How to Dry Summer Squash: An Illustrated Guide
A Solution for the Too-Much-Zucchini Problem
In average growing conditions, those of us who grow zucchini and summer squash usually have it running out our ears, so to speak. One family (no matter their size) can only handle so much squash, no matter how delicious, tender, or nutty the variety may be.
Squash chips, or dried summer squash, is my answer.
With squash chips, I don't have to figure out what to do with 12 zucchini in one afternoon—especially when I've already made a few loaves of zucchini bread, filled several rows of jars with summer squash pickles, and prepared a lamb-and-summer squash casserole for dinner.
Which neighbor's mailbox might I not have stuffed a couple squash into yet?
I also don't have to figure out what to give my ravenous children for a quick, out-of-hand snack. The answer is in a jar on my pantry shelf.
Equipment Needed to Make Summer Squash Chips
- Summer squashes, any variety
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Foof dehydrator, or wire screens (if drying squash chips outside, cover screens with tea towels or enclose them in pillow cases)
- Salt, fine grind
Step One - Slice Summer Squashes Thinly and Arrange on Screens or Trays
Step Two - Dry and Store Your Summer Squash Chips
How to Rehydrate and Cook With Your Squash Chips
Squash chips are incredibly easy to use. They require very little moisture to rehydrate (hot or cold, your choice), and while they never quite come back to their pre-dried garden-crisp state, they work fine in all cooked dishes.
Once I forgot to add the squash to a skillet mixture until the last few minutes. The zucchini still cooked up delicious and tender. As long as there is a bit of broth, water, or grease for the chips to bathe in, they'll do fine.
Squash chips also make a healthy, crunchy snack, straight from the jar. If the chips somehow lose their crispness, just spread them on a cookie sheet in an extremely low oven (about 100 degrees F.), and don't forget about them. Squash chips burn easily!
Squash chips are best if used within 2-3 months, though they will usually keep longer.
Other Ways You May Cut Your Squash for Drying
"Can I shred or cut my zucchini and summer squashes in different shapes before drying them?"
Yes, you may. Discs or chips are just one option.
You may shred your zucchini - not too finely, or it will be hard to remove from trays - and use it later in pies, cobblers, desserts, breads, sauces, soups, or casseroles.
You may slice long, lasagna-like shapes or noodle shapes for use as a pasta substitute.
You may even slice stars, moons, bears, or other fun, kid-friendly shapes, if you don't mind having to use the "rinds" for something else!