Drying Zucchini

I have zucchini, zucchini, and more zucchini. Needless to say zucchini is multiplying as fast as rabbits in my garden. I actually love zucchini but sometimes too much of a good thing at once can be a problem. So I decided to dehydrate zucchini. Dehydrating is the oldest method of food preservation. I like dehydrating because it is not labor intensive, it produces a very lightweight easily portable product, and dehydrating is a preservation method that leaves the most nutrients intact.
I have a book, So Easy to Preserve, written by the Cooperative Extension at the University of Georgia that I use as my bible for preserving food.  This book tells you how to can, pickle, jelly, freeze and dry food. It tells you how to preserve fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, game meat, seafood, soups, herbs, nuts, and seeds. Click on the link below to find out how to order this book.
I decided to preserve zucchini by drying it even though the book said that its suitability for drying was poor to fair. I decided to give it a try since I had so much of it and had nothing to lose.
I washed the zucchini under cool running water. I trimmed off the ends and cut into ¼ inch slices.

I steam blanched them. Blanching is a process of heating vegetables to destroy enzymes which causes the vegetable to lose color or flavor. Not all vegetables have to blanched, but zucchini does require it. I use a big pot with water in it. I have a colander that fits on the inside of this pot. I heat the water until boiling. I loosely place the zucchini in the pot no more than two inches deep. I make sure the water in the pot does not come in contact with the zucchini. I cover the pot and steam for 3 minutes.

After blanching I dip the vegetables briefly in cold ice water to stop the cooking action.

 I place them on the drying tray. They will stay on the drying tray until they are crisp. I rotate my drying trays during drying time so that all trays can dry evenly. The estimated drying time in the book was 10-12 hours. It took me almost 24 hours, but I do live in a humid part of Texas.

I stored them in a canning jar. I will keep my eye on them in the coming weeks to make sure that they do not mold and have been dried properly. I look forward to adding the dried zucchini to my recipes this winter.

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