Truly. And where are these summer squash and zucchini in the winter when I need them?
I have tried blanching and freezing summer squashes, and they end up getting thrown-away after hanging in the freezer too long. I know this is my problem and not the zuc’s but the blanched, frozen, vacuumed bag of squash looked none too appetizing. As the garden begins to prolifically produce summer squash and zucchini, I am desperate to find a quick method for preservation. The light bulb turned on and stayed on when the idea of dehydrating instead of freezing came to me. I searched the internet for tips and ideas for drying. Most folks were making chips out of the squash, but I didn’t want such a specific use; I wanted the squash for soups, broths, and salads. I love the early squashes, but I only love it in the summer. I won’t even give the cardboard-like replicas a glance in the grocery store in the winter. If a recipe calls for summer squash or zuc past the last of the local stock, I either don’t make the recipe or I skip that ingredient. Now you understand why it’s such a priority for me to try to preserve it in the summer.
I think I’m onto something with dehydrating them. Take a look below, and you will see what I mean.
Here is the bounty from this week–Yay?
I first tried slicing them with the food processor but the slices were too thin. You want the slices somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 thick–sturdy yet not too thin. Whatever thickness you choose, be consistent and adjust your drying time accordingly. A great tool for consistent slicing is a mandoline slicer. My husband, the daredevil, is using it without the finger protector. Don’t do as he is doing and consider using a cut resistant glove.
I’ve placed the slices on a dehydrator tray with a screen. I didn’t use any seasoning, but you could add salt, pepper or some hot sauce if so desired. Since I plan on using these in other dishes, plain slices are best. The bottom picture is the slices in the dehydrator around three hours later. I’ll leave them dry anywhere from 18-24 hours at 115 degrees. The dehydrator I use is an Excalibur 3926TB, 9 Tray. It’s a workhorse this time of year, and I use it all winter long for my yogurt.
Trust me on this: Their appearance here is more inviting than when they were blanched and frozen. I have popped more than a few of these in my mouth, and I have to agree, these would make very tasty chips. From here I will vacuum seal and put them in the freezer.