Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Oven-dried zucchini August 13, 2010

Filed under: Food Storage,Garden Fresh,Home Made,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 3:24 pm
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The results!

My first attempt at oven drying anything was met with pretty fair success, if I do say so myself. Although I was somewhat astounded by the end result. When you cut up two pounds of zucchini and end up with barely a cup, it is a bit of a shocker. Of course, zucchini being 95% water (or thereabouts) makes it shrivel up pretty good. According to the Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving, 20 lbs of zucchini dried makes barely two pounds of chips.

Fascinating, but somewhat anti-climactic.

Suffice it to say, the process was very straightforward. I winged it a bit, but it all seemed to work out. Using what I read from the aforementioned Ball Book and some articles on the internet, I decided to slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch slices. I then lay them on a cookie sheet and set the oven at 175 degrees, which is as low as mine will go.

I also kept the oven door open in order to facilitate the actual dehydrating process, versus cooking. The airflow provided is necessary in order to keep the moisture from recirculating back into the zucchini. If I had a convection oven this might have been an unnecessary step, but sadly I do not have a convection oven and so I simply kept the oven door open about half way.

The whole process took nearly 4 hours and I was obliged to continuously flip the zucchini rounds in order to dry them evenly. If I had a cookie sheet with a rack I probably would not have had to do this step, but again…like the convection oven issue, I didn’t. Regardless, it worked quite well. I did notice however that the pieces that I had cut too thin started to brown and I decided that they were moving too far into the “cooked” spectrum to really qualify as dried. As a result I attempted to add them to burritos for dinner that evening…which was a spectacular failure, I might add.

Regardless, the point of mentioning it was that while some sources might tell you to cut the slices as thin as 1/8 of an inch, if you are using an oven to dry your zucchini I highly suggest to cut things no thinner than 1/4 inch otherwise you may end up with burnt chips.

I will be reattempting the drying routine tomorrow as I still have four zucchini in my fridge, even though I have dried and baked copious amounts and my plants are suffering from an insect invader that is slowly killing them. I do love the abundance of summer squash!

Oven Dried Zucchini

cookie sheets, with racks if possible

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch slices, trying to cut them as evenly as possible. Place the slices on the cookie sheet or rack, spacing them relatively close together as they will shrink as the process goes on.

Place in your oven at it’s lowest setting (mine was 175 degrees) and leave the door open at least half way. If your oven door will not remain open half way on its own you may have to rig it. I would not recommend leaving it open all the way and you cannot have it closed altogether either.

Leave in the oven for 4 – 4.5 hours, turning regularly. The zucchini is done when it is no longer flexible. Let cool completely before storing.

Happy Eating!


8 Responses to “Oven-dried zucchini”

  1. lisa Says:

    I’m wondering: what do you do with these? Do you salt/season & eat like chips? Or rehydrate & use like regular zucc?

  2. realfoodmama Says:

    I use them in soups and stocks. They can thicken soups and provide really good flavor to stocks! You can make chips from them, but it is a slightly different process.

  3. Found you through Edible magazine! I write for Edible San Juan Mountains (southwest Colorado).
    I just made a batch of dried squash chips today (they are drying in my greenhouse right now). I am on a passionate search to find more zuke recipes. I must say that even as I sprinkled the sliced squash with salt and curry, it just didn’t appear that appetizing.
    Did you enjoy yours?

    • realfoodmama Says:

      I don’t eat them like chips when they are dried. They are very chewy and have a very strong flavor which is why they are going to be used primarily for stocks and soups. I have yet to try making the zukes into snack chips, although I have seen recipes for it – the process is different from drying them and involves a lot of olive oil! 🙂

  4. […] beans 1/2 c home made chicken stock 1/2 c home made tomato sauce 1 lb cubed pork 10 slices dehydrated zucchini 1 tsp cumin seed 1 tsp fennel seed 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano 1 TBSP flour salt and […]

  5. […] was disappointed with the too-brown slices. I couldn’t figure out what went wrong until I saw Real Food Mama’s post which says that although most recommendations are to slice zucchini one eighth inch thick to […]

  6. Izybnj71 Says:

    I am reading a boil now that uses zucchini flour in a lot of recipes, loose the wheat loose the weight. I can’t wait to get my garden state garden up and running to make zucchini flour to use in recipes. I’m guessing I would need to dry them pretty well in order to grind them into flour. Will keep you guys posted. Thanks for a great site.

  7. Izybnj71 Says:

    Oops I meant book

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