So you grew too much zucchini? No such thing! If you’re like me, you optimistically grew a lot of zucchini and summer squash varieties to carry through the summer – and you were successful. Maybe, a little too succesful. You’ve sauteed, spiralized, shaved, peeled, mandolined, grated pounds and pounds of zucchini.
So, how do you preserve zucchini for later use? One of the easiest, most convenient ways to preserve zucchini for later use is to dehydrate zucchini in to chips. When you dehydrate the zucchini it removes all of the water. Use dehydrated zucchini chips in soups, pasta sauces, casseroles, or by themselves. To preserve zucchini, cut your zucchini in to quarter inch or smaller pieces, pop it in the dehydrator, and store in an air tight container.
Choosing a Dehydrator
The first thing you need to do is gather your supplies and appliances. I spent quite a bit of time reading reviews of which dehydrator to get. If you’ve ever been in the market for a dehydrator, you will find that they vary in size, sound and, most importantly, cost. A lot of garden influencers promoted the Excalibur dehydrator. This option was a bit out of my price range since I didn’t know how much I would actually be using it.
Weighing in at at a total of 17 lbs 17 x 1.5 x 4 inches. The NESCO Gardenmaster was my choice. The price point is middle of the road at $108.39 on Amazon. The stackable format makes it easier to remove and add trays as you see fit for the task. You can also order more trays to increase your dehydrating capacity.
The thermostat on the NESCO Gardenmaster allows for temperatures ranging from 95 – 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes with 8 trays that are dishwasher safe. The device also comes with Fruit Roll Up Sheet, Clean screens, Recipe Book and Jerky Spice. The device can expand up to 30 trays total.
Prepping, Dehydrating and Storing your Zucchini Chips
First things first, harvest your zucchini, rinse it, and chop in to quarter inch rounds. Don’t chop them too thick or else they will take forever. Try to make them as even as possible so that they dehydrate within the same amount of time.
Once you have evenly chopped your zucchini, arrange them on the dehydrator trays, making sure they do not touch. Stack the trays on top of one another and place the lid on top. Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and let run for about 10 hours until the zucchini are fully dehydrate to a crisp. It is critical that the zucchini is fully dehydrated otherwise moisture will collect in your container and your zucchini chips will be very chewy and stale.
Once you have determined that your zucchini chips are crispy and ready for storage, comes the fun part! I use the VERY inexpensive DYMO Embossing Label Maker to make super cute, easy to read labels to put on any reusable jar. Store away in a cool place. Zucchini chips are good to use at room temperature within 10-12 days.
Thank you for taking the time to read my recipe on how to preserve your very own dehydrated zucchini chips to snack on our use later.