Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to Dry Zucchini

The zucchini have been producing for weeks now and it's a bumper crop! If you grow zucchini, you probably give away several pounds of this summer squash every year. Why not dry your excess? It’s easy to dehydrate zucchini to use later in zucchini bread, cake, muffins, stews, and soups.

Although zucchini can be frozen or canned, both methods result in a mushy product and require lots of storage space. Dehydrated zucchini comes closest to the fresh product in taste and appearance. The beauty of dehydrating is that dried foods require much less storage space than foods preserved through any other method. Ten pounds of zucchini will yield less than a pound (or about three to four pints) of dried zucchini.

Sliced zucchini ready to blanch.

To dry, use young zucchini (before the seeds are very large). Either grate the zucchini or slice ¼” thick. Then blanch for about four minutes. To blanch, place the zucchini in boiling water for four minutes. Then drain and spread onto dehydrator trays. Blanching kills any microorganisms that might be present on the squash and also inactivates enzymes that could change the flavor, color, or texture of the final product. Blanching also helps the zucchini dry more quickly. Dry for ten or more hours, or until the zucchini slices are brittle (grated zucchini will take approximately half as long to dry as zucchini slices).
     To use dried zucchini in a soup or stew, just add it directly to the liquid and allow it to cook with the other ingredients. But if you are making baked or fried goods, you must reconstitute the zucchini first by placing the dried slices (or grated pieces) in a heat-proof bowl and covering with twice as much boiling water. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes then drain and squeeze out the excess water.

Zucchini before drying

Uses for dried zucchini:
Soup and stew
Eat like chips

Dried zucchini

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