Chipping Away at the Zucchini

We've already had our fill of zucchini bread, and have had zucchini pizza three times in the last two weeks. And still, three biggish zukes were left on the counter:

My original plan was to shred and freeze for later, but when I was looking through the Ball Book to see how to do it, I hit upon directions for drying zucchini instead. Their idea was to dehydrate slices to reconstitute later in soups, but we have plenty of winter soup veggies coming in the next few months. But we could just eat the slices as chips, right?

I don't have a dehydrator, but we've use the oven in the past for herbs and tomatoes with no problems, so that's what I did here. Our lowest temperature is 170 degrees, and at that temperature it took about six hours to dry our zucchini chips. I made some with just salt (for Jonas) and others with a spice mix. Both turned out really yummy!

Thai Zucchini Chips

juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1. Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. I did this with a food processor, but you could also do it by hand.

2. Pour the lime juice over the zucchini slices in a large bowl and gently toss to coat each one.

3. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper. Place zucchini slices in a single layer (it's ok if they touch, but they shouldn't overlap).

4. Mix remaining ingredients in a ramekin, and sprinkle some on each zucchini slice. I did this by hand, taking a pinch of spice at a time. The zucchini will shrink as it dries, and that will concentrate the flavor, so you want to be able to control it:

5. Place the baking sheets in the oven on the lowest setting. I checked on mine about every hour. Around the third or fourth hour they should be dry enough to flip over, with the edges curling up. So flip them over and let them dry for another couple hours.

6. When they seem perfectly crisp (meaning that they'll break, not bend), let them cool to room temperature and bag them up. Take the extra ten seconds to suck the air out of a ziplock bag.

These are tasty and easy, although it's surprising how little food you get out of a big zucchini — these bags above are about one overgrown zuke's worth. Still, it's a good trick to get rid of big zucchinis, and a nice change of pace.

One thing I learned is that dried zucchini really wants to revert back to its natural state, so if you don't have them sealed really well (or if you leave them to cool on the counter overnight), they'll go a little soft (by soft I mean kind of like a zucchini leather — it's not gross). This is easy to fix with another 30-60 minutes in the oven, and I never had any go soft after a second bout in the oven.


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