Monday, September 6, 2010

Preserving the Garden Zucchini

Today I am dehydrating zucchini, putting them into homemade turkey soup and even pasta sauce!  Good rainy day projects.  I am starting to feel victorious having wittled down my rather substantial pile of garden zucchini on the back porch.   I made the mistake of going away for a week early August and came home to many medium, large and gigantic zucchini.  


The zucchini are slowly being made into soups and sauces that I am freezing for the upcoming winter.  True, I could "can" it but I do find freezing a lot easier.  My niece also grated and froze a bunch of bags.  Most people know about using grated zucchini in baking loaves, cakes and muffins.  Grated zucchini is also a great addition to soups, omelettes, stews and spaghetti sauces.  This is a link to my favourite chocolate zucchini cake recipe I posted last year.

Right now I also have 5 levels of zucchini in my food dehydrator.  It will take a few days until they are fully dehydrated... less if the weather was drier.  I wrote on my blog last April about the marvels of using a food dehydrator and you may want to check it out.  Dehydrating food is an ancient process which helped to sustain early people.  Heat from the sun or fires was used to preserve food harvested during seasons of plenty. Dried foods have been found in the pyramids and other burial tombs and centuries later some of it was still preserved in good condition.  

I enjoy the ease and economy of dehydrating garden herbs, vegetables and berries.  Foods are exposed to hot air which removes moisture. Bacteria and microorganisms cannot grow when moisture is not present. Thus dehydrated foods are preserved for long periods without refrigeration.  They also have far less weight and bulk than fresh foods.  So far this summer I have dehydrated high bush cranberries, peppermint, spearmint, thyme, sage and zucchini.  I am going to experiment with drying some tomatoes.  The herbs we use in dry form but the zucchini and tomatoes can be reconstituted in sauces or by pouring over boiling water.  Soups and sauces will be my main uses.





FIVE EASY STEPS TO DEHYDRATE FOOD

1. Slice most foods thin – about ¼” (1/2 cm)
2. Do not overlap your food on trays
3. Rotate and turn trays
4. Remove food when it looks and feels dry
5. Place food in air-tight containers – jars or Ziploc®™ bags

The zucchini in the garden are still producing but thankfully at a much slower rate!


My next class at Chapman's Landing is the Mediterranean Diet Canadianized!  This class is being held Saturday September 11th and will be both delicious and educational.  The topic is of special interest to those wanting gluten free, heart healthy and diabetic type recipes.   I hope to see you soon at a cooking class at Chapman's Landing soon.



Tastefully yours,
Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.
Chapman's Landing Cooking Studio

2 comments:

Laura said...

Have been dehydrating cherry tomatoes and they are to die for! Took about 12-18 hrs approx. Will try this with zukes as well. Great post!

Nancy Guppy, MHSc, RD said...

Thanks Laura. We are going to do the a bunch of the cherry tomatoes next. I did oven slow roasted at that worked very well but I frozen them. Can't believe how sweet the dehydrated zucchini is... I will post a pic next of how little dried zucchini one actually gets out of 5 trays. 2 cups?!! They are taking 2 days in this really wet weather.