Like smoothies? Make this healthy powder to add to them and boost your nutrients

Karen Smith with dehydrated greens from her garden.

My very healthy friend Karen Smith makes her own powdered green drink. I was so impressed that I asked her if she would teach me how she does it and let me take photos. She was kind enough to teach me, and now I dehydrate everything I can get my hands on to make a powder to use in the winter when homegrown organic greens are not available. In the past, I bought powdered greens to add to smoothies. Making my own will save a lot of money.

Smith dehydrates her greens, powders them and puts them in labeled, dated zip-top bags. Then she stores all the bags in a 5-gallon bucket.

When Smith makes smoothies, she adds 1 tablespoon of her powdered greens to the drink. Not only does it save a lot of money, it also ensures that the greens are organic and full of enzymes that have not been killed in processing. This is a very healthy practice because the more alkaline our bodies are, the more we can prevent diseases such as diabetes and cancer. One way to make sure disease is an unwelcome guest in our bodies is to alkalize by drinking green drinks. I like to add stevia and a half of an apple blended into my green drinks to make them sweeter and more palatable.

You can dehydrate anything that you have grown in your garden or purchased from a farmers market. Deep leafy green vegetables create alkaline body chemistry and are rich in chlorophyll, which facilitates oxygen circulation. The fruits and vegetables that are the highest in antioxidants and most nutritious to dehydrate are: collard greens, turnip greens, kale, spinach, arugula, chard, lettuce of all kinds, dandelion greens, carrot tops, beet greens, beets, radish tops, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, cilantro, celery, comfrey, cucumber and cabbage.

Fruits can also be dehydrated and powdered. The fruits with the highest antioxidants are pomegranates, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, persimmons and plums.

Smith made kale powder for me, but the process is the same or any leafy green vegetable or fruit. Just about anything you can put into a salad can be dehydrated and used to make smoothies. You can also add the powder to soups, stews, meatloaf, pasta dishes and anything else you can think of. It is a good way to sneak produce into meals by disguising them so children will eat them.

Directions for making kale powder

Step 1: Pick the kale. Pick the largest and outer leaves on the plant. Leave the smaller inner leaves on so they will continue growing. You can get several pickings throughout the season if you do this. If you don’t have kale in your garden, buy a bunch at the grocery store.

kale

Step 2: Wash the kale either in a sink or in a plastic tub inside the bathtub. Each leaf needs to be washed separately and examined to make sure there are no bugs or dirt on the leaves of the kale. I like to put 20 drops of ION per gallon in the tub of rinse water. ION will kill harmful bacteria that may be on the plant. ION is also a water treatment.

washing kaleStep 3: Dry the leaves on a towel.

drying kaleStep 4: Remove the kale leaves from the stems.

de-stemming kaleStep 5: Fill a bowl with kale leaves torn into small pieces.

kale in a bowlStep 6: Place the kale leaves on the dehydrator trays. The leaves will shrink to about one-fourth of their size when dehydrated. Leave an empty space in between the trays so they will dry faster and you can pile them up higher.

dehydrating kaleStep 7: Dehydrate the kale leaves. Never dehydrate any vegetable or fruit higher than 105 degrees because enzymes are killed at the higher temperatures. Most dehydrators have a temperature gauge. It takes about eight to 12 hours for the kale leaves to dry until they are crispy. Keep checking them and remove them when they are completely dry and crunch when you smash them. If they dry too long, they can burn and will have a bad flavor.

Step 8: When the leaves are crispy, put them into a bowl and crunch them up with your hands.

crunching dried kaleStep 9: Put the finely crushed leaves into the blender and pulse them until they turn into a fine powder. I like to use my Vitamix because it does a great job of powdering the kale. A cheap blender might overheat and could ruin the blades.

kale in a blenderStep 10: Store the powder in zip-top baggies that are labeled and dated. Store the baggies of powder in a 5-gallon bucket or a plastic container of some kind.

5-gallon bucket with powdered greensGreen powder

To make green powder, combine 1/4 cup of each of the different greens you have dehydrated and mix them together in a glass jar or container. Add about 1 tablespoon of the green powder to smoothies.

You can purchase dehydrated live greens

If you prefer, you can purchase a certified organic, commercially dehydrated jar of Real Live Instant Juice. Parashaunt Live Greens are non-GMO and have no preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, fillers or artificial additives, colors or flavorings. Each jar contains 225 grams or 90 servings of probiotic-cultured greens such as alfalfa, barley, wheat and oat grass, peppermint, spinach, parsley, yucca, and stevia for sweetener.

Enjoy your green smoothies.

–Peggy Layton

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Peggy Layton