For today’s seasonal recipe round-up on summer squash (and zucchini), I’d like to show you how to dehdyrate it. A single zucchini or squash plant is quite productive and can easily overwhelm a good sized family. So preserving it for the future is a good and frugal idea. Not to mention that your family may be pretty sick of it, if you’re eating a lot fresh.
Are you all sick of it? Truthfully, I’m not yet. We’re not eating tons of it because I’m saving a bunch — and that’s probably helping.
The two best ways I’ve found to dehydrate zucchini are: shredded and thinly sliced. The thinly sliced become zucchini chips and they’re really good!
Zucchini (or Squash) Chips
Thinly sliced, seasoned, dehydrated, and crispy zucchini or squash make a great snack! We really enjoy them.
Thinly slice zucchini or squash to somewhere between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. 1/8″ is too thin, I think, and you end up with paper-like chips. 1/4″ is a bit too thick. I use my mandolin slicer; mine is a Bron and it comes with a carriage guard to protect fingers from the very dangerous and sharp blade. (Love it!)
Spread on dehydrator trays and sprinkle the chips with sea salt. You can also brush with olive oil or sprinkle with other seasonings like pepper or garlic. If you use olive oil, they’re more of a fresh-eating chip rather than something you store long-term.
Dry at 115 degrees Fahrenheit until crisp, about 12 hours or overnight, give or take. They really will be crisp when done. Let cool, but transfer as soon as possible to air-tight jars or containers. Vacuum seal if you can and they will keep crisp a long time.
I think you could also make these in the oven. Anyone know what the temp and timing would be on that? Please share.
Shredded, Dried Zucchini or Squash
Perhaps the easiest and most useful way to preserve excess zucchini or squash is through shredding and drying. This is a really portable and space-saving technique.
Did I mention easy?
Shred the zucchini or squash and spread out on dehydrator trays that are lined. I have an Excalibur dehydrator and I put the Paraflexx liners on — you can also line with parchment paper.
Dry at 115 degrees Fahrenheit until the shreds are totally dried out and crunchy, about 12 hours or overnight, give or take. They will be totally dry when done. Let cool, but transfer as soon as possible to air-tight jars or containers. Vacuum seal if you can and they will keep a long time at room temperature.
You might wonder how to use the shredded zucchini. Here are some ideas. You can crumble the dried shreds and sprinkle on salads. You can toss them in soups or stews or with browned hamburger. You can use in muffins, cookies, and breads.
I keep track of the measurements this way. I spread 3 or 4 cups of wet shredded zucchini on each dehydrator tray. Then when they’re done, I vacuum seal each tray’s contents separately and label accordingly — “4 cups wet zucchini.” This way, when I go to use it in the winter, I’ll know that each packet contains the equivalent of 3 (or 4) cups of wet, shredded zucchini. These are good amounts for most recipes, I think.
If the zucchini should be reconstituted for the recipe, I’ll mix the dried shreds with water to fluff up. If there’s excess water, I’ll drain it away before use. As time goes by, I’ll know better how much water to use, but right now I don’t.
Do you know how much water to use to reconstitute shredded zucchini? If so, please share. And don’t forget about the question above — if you know how long and at what temp to make zucchini chips in the oven, please fill us in.
Have a blessed weekend everyone! Don’t forget to check out the other squash and zucchini recipes and tips in this week’s seasonal recipe round-up.