Brassica oleracea var. acephala
Tree collards, sometimes referred to as tree kale, are a perennial vegetable in the Brassicaceae family. They can grow to 12′ in height and have a life span lasting up to 20 years. Like other brassicas including cabbage and broccoli, tree collards are high in calcium, vitamin C, and potent anticancer nutrients. Tree collards rarely seed, therefore they are propagated by cuttings. I purchased six tree collard cuttings over a year ago and barely managed to keep them alive. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I almost managed to kill them and I don’t KNOW why they’re still alive. That’s a testament to their will to live, I suppose.
The two strongest survivors were finally transplanted this spring into large terracotta pots, where they have flourished. Out of the other four, two died, and two are struggling with just a few leaves and no roots. It’s almost time to replant them and provide vertical support. In the meantime, they are putting on enough beautiful leaves to harvest for a batch of tree collard chips.
I’m not one to follow recipes exactly, so feel free to be free and experiment.
Tree Collard Chips
- Coarsely chop the washed collard leaves.
- Squeeze a wedge of lemon and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over leaves, just enough to make the spices stick.
- Sprinkle with whatever spices you like. I added Sea Salt, black salt, turmeric, red pepper, and garlic powder to this batch.
- Use your hands to coat all the leaves with the lemon, olive oil, and spices.
- Layer on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at less than 105 degrees F for raw chips that retain more nutrients, or greater than 105 if you want your yummy and nutritious snack faster. Dry them until they reach a texture you like. You can also use the same technique and dry them in your oven, though I have no idea what temperature.
I’m drying the tree collards for a snack, though I popped them in the dehydrator with two chopped onions, on separate trays. The onions came from Dragonfly Fields where they were experiencing a bumper crop of an assortment of alliums. They gave me a few to experiment with drying for food storage.
Be sure to dry the onions outside!
***Shared on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday on 11.11.11.