a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Easy, Yummy, Crunchy Zucchini Chips: Dehydrated

I am having great fun with yummy results using my dehydrator. 

Dried fruits and veggies make healthy and great snacks, are terrific light-weight food sources for hiking and camping and a wonderful means of storage for emergencies. 

My latest efforts have been flavored zucchini and yellow squash chips.

I've read about flavoring apple pieces with kool-aid flavors before dehydrating but that didn't have much appeal to me  ---- although they do look pretty in the jar. Actually they probably aren't much different than the dried fruit-flavored apple pieces you can buy in #10 cans if you want to pay the price.

We do love the apple results when sprinkling them very lightly with cinnamon-sugar before drying. A great snack!

However, as I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, now I am going to tell you about my experiments with dehydrating zucchini.  First off, the first time I tried  it, I tried sprinkling it lightly with Lawry's seasoned salt and/or a few other things like lemon pepper.  I was too heavy handed and once dehydrated the seasonings were too strong so my advice is, if you go that route, sprinkle very, very lightly.

When we dried them without any seasonings we, at first, thought they were kinda blah but quickly became addicted to them. The same, both about over seasoning and no seasoning, for cucumbers.

Top shelf: red (and green) bell peppers,  cinnamon- sugared apple slices,
cinnamon-sugared zucchini slices, two jars of plain cucumber slices and
jar of refrigerated microwaved bread and butter pickles
Bottom shelf:  orange juice soaked yellow squash, pineapple tidbits, jar of spiced apple and
berry fruit leathers, plain apple slices, and maraschino cherries

Searching the web for zucchini recipes recently I came across http://realfoodlittlerock.blogspot.com/2012/05/fruit-snacks-fromzucchini.html --- a site on simmering chunks of zucchini in pineapple juice (and/or grape juice) for 30 minutes before dehydrating.  It sounded intriguing.

I tried it on a smaller scale, using the juice from one can of pineapple tidbits.  The results were okay but the method gave me other ideas. I filled the first tray with the pineapple tidbits and the second tray with the pineapple-juice-simmered and drained zucchini sections.

 I then decided I preferred thin rounds over the small chunks  so I got out my handy mandolin and went from there with the rest of my zucchini and yellow crook neck squash.

Tray 3 - orange-juice-simmered squash rounds --- some sprinkled lightly with dried orange zest.

Tray 4 -  combined-pineapple-and-orange-juice simmered squash rounds.

Trays 5-8,  squash rounds (both the green and the yellow) --- very lightly sprinkled with the cinnamon-sugar mixture before drying.

All were surprisingly good but our favorite is the cinnamon-sugar ones and our least favorite the original ones.  I think 30 minutes was a little too long to simmer.

I soaked the remaining squash slices in the leftover combined juices overnight in the frig and dried them the next day.  We liked them better than the simmered ones!

We also soaked raw zucchini slices in the left-over marinade from a jar of our microwaved bread and butter pickles and then dehydrated them with great results.


Basically it all boils down to that thinking cap mentality I keep mentioning and urging. Read about others' great ideas and take it from there.

'til we eat again,
          Simply, Gail

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