Jul 6, 2023
What can you do with zucchini? We would say just about anything! The flavor is sweet yet neutral that you can use it for chips, bread, and even vegan noodles. If you’re about to harvest or already have a load of zucchini in your pantry, what will you do? They can’t sit too long on your counter and will spoil in the fridge eventually. Here’s how to freeze dry zucchini and have a nutritious vegetable for years instead of weeks.
Freeze-drying zucchini has a lot of benefits.
Inspect the vegetable pieces and look for discoloration, soft spots, or wrinkly skin. What you want is a firm vegetable free of blemishes and blights. If there are any marks, discard those pieces and use a different one. It may seem like a waste, but you need your vegetable as clean and fresh as possible. Remember that you’re storing for long-term, and any imperfection can ruin your supply.
Washing the vegetable removes all the dirt and bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. A good wash under running water would be enough to take out the dirt and debris. Dry the vegetable well to prevent it from absorbing any unnecessary moisture.
The zucchini’s core is filled with seeds that can’t freeze dry properly. These should be removed to prevent moisture from getting inside your storage container. You can de-seed by cutting the vegetable in half, then scoop and crape out the seed core with a spoon.
After this, you can prepare the zucchini in any way you prefer. For example, you can use a mandolin or a slicer attachment in your food processor to speed things up. Slice the vegetables into chips for a crispy snack or planks for an awesome baked zucchini in the future.
You can go as long or as short as you want for shredded zucchini. Don’t go thicker than 3/4 of an inch for planks, cubes, and slices. Go thicker than this, and most of your vegetable will have a dry surface and a wet center.
If you’ll use the vegetable for bread, weigh the shredded zucchini before and after freeze-drying. This way, you’ll know exactly how much water to add by weight for a consistent recipe. For example, if your recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded zucchini, measure that amount and weigh it in grams. It’s more accurate that way because 1g of water is equal to 1 mL of water.
Then place that portion on the tray, marking it with something. It would be better if you could draw a map of the tray, indicating where each portion was and their before-FD weights. Then, after freeze-drying, weigh that portion again, and you’ll get just how much water to add to reconstitute the batch. Remember to put the measurements on the label when you store them.
You most certainly can! You can even prepare your zucchinis paper thin so you’ll have zucchini chips for a healthy, delicious snack. Try out the following recipes to see which ones will fit your taste.
These recipes are so simple and easy to do. You can follow the recipe but pay close attention to the amount of olive oil. Although the American Heart Association recommends adding this to your diet, olive oil can interfere with freeze-drying.
Of course, you can use it if you want the flavor. Remember to label the containers when you freeze-dried the baked zucchini chips. Unlike those freeze-dried without oil, these would probably last 1-3 years, give or take.
Pre-freezing the vegetable is optional but can help lighten your freeze dryer’s load. But if you baked the zucchini in the freeze-dryer trays, let the trays cool down completely. Putting hot trays in the freezer will cause the metal trays to warp.
Once all your trays are ready, it’s time to have fun with your Harvest Right freeze dryer!
Freeze drying can take about 16-38 hours, depending on:
Reconstituting freeze-dried zucchini would be easy if you made measurements before and after freeze-drying. The difference between the two weights will be the amount of water you’ll use for rehydrating.
For baked zucchini chips, there’s mostly no need to rehydrate. You can eat them as a tasty, nutritious snack for everyone in the family. Should you prefer the cheese soft and moist, you can either steam them or spritz them with water and then microwave them.
For soups and stews, no need to rehydrate. Use the FD vegetable as-is, then adjust the liquid content necessarily.
When you freeze dry fresh zucchini, it can last for 25 years or more. However, for baked zucchini with a touch of olive oil or any other fat, expect the shelf life to be shorter.
You can store the vegetable in Mason jars and Mylar bags. Mason jars are good for chips you can snack on occasionally. Also, they’re great for the freeze-dried zucchini crackers that you made that your family can’t get enough of.
For long-term food storage, Mylar bags are excellent. They keep out air, moisture, and even a bit of heat from the food. They’re lightweight, so you can bring packets when you go on picnics and camping trips. They don’t take up a lot of space in your storage, so you can keep as many packets as you want.
Before sealing your containers, add oxygen absorbers. These will help take out residual oxygen left inside your container. Oxygen promotes the growth of microorganisms that cause food-borne illnesses, so it’s essential to eliminate this from your package. About 1-2 of the 300cc oxygen absorbers will be enough to get rid of oxygen for every gallon size of your container. Each time you open the containers, you must replace the oxygen absorbers.
Freeze-dried zucchini makes a great snack and ingredient for your food supply. They’re easy to do and simple to rehydrate. Remember to measure the vegetable before and after freeze-drying. This way, you’ll have an accurate measurement of how to rehydrate your food.
How do you plan to freeze-dry your zucchini? Will they be in cubes, sheets, or shreds? Let us know in the comment section.
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