Zucchini and other summer squash are among the easiest vegetables to dry in a dehydrator. Nature often gives you a bumper crop of these easy-to-grow vegetables. It's hard to keep up with using them fresh. Dehydrating zucchini is a great way to save them for recipes all year long. Rehydrated squash can be used in pureed soups in the winter, making use of your summer bounty.
Do You Need to Blanch Zucchini Before Dehydrating?
Although some publications recommend blanching the squash before drying, I find that additional step is unnecessary with these squashes.
They keep their bright colors even without the blanching. If you plan to use it pureed soup or stews after rehydrating, color would not be a factor anyway.
How to Dehydrate Zucchini or Summer Squash
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time Required: 10 minutes active, 6 hours inactive
What You Need - Equipment and Ingredients
- Zucchini or other summer squash
- Jars or other airtight storage containers
Steps for Dehydrating Zucchini and Summer Squash
Wash the squash. You won't be peeling them, so you should gently brush or scrub away any dirt.
Slice the squash into 1/4-inch thick rounds or pieces.
Arrange the squash pieces on dehydrator trays leaving space between the pieces on all sides. You don't want them touching each other as that will result in inconsistent drying. You need space around them so the airflow will be more effective in drying the slices.
Set the dehydrator for 135F. Dry the squash until crisp-dry. This will usually take about six hours.
Remove the dried squash from the dehydrator and let it cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Once the dried squash is cool, transfer it to airtight containers. Label the containers to identify the contents and include the date that you dried the squash. This will help in identifying it later, as well as knowing which containers you dried earlier or later so you can use the oldest first.
Store the dried squash in a cool, dark place.
Dehydrating Zucchini in an Oven
If you don't have food dehydrator, it is possible to dry zucchini or squash in your oven. One problem is that many ovens don't have a temperature setting below 150. As a result, it's hard to get the consistent temperature you want for drying squash - between 125 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
To use an oven, first prepare your zucchini as in steps 1-3, arranging them on a cookie sheet or baking sheet you have covered with parchment paper.
Place them in an oven set to the lowest heat setting and prop the door open about an inch. Check the temperature with an oven thermometer. Dry for four to six hours until the slices are crisp-dry.
Rehydrating and Using Dried Zucchini
To use dehydrated zucchini and summer squash, pour boiling water over the squash and let it soak for 15 minutes. Drain. Use in soups, stews, and purees.