Our Founder Jennifer Irvine has given advice on how to make your own vegetable crisps using fresh homegrown ingredients, perfect for entertaining over the festive season.
It’s during this time of year that I let myself nibble with wild abandon. Guilt free grazing on delicious treats provides the perfect backdrop to the many evenings spent at home in front of the fire drinking, talking and playing games with guests.
With so much produce from the harvest season, it’s fun to have a go at making your own vegetable crisps using ingredients fresh from the garden. Potato and beetroot crisps may dominate the selection in the shops, but I want to share with you some more unique vegetables to use. I like to experiment with nettles, which are an alternative to kale crisps, as well as butternut squash and parsnips.
Making your own crisps is so easy and a great opportunity to get your children or grandchildren involved. A dehydrator is a simple way to make them but if, like me, you don’t have one, use a warm oven which will give you the same delicious results.
The overall idea of making the crisps is the same, just the ingredients and cooking times vary. I like to season mine with sea salt and herbs. It’s good to experiment to see what you like best, but many vegetables go well with rosemary or thyme. Want a spicy touch? Add cayenne pepper or paprika. Why not experiment with flavours, look through the spice drawer and see which ones tickle your taste buds. My favourite has to be very fine shavings of parmesan which have the added benefit of a protein hit.
These crisps are also an excellent way of topping all sorts of dishes from soups to salads or even poached eggs. Get creative!
If you live somewhere nettle free, then you can do this with some shop bought kale instead.
The ingredient list is very small – just three ingredients will make these tastes incredible: nettles, olive oil and sea salt. Heat the oven to 140c fan/gas mark 1 and line two baking trays with baking parchment. Wash the nettles and dry thoroughly. Place in a large bowl, tearing any large leaves into smaller pieces. Drizzle over the oil, then massage into the nettles. Sprinkle over the sea salt, mix well, then tip onto the trays and spread out in a single layer. Bake for 18-20 mins or until crisp but still green, then leave to cool for a few mins.
Butternut Squash Crisps
The most difficult part about this recipe is getting the shavings of butternut thin enough!
You’ll need four ingredients – butternut squash, olive oil, sea salt and rosemary. Heat the oven to 170c fan/gas mark 3. Remove the top of the butternut squash and cut the neck into thin slices. You can do this by hand or with a mandolin slicer. I like to keep the skin on which gives you a lovely, rustic taste. In a bowl, rub in the olive oil, making sure that all slices are coated. Place on a tray with baking paper making sure the slices do not overlap. Rosemary is a fantastic festive seasoning and has a fragrant aroma. Sprinkle the butternut slices with the salt first, then scatter rosemary over the top before baking for 40-45 minutes until the crisps are hardened and brown. The time will vary depending on how thin your slices are.
Last but not least are parsnip crisps. As with the nettle crisps you simply need three ingredients – parsnips, olive oil and sea salt. Preheat the oven to 140C fan/gas mark 1. I like to use a swivel blade peeler which gives lovely long strips. Place the strips in a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Season with the sea salt and arrange the parsnip strips into single layers on baking trays. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and crisp.