Don’t can kole plants like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. First you turn them to disgusting mush. Second the sulfur compounds smell like dead bodies when you open the jar, driving everyone from the house. You can freeze them reasonably well, if you are guaranteed a seaon without power outages. And I do freeze a small portion of my broccoli and cauliflower crop. However, the majority of my cauliflower, broccoli, and kale goes through the dehydrator for winter food storage.
It’s easy. There’s no need to blanch it first. While the old-timey dehyrdrator recipe books recommend blanching to stop the enzymatic process, I’ve found that blanching before drying makes for mushy dried broccoli. Rather than speed up the drying process, it actually makes it take longer. And the longer the broccoli or cauliflower is in the heat of the dehyrdrator the more chance that microbes will infect your food. We don’t need that.
The easy way to dry broccoli
So here’s the easy way to dry broccoli (or cauliflower or kale)
Harvest your broccoli fresh from the garden or get it fresh from the farmer’s market.
On the same day you bring it in, wash it under cold running water.
Put it in a sink of cold water to which you’ve added 1 tbsp. of Himalayan salt. Allow it to soak for 1 hour. This is to remove any of the squeamy, green broccoli worms. Don’t skip this step with organic broccoli, even store bought.
Cut the flower from the stems and chop them finely, about the size you’d want to use in soups or stews.
Shred the stems with a box grater.
Put the flowers on a dehydrator tray in a single layer.
Put the shredded stems on another dehydrator tray in a thin layer.
Put all the trays in your dehydrator and process on medium heat over night.
In the morning, shuffle the trays so that the front of the trays is at the back of the dehydrator, and the top trays are shuffled to the bottom.
Allow to dry for another 4 to 6 hours or until dry, and brittle.
Turn off the dehydrator and allow the contents to cool naturally.
Check for doneness. When done your vegetables should be dry and brittle. There should be no coldness when you touch them. If there is any coolness at all, process them for another 2 hours and test again for doneness. Coolness is an indication of internal moisture.
Once your dried vegetables are completely done and cooled, store in glass jars with tight fitting lids. Don’t trust a snap lid with a canning ring. Bugs have been known to infiltrate jars through the gap at the top of the canning ring.
The plastic lids that they sell for dry storage in canning jars is a better choice to keep bugs out.
That’s how easy it is. For more dehydrator recipes see this post.
Now how will you use this dried broccoli from your food storage you ask?
Put it in soup in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Drop it into stew 5 minutes before you thicken the gravy.
Soak for 20 minutes in warm water, drain. And toss it into a stir fry in the last minute of cooking.
If you really want to, you can drop it into your smoothie — dried broccoli is till raw broccoli.
Snack on it right from the jar. (yes, I did.)