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Dehydrating Zucchini

25 January 2012 11 Comments

Like Ally and Rich, we’re currently swimming in zucchini! I mentioned in my comment on their post that we’ve been dehydrating ours, so I thought I should post some photos.

We’re currently getting up to 5 zucchini every day:

Little wonder that our fridge’s crisper looks like this, then:

So, on to the dehydrating. First, I cut the zucchini into slices about 5mm thick. It’s fairly important to get the thickness uniform, so the slices will dehydrate at the same rate. A mandolin slicer is very handy for this, but be careful! I cut my finger quite badly a few weeks ago on this one.

You generally need to blanch vegetables before freezing or dehydrating. This is done by boiling or steaming them for a short time, then quickly chilling them in cold water to halt the cooking process. Blanching destroys the enzymes that cause vegetables to develop off colours and flavours and get tough, and also kills off most of the microorganisms that can cause vegetables to deteriorate.

I’ve found the microwave to be a very convenient, precise and non-messy way to blanch vegetables. I spread them in a single layer in a microwave steamer, steam them for the recommended time, and then plunge them into cold water. About 2:30 seems to be the right time for zucchini slices.

At this point, Hannah likes to help me by arranging the slices in the dehydrator trays.

We then pat them dry with a clean teatowel, and put the trays into the dehydrator.

We run the dehydrator on the front deck. There’s a power point out there, it’s under cover and protected from the elements, and it keeps the noise and warm air out of the house. After about 8 hours, the slices have dehydrated.

All that’s left then is to bag up the zucchini chips, and store them for the soup-and-stew-making season!

What do you have a glut of at the moment? How are you dealing with it?

11 Comments »

  • nellymary said:

    Brilliant Darren!..I would never have thought of dehydrating them…although I just used up my very first zucchini in a tomato base I put up..(which I blogged). I think it’s fantastic that you have such a harvest…How many plants do you have in? I still have a few weeks I think until my next zucchini…lol…but hey..a harvest is a harvest….heheh…I’d swap you some zucchini for some large garlic cloves any day.

  • mez said:

    hi d,

    thx 4 the info + luv ur blog by the way!

    …just wondering where u purchased ur dehydrator from? + how do u store the chips once bagged + [obviously] dehydrated?

    thx, mez

  • Inner Pickle said:

    Dude! Trade you some zucchini for some, er, bikkies?! xx

  • Bob Edmondson. said:

    Well,we have a glut of snow right now and gone through a load of cold weather.It was -37F last week,this week is +42F,the temperature is up and down just like a toilet seat.Can’t do much about it.As you know i had a little too much zucchini,not gone to waste though,shredded it and froze it all,using it for muffins and stuff.Going to cut down on the number of plants next year,Ha Ha.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @NellyMary: I just saw it in the dehydrator instruction book and thought it looked like a good idea! We’ve got about a dozen plants spread around the garden, but some are in less-than-ideal situations and aren’t producing much, while others are in prime spots and pumping out the zukes. I’ll email you about a swap :-).

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Mez: I bought it second hand off eBay – like much of what I buy these days! Lots of people buy them and don’t use them, then dump them on eBay. I keep the chips in airtight bags in a dark, cool cupboard. They seem to be fine, with no deterioration after a couple of months.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Inner Pickle: Now that’s a deal! Will email you shortly…

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Bob: Hehe, yeah, I guess the northern-hemispherers won’t have much of a glut of anything right now, especially those in snowy climes. I wondered how you got on with all your zucchini plants! You must have a big freezer!

  • Happyearth said:

    Great idea with the dehydrating Darren, we haven’t tried that before! Little Eco Footprints also has a nice sounding receipe for zucchini soup at http://www.littleecofootprints.com/2010/02/pea-potato-zucchini-soup.html.

    Our zucchini seem to have slowed down production quite a bit recently with all this rain – it sure has been such a wet season, and showing no signs of letting up!

    Cheers,

    Ally http://www.happyearth.com.au

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Happyearth: Yeah, the rain has played havoc with ours too. A few of the plants have died, and the ones that are left aren’t doing much at the moment. It lets us catch up a bit and try some other vegetables though, eh?!

  • coco said:

    i never thought of drying zucchini but this sound like a great idea, so i can have my favorite vege even after the season. thanks for the tip.

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