creative in ways to use the excess greens. I don’t like any nutrition to go to waste, especially if I put effort into growing it.

Smoothies

Whether you are a newbie to green smoothies or a green smoothie lover, this one is sure to tantalize your taste buds with the goodness of greens with tropical flavors. Tropical Green Smoothie

Have kids or a spouse who won’t eat green things? Sneak it in with some berries in this sneaky green smoothie and they’ll never know!

This sweet smoothie bowl gives you a tasty green boost without making you feel like you’re eating grass.

excess greens from radishes in the garden

Salads

Kale salad with mango, avocado, and feta. Full of flavor, this salad is perfect as a side dish, or a vegetarian meal.

Easy spinach salad

Kale and wheat berry salad with tahini dressing

This healthy vegan Kale Apple Salad is quick, easy, and delicious as a side dish, or add a protein to make it the main dish!

Bacon and orange juice are just the addition that kale needs to make your family beg you to make this kale and bacon salad over and over.

Soups

This healthy, gluten-free white bean and kale soup gets an extra boost of flavor from smoked fish, and is a quick and easy dinner option.

This soup uses moringa but kale, spinach, or chard can be used as a substitute – basically use use whatever green you have. Sausage, potato and green soup

Made using frozen collard greens, this soup is easy to prepare and makes a great weeknight dinner, especially on a chilly autumn evening! 

A fun soup for adults and kids, with lots of colors and textures. American Wedding Soup in the instant pot! 

Pad See Ew is a wonderful street food of Thailand, found in the open markets using broccoli leaves.

Other dishes using excess greens

If you have a bunch of fresh carrots, don’t waste those beautiful, edible greens! Instead, make carrot top pesto! Get the easy recipe here, plus ideas for how to use it! 

Creamy Indian spiced mustard greens called “Sarson Ka Saag”

Easy tasty Black-Eyed Peas And Collard Greens Croquettes

Collard Green Wraps with Tofu

excess greens from broccoli and swiss chard in the garden

Sautéed greens

Any greens are delicious sautéed. I like to take a slice of bacon and cut it into small pieces. Cook it until it’s crispy and remove it from the pan. Then I add a chopped onion to the pan and cook until translucent. Next, add the greens that you have already chopped into small pieces. Cook and stir until they are tender. Spinach and swiss chard take just a minute to cook, cabbage and kale take about 5 minutes, and most of the others take 20 minutes or so to soften up. Once they are soft enough to chew, toss the bacon back in and mix.

Dehydrated vegetables

Dehydrating vegetables is a wonderful way to preserve them to use later. They lose very little nutrition, other than Vitamin C and they will keep for months. Investing in a good dehydrator is a great way to safe a ton of food, but with greens, you don’t even have to use one.

paper sack full of drying greens

Dehydrating Greens

Before you dehydrate your greens, wash them well and dry completely. You can either gather them up by the stems and tie them in bundles to hang to dry, or you can remove the stems and chop them into small pieces and put them in a paper sack. Every few days, shake the sack to stir them up and in a few weeks, you’ll have dried greens.

greens drying on rack outside

To store the greens, take your bundles down and break them off the stems, or if you used bags you don’t even have to do that, they are ready to go. We dry lots of greens to make green powder to sprinkle in our food all winter long to add nutrients. You don’t even notice they are there, but they give you a boost.

excess greens from chinese cabbage in the garden

Best food dehydrator

If you want to use a dehydrator to dry your greens faster, get one that has plenty of room because greens start out big. They contain a lot of water, so they shrink a lot, but they take up a lot of room to begin with. The best dehydrator is the one you have. If you don’t have one, use your oven on the lowest temperature.

I always hear the excalibur dehydrator recommended the most. 

I use my bread proofer which is 100 degrees to dehydrate food. If your oven won’t go under 130 degrees, you can turn it on the lowest temp and then turn it off. You’ll have to repeat the process a few times, but you don’t want to dehydrate your food at a temperature above 130.

Freezing Greens

You can freeze greens and get a similar product to use in food. First, wash them well and remove the stems. Then cut the greens into bite size pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the greens for 30 seconds, then drop them into a bowl of ice water for at least a minute. Drain the greens and place them into freezer containers. I like to freeze them in 1 cup portions so they are easy to use. You can also freeze them in ice cube trays for even smaller portions.

Freezing spinach

Freezing spinach is similar to other greens. You don’t HAVE to blanch spinach first if you’re going to use it within 6 months. If you plan to store it longer, go ahead and blanch it first.

Freezing Kale

Kale freezes the same as other greens. There are so many ways you can freeze greens. You can either freeze it in large portions in zip lock bags, or freeze it in small pucks in ice cube trays. These are great for smoothies. You can also freeze your excess greens in small bunches on a cookie sheet and then toss them into bags when frozen.



Another way to freeze greens is to blend them into a liquid type state and freeze that in ice cube trays. This gives you a smoother product to drop into smoothies, soups or stews.

Greens are so versatile and so nutritious. There are a ton of ways to use excess greens from the garden but they all add up to delicious! Don’t let any more greens go to waste. It just takes a few minutes to turn that leftover stuff you don’t know what to do with into a delicious resource for later.

For more fresh garden recipe inspiration, click on this picture of the 2020 Farm to Table Recipe Calendar and get your copy today!

Calendar with recipes for 2020 on a wooden fence

Don’t forget to pin for later

Sometimes the garden puts out more excess greens than you can handle at once. Check out these creative ways to use them and save them for later.

The more you read and the earlier you start, the better for children’s learning. Discover the importance of reading to your child.

Importance of Reading to Your Child

The more you read and the earlier you start, the ...
Read More
CACFP Meal Pattern-Meat and Meat Alternates

CACFP Meal Pattern-Meat and Meat Alternates

Do you tire of the same ole proteins for your ...
Read More
I love making my own mixes to know what's in my food. This homemade ranch seasoning mix is great for dry rub, marinade, making ranch dressing and ranch dip. 

How to Make Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix

I love making my own mixes to know what's in ...
Read More
This frozen meatball recipe is a kid-pleaser. They are stuffed with hidden nutrition and I make a ton of them and freeze them so they're ready.

Frozen Meatball Recipe for Bulk Cooking

This frozen meatball recipe is a kid-pleaser. They are stuffed ...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.