Monday, 18 August 2008

Chard Roadtrip

My chard and I went for a car ride today. To work. Well, I went to work, and the chard stayed in my car, in the parking lot. It was a nearly record-breaking hot day today, with temperatures reaching 34.4C/94F in mid-afternoon. Yesterday, when I saw that these kinds of temperatures were forecast for today, I figured it would be the perfect day to try out my car's dehydrating ability.

While I love the taste of greens cooked in butter and nutmeg, I must admit I was looking for some other way to use the latest batch of chard from my weekly CSA share. So I de-stemmed this lovely batch of chard yesterday, and placed the leaves on some nonstick bakeware. Then I backed my car out of the garage into the hot sun (it was about 30C/86F) and put the trays of chard on my back seat. By the end of the day the chard was limp but not dry. I said to Gord, almost jokingly, "I should take my chard to work with me tomorrow and let it sit in the sun all day!" He kind of raised his eyebrows and gave me a look like, "why not?" So I put the trays on the floor of the car and left them there for the trip to work the next day.

When I got home today, the chard was nearly dry! I have no idea how hot it got in my car out there in the baking sun today, but it was most certainly hot enough. I'm taking my chard to work with me for one more day, which should be enough to dry it all to a crisp through and through. Then I can store it in one of the many canning jars I picked up for next to nothing at a garage sale a couple weeks ago, and use it over the winter in soups and stews and such.

I wonder what would have happened if I had been pulled over for a police check stop or something on the way home from work? I can just imagine the conversation with the police officer:

"Ma'am, what is that on the floor of your vehicle?"

"Um...chard, drying leaves of chard. Would you like some? It's good in soups and stews and such."

"No ma'am, but I must caution you against leaving unsecured items in the cab of your vehicle, including vegetables."

"Thanks officer, I'll put them in the trunk next time."


Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Haha, I love your imaginary conversation with the police officer, gotta admit, I bet that would be a first for them, pulling someone over with large quantities of chard in the back seat.

I would have never thought to dry chard for later use.

I always chop it up, put it in fried rice or other stir-fries, and I'll even be really rogue and use it in quesadillas, it's really good. If you are looking for more ideas, I think I have a chard label on the blog.

Amber said...

Wow, what a great idea! I didn't realise that you can dry chard to preserve it. I just might have to give it a try!

Simply Authentic said...

This cracked me up!

Theresa said...

Jennifer, thanks - I will definitely check out your chard category for some more inspiration!

Amber, I forget where I read about drying chard - Sharon Astyk's blog maybe? But it did work out very well - all the chard fit nicely into a quart/litre size canning jar. It's now in my cupboard, and looks quite huge along side my other spice and herb jars!

SA - Hee! I did realize later it probably wasn't such a good idea to drive around with those cookie sheets laying loose on the floor of my car, but it sure did dry the chard up nice!

kale for sale said...

This is too funny and a great idea. I take the bus to work but may have to park my car on the street this week and try drying some chard myself.

Apple Jack Creek said...

Hey, you've given me an idea! I use a round American Harvest dehydrator ... I can load up the trays, put them in my back seat or hatch, and leave them there during the day to heat up! If I need to give things an extra boost, I can take the trays indoors and plug in the heater base for the night. What an energy efficient idea. :)

I have been drying beet greens and carrot tops and then blendering them into powder. I'm hoping to put the powder into soup, and make my own soup base.

Theresa said...

It really is quite astounding how well the car works as a dehydrator. I've never used an actual dehydrator before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it just seemed like such a good way to use the heat build-up in the car. I wish I could remember where I first read about it, so I could give credit where credit is due!