It’s winter. There’s a lot of kale around. My friend H has been making kale chips using my dehydrator for about the past two years.
So I had to laugh when the newspaper’s food liftout published a recipe for salt n vinegar kale chips. Welcome to the noughties, newsprint.
I had been resisting making my own, because I had thought that this was just so much effort. Then one of the glamourous hippie food stores that I frequent had a new product line opening special: alive & radiant food’s “Kale Crunch”, $4.95 for 63 gram. The special ran for about 6 weeks, enough to get me hooked, and then went back to RRP of $8.95. Ouch.
Yes I know, $78.57/kg versus $142.06/kg is still big bikkies to pay, but it is outrageous!
I started off with the spicy and cheesy kale chips from eating bird food, because the ingredients seemed the closest to the recipe that H had been using, as well as the back of the packets that I had been buying.
The raw ingredients:
Everything I already had in the cupboard, apart from the kale that I had bought from the markets that morning ($3 bunch). The bell pepper/capsicum I grew in the garden.
I found that the mixture was really sticky and left your hands covered in goop. So you need to plan ahead and make sure your baking tray and baking paper (foil is a bad idea) is ready.
There is no shame in licking your hands afterwards. Why let all that tastiness go to waste?
I used about 100 degrees C for one hour for cavalo nero, about 20 minutes for the curly kale. If you forget and use a higher temperature, you get an unpleasant charred burnt flavour throughout your chips.
I made two packets of about 42 grams. I’m not sure how much in electricity or raw ingredients it cost me, but definitely not $6 worth!
Here is the actual kale, after it has been dried:
Make half the amount of mixture. It was way too much for my bunch of kale. I also only used about 3/4 bunch of the kale – that’s all I could fit into my zip log bags.
The kale chips go stale/soggy quite quickly, so only make small batches at a time.
Re-using those zip lock bags that the commercial product came in seems to be very good to keep the chips as a snack for later.
Also reusing those silica gel packets that you get with vitamins, will help keep the chips crispy.
Don’t overfill the bags – the air helps act as padding when you throw them in your bag.
The coating mixture keeps for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container, but after that it goes off. It starts to grow.
Organic kale will also keep in your fridge for up to a week, but then it’ll start to turn yellow.
If you use a smaller seed or nut than a cashew, like I did, I don’t think you need to soak the nuts.
I’m also going to play around with the flavours, and see if I can replicate some of the other tastes available on the market. One of the Loving Earth flavours that I found quite intriguing included coconut vinegar and beetroot!