Dehydrating veggies

DRYING ZUCCHINI

Yellow zucchini ready for dehydrating.

Yellow zucchini ready for dehydrating.

A summer challenge for most gardeners is what to do with all that zucchini when it “comes on”; it’s like watching a marathon where most of the runners finish together, rather than spaced out in an orderly fashion that one can deal with.

sliced zucsIMGP3037

My solution is to pick the vegetable small (up to 8 inches) and often (once a day, ideally, especially if it rains). Then it’s matter of slicing—

Then laying them out on your drying rack (the photo shows undried zucchini slices on the left, and dried on the right):

Zucchinis, before and after dehydrating.

Zucchinis, before and after dehydrating.

I use an Excalibur dehydrator in my garage, but even though it has a capacious 9 shelves, I often need more, so I have two other older models (5 tray) as well.

My Excalibur dehydrating machine set to go to work!

My Excalibur dehydrating machine set to go to work!

I set the timer to 4 hours usually, but often check earlier than that. It’s tempting to stop the process when the vegetable is pliable and ‘chewy’ but I’ve learnt, from having to abandon some mouldy packets, that crisp is best, and safest.

I usually fill ziplock bags with the dried product, press out extra air as I seal them, and keep them in a tote, in the dark.

However, some of them I am so proud of, and so enjoy looking at the varied shapes and colours, that I keep them in jars on my kitchen bench. You really shouldn’t, since sunlight advances oxidation, but don’t they look great?

I like having my dried veggies on hand in the kitchen; they're part of my Fast, Slow Food pantry.

I like having my dried veggies on hand in the kitchen; they're part of my Fast, Slow Food pantry.

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5 Comments

Filed under Food preservation, Preserving the harvest, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Dehydrating veggies

  1. Excellent!! We got a 9-shelf Excalibur dehydrator this summer; best purchase ever for household food security. We didn’t get around to drying vegetables so much, but we have piles of delicious dried fruit and herbs. Next year we will definitely plan our garden and gleaning projects around the dehydrator.

  2. Funder

    What do you do with them later? I love fresh zucchini so much, but I don’t know how I’d handle dried zucchini.

  3. ej

    I dried lots of apples and pears this fall- very tasty.
    But I’ve never done veggies – which ones do you dry and how do you use them?
    And where did you get those big square jars?

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