Dateline: 27 January 2015
Salad Flakes, from Machado Farms
I was nearly seven years ago that I blogged about Rick Machado's excellent agripreneurial idea of Salad Flakes. If you are not familiar with Salad Flakes, and you are looking for some homestead-based, cottage industry inspiration, check out that link. Rick Machado is a down-to-earth innovator and I think innovation is an important part of making it as a small-scale farmer these days.
As my old essay shows, I made some of my own dried greens, much like Rick's Salad Flakes. I utilized them as a homegrown nutritional supplement, especially in the winter months. But for the next five winters after that, I had no dried greens.
Not until last summer did I finally get around to "putting up" some garden greens again for the winter, and I'm now having a good dose of them every day. I typically mix them into plain yogurt, with some granola and maple syrup. Occasionally I'll put a pinch of dried greens between my cheek and gum, let them slowly rehydrate in my mouth, and enjoy the flavor (dried beet greens are especially nice for this).
In addition to making some dried greens last summer, I took some pictures of the process (click pictures to see enlarged views)....
|First, grow some greens.|
|Next, pick a pail of greens.|
Here we have a pail of beet greens.
(my favorite kind of greens)
|This picture shows my greens "colander." It's made with a piece |
of porous fabric suspended inside a clean pail. Note the
high-class clothespins (ClassicAmericanClothespins.com).
|I wash the greens by putting them into a pail |
full of clean water, then agitating the greens.
Particles of soil on the greens will settle
to the bottom of the pail.
|After agitating the greens in the water, I let them set for |
a minute or two and take them out. This picture shows
the water after a first washing.
|When washed greens are removed from the bucket, |
they are placed in the fabric colander.
|The colander fabric is square in shape. Fold the corners |
up and you have a tidy bundle like this
picture shows. Now you can swing the bundle around
some and centrifugal force will remove most of the water.
|I wash and rinse three times. The pail on the right was |
the first wash water. The pail on the left was the
second wash water. Notice that pail on the right has dirty
water, while the pail on the left (2nd wash water)
has cleaner and greener water.
|This picture shows a pail of beet greens after the third and final |
washing.They are a bit bruised, but clean.
|I heap the washed greens on a dehydrator tray, like this.|
|One pail of picked and washed greens will fit into my |
Equiflow food dehydrator as shown here.
|A few hours later (not long) the greens will be dried and crispy. |
Note that they are still green. I keep
the heat down low to preserve the nutrients.
|Here you can better see the nicely-dried beet greens.|
|I put the dried greens in a bowl and crumble them by hand.|
|This picture shows the beet green stems that aren't fully dry. |
They don't crumble and are easily removed.
|I put the crumbled beet greens into a canning jar.|
|One pail of picked beet greens, dried and crumbled, |
will fill a quart canning jar half way.
|This pail of fresh-picked kale was |
dried in like manner.
The industrial system has done a very good job of training their consuming herds to think that the best nutritional supplements are "scientifically formulated" and neatly packaged. Surely, these well-presented products are superior to a nutritional product, like dried greens, that any gardener can easily make himself, or so the marketing geniuses would have us believe.
I don't buy it.
I believe that something as simple and good as homemade dried greens are far better than any synthetic daily multivitamin you can buy in a store.
Homemade dried greens are also practically free, but they do take some time and effort to make.