After two years of canning and freezing produce, we added a new toy to the preservation arsenal: a dehydrator! Let me tell you, the only appliance I was more excited about was my dishwasher. Now I love canning once I get started. There isn’t much that is more satisfying than making and canning your own pickles/tomato sauce/salsa/jelly etc. However, unless you have a (*non-electric) pressure cooker, there are a lot of things you can’t safely can without pickling. And in my opinion, there are some things that just shouldn’t be pickled.
If your garden is anything like ours, you have squash and zucchini up to your ears. We usually have so much that we have to give it away. Last year I froze some for the first time. It turned out okay, but like a lot of veggies that contain large amounts of water, it just wasn’t the same once thawed.
This brings us to the dehydrator. Shredded and dehydrated squash and zucchini is easier to use than its squishy, thawed-out counterpart. For example, it can be used to thicken soups and sauces (dehydrated anything really know, though). It can also be re-hydrated and fried! I don’t know about you, but fried squash is why we grow it in the first place!
So let’s get started…
First, wash your squash. Get all of the garden off of it. Or if you have minions, have them do it for you.
Next cut the stem and the flowering end off.
Then you shred. And shred. And shred…
Until your trays are full. The general rule with dehydrating is to not let your produce overlap. However, if it’s shredded they say you can disregard that rule. While I do let mine overlap, I try not to make my layers too thick because that lengthens the drying time.
Now turn on your dehydrator so you can hurry up and wait! I dry mine at about 135°F for 9 to 12 hours. It all depends on how many trays you are drying and how thick you have your produce layered.
This is what you should end up with:
I double bag ours (smaller batches inside a gallon freezer bag), then pop it in the freezer. Freezing it can double it’s shelf life.
Now there you have it!
Have you tried dehydrating squash and zucchini? Tell me about it!
*The National Center for Home Food Preservation does not support the use of the USDA canning processes in the electric, multi-cooker appliances now containing “canning” or “steam canning” buttons on their front panels.