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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Zucchini Chips

My zucchini plants are threating to take over the garden. I posted to my garden blogspot blog about the zucchini plants under the entry "Attack of the Zucchini"


Zucchini Plants

I have five zucchini plants. Despite some negative comments regarding zucchini, I love growing them. They perform well with few problems. Yes, some neighbours have reportedly started locking their doors and cars but I think that is just a rumour. The zucchini plants in bed #5 are smaller. The ones in bed#7 as pictured are huge and are producing three to four six to eight inch zucchini daily. I'm not complaining! We eat a lot of zucchini through the growing season. I freeze zucchini for later use. I have a few uses for zucchini this year so keep an eye on this blog to see what I make. Bed #7 is bordered with yellow marigolds. The bed is a 4'x4' planted in the square foot gardening method. The front four squares are planted with cucumber plants.

Zucchini

The zucchini are very nice this year! I discovered zucchini chips on a Yahoo group I read so thought I would try them. They are quite good when seasoned slightly then used with your favourite chip dip. I like them as is with no dip. I must say they are good with herbed dip too. Zucchini chips are a healthy alternative to potato chips as they aren't deep fried. For those concerned with sodium content, use a low sodium or herbed seasoning that doesn't contain salt. Whatever seasoning you use, keep it light as the flavour will intensify when the chips are dried. I don't make a lot of these chips, perhaps the equivalent of five gourmet size bags of regular potato chips. They are a big hit with everyone!

Mandolin

By far, the quickest way to prepare the zucchini for chips is a mandolin. It gave nice, uniform thickness slices with very little effort perfect for drying. All the pieces of the mandolin are dishwasher safe so that's an added bonus. A mandolin will also make quick work of julienne style zucchini sticks for stir fries. You can use a food processor if you choose. The problem is you will have to cut the zucchini at least in half giving half moon shaped chips. That is still ok depending on your desires. What is most important when drying foods is to get a uniform thickness. This aids in drying and helps to ensure most of the vegetables are dried in the same amount of time.



Zucchini Slices

I loaded the zucchini slices onto two drying trays. The trays were sprayed lightly with olive oil first and the slices were sprinkled lightly with seasoning salt before drying. The oil prevents any sticking to the trays once dried. The seasoning salt is optional. They were dried in my oven set to the drying setting at 125 F and convection fan on. Despite a higher moisture content, the zucchini dried relatively fast without any problems.

This is my first year using only my oven for dehydrating since my trusted dehydrator gave up the ghost. My oven has a "drying" setting that works along with the convection setting. I'm still figuring out the best way to utilize both settings. Dehydrating has never been a huge part of my home preserving. I do a fair amount of beef jerky and a few fruits but little in the way of vegetables. So far I haven't tried beef jerky using my oven yet but will shortly. We really need a cooler period as the temperatures have been in the mid nineties for the past few days!

Zucchini Chips

Once the zucchini chips are dried, they are removed from the trays then ready for vacuum sealing. I like to use a large plastic container to collect the chips as they dry. When the container is full, I pour into a vaccum bag then seal. Vacuum sealing keeps out moisture and keep the chips crisp. The chips could be sealed in zip loc bags with as much air removed as possible.

Vacuum Sealed Zucchini Chips

This method left a cushion of air to protect the chips. I vacuum seal a lot of foods including the foods I dry. This protects the dried foods from humidity. I used my new Rival Seal-a-Meal VS120 to soft vacuum seal the zucchini chips. I just bought this vacuum sealer so am figuring it out. My other vacuum sealer is a DCI. It works well but doesn't seal mason jars. I specifically bought this foodsaver so I could finally start vacuum sealing mason jars. I store a lot of dried foods in mason jars because they are rodent proof.

Quick Lunch

While the chips were drying I took the opportunity to make a quick lunch using left-over steak and potatoes. The extra zucchini slices that didn't fit on my drying trays were tossed into the fry pan along with the steak and potatoes. They coooked fast and gave a nice addition to the quick lunch. Sauteed zucchini of any kind is always a favourite here.

A very kind friend gave us a huge bag of fresh caught perch. This is a real treat! I gave him zucchini in return. Tonight's dinner was pan fried perch and our favourite zucchini saute mix. I'll post about that tomorrow.


3 food lovers commented:

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

Anonymous said...

I currently have 11 Zucchini plants and have found several uses that I wanted to share with a fellow fan of Zucchini. Try Zucchini Relish, Zucchini pickles, or even bread and butter zucchini pickles - all excellent and the recipes are in the ball blue book for canning. I also make Zucchini milk that we use in baking instead of dairy milk - just peel the zucchini, slice it into 1 inch chunks and liquidfi in a blender until creamy - super easy and healthy! I just started dehydrating the chips, and found your site useful! Happy gardening!

brthomas said...

A dab of sauce on each slice is another way to make zucchini squash snack chips with interesting flavor variations.