Monday, August 31, 2009

Dehydrating Shredded Zucchini

In the past I have dehydrated zucchini by slicing it and then drying the slices to add to soups, etc. I have also sliced it thin and sprinkled seasoning on it and dried it to make "zucchini chips". They weren't bad, but they weren't something I wanted more of--maybe I didn't use the right seasonings--it's been a while, I really can't remember what I sprinkled on them. Might be worth experimenting with again. I've also frozen zucchini in 2 cup packets so I can make bread with it later, but freezer space is limited around here.

So this year I'm getting a little wild and I'm dehydrating shredded zucchini. Now in theory this should be able to be added to breads like fresh zucchini. Maybe you'd need a little extra liquid in your mix or maybe rehydrate the zucchini first? I've never tried it, but here's a recipe for zucchini-rhubarb bread using dried shredded zucchini from Mary Bell's Food Drying With an Attitude. Maybe you could substitute more zucchini for the rhubarb if you don't have it, or just use this recipe to figure out about how much liquid, etc. you need when using dehydrated zucchini instead of fresh. If anybody has experience baking with dehydrated zucchini, I want to know how it went!

Mary Bell's Zucchini-Rhubarb Bread

3/4 cup dried shredded zucchini
1/2 cup dried rhubarb flakes
1 1/4 cups water
3 eggs
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease two 7 by 3 inch bread pans.

In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, rhubarb, and water, stir, and let sit 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add butter, sugar, and vanilla and stir. Add rehydrated zucchini and rhubarb, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir again.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture and blend well. Add nuts. Stir.

Divide batter into two prepared pans. Let sit 15 minutes before baking to allow flavors to mingle.

Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on wire racks.

So now we have that out of the way, here's how to dry your shredded zucchini. First you need a zucchini or two or three or however many your garden or friend gives you. (On a side note here, you know you don't have any friends if you have to buy zucchini during the summer.)

Then shred your zucchini using any method you want. You could peel it first if you want to, I left the skin on--it's kind of pretty that way. A food processor is really nice here. Mine is old and the lid doesn't latch right anymore, so it's kind of dangerous for shredding stuff. I still chop in it--I just have to hold the lid down while it's chopping, but shredding is not all that safe, and $35 for a cheapo new food processor just isn't in the budget, so if any of you are looking to offload a food processor, let me know and I'll give you my address to ship it to :)

Anyway, back to the procedure. I used a "salad shooter" we got a gazillion years ago and it shredded the zucchini without too much trouble. Next, put your shredded zucchini on your dehydrator trays. The less overlap you have, the less it will stick together at the end, however, it dries so crispy you can just kind of break it into bits after its dried anyway, so I didn't worry too much about having each strand separated from the next. In fact, I didn't worry about it at all. Just put the zucchini on the trays and kind of spread it evenly over the tray.
Dry at 125 degrees for about 5 hours. Here's the same tray after the 5 hours. Where did all the zucchini go? Crazy. Dehydrating is like magic.
On one tray I measured 2 cups lightly packed shredded zucchini and it came out to be a scant 1/2 cup of dried shreds.
The whole dehydrator full of zucchini shreds fit in a quart jar. Amazing. Into the food room it goes and someday when I'm feeling adventurous (after I've used all the frozen zucchini) I'll try it in bread. It could also be added to about anything you're cooking (ground beef, soups, etc.) just for some added nutrition. Use your imagination here.


Chef Tess said...

Not only does this sound like a wonderful idea, but also a freaky awesome recipe! I'm totally trying it with the rhubarb! Thanks for all you do Angela!

Jeannetta said...

Oh my gosh! Genius! I'm heading to the kitchen to grate while I listen to Glenn Beck :D
Thanks! said...

>She dehydrated the shredded zucchini to be used later. I can not believe I never thought of that!<
(I put a link to 'Dehydrating Shredded Zucchini' on my page)

Peggy said...

You asked if anyone uses dried zucchini/squash so I thought I would pop in. Every year I dry up all the "squash" that we do not eat. We don't limit it to zucchini but whatever squash we grew that season. During the winter I add it to pancakes, quick breads, and tomato based sauces. For the pancakes I powder it! (no one is the wiser, they get extra veggies, and we add no extra water.) I don't think I've ever added any extra water to my batters. And no I don't measure either... We just throw in a couple of handfuls of the stuff. We do the same thing for w/ shredded dried carrots and apples.

What type of dehydrator do you have? I am beginning to save for a new one as mine is starting to have issues.

Recently you mentioned preparedness meals. One of the things we do is to dry cooked rice. It is really nice as all you have to do is add hot water to rehydrate it. We keep it stored in vacuum seal bags so that it can be taken on camping/backpacking trips (which its never made it on yet...) Some of the bags have spices, powdered dried mushroom, powdered veggie flakes, and a touch of powdered milk as well as the dried rice. Just add hot water, allow to sit for about 10 minutes and you have a nice rice pilaf type dish! It beats the store bought rice dishes. We make our bags a little larger than needed and wash them out after use to be reused/sealed again (and again.)

Hope I was able to give you some ideas!! Take care now and keep up the good work, I love reading your blog.

Angela said...

Tess-let me know how the bread turns out.
Jeanetta-I'm thinking I'll do some more also . . .
K...Mom-Thanks for the linkover!
Peggy-Great ideas! I figured I could sneak it into about anything. My dehydrator is an Excalibur. I have no complaints with it and have been using it for 10 years or so. FYI, I've recently become a dealer for the Excalibur dehydrators, so if you're interested in one, contact me about it :) Also loving the meal in a bag ideas! Quick and easy preparation is always good. Thanks!

marci357 said...

Well now I'll add drying rhubarb to my list so I can try this recipe. I usually just freeze it.

My dehydrator is a Harvest Maid - $10 at a garage sale 15 years ago - and used hard :) Love it!

Great idea on the powdered veggies into batter - will have to slip that into the grandkids pancakes and see how it goes :)

Rice meal in a bag sounds great for an easy camping meal! Gonna have to fix some up! Thanks!

Jeannetta said...

Ok, so I'm excited with the prospects, (thanks to Peggy for more ideas) but I have one complaint. You neglected to mention the green dust that accumulated as I went about taking it OFF of the dehydrator! lol Holy Cow! giggle.

TheSurvivalMom said...

Zucchini grows like weeds around here, so I think you have a winner with this idea! Love it!

commoncents said...

Nice post! I really like your blog!!

ps. Link Exchange??

Momnerd said...

Wow, it never occurred to me that you could dehydrate zucchini. Bread is about the only way my boys eat it so I should do that!

Anonymous said...

Once you dry shredded zucchini, do you then have to put it in the freezer? If not how long is it good for in a glass jar or bowl?
If a recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded how much of the dry will equal 2 cups or do you still use 2 cups of the dry?