Thursday, June 19, 2014

Preserving the Garden Bounty - Dehydrating Squash

Yellow squash always seem to produce more than you can use or give away.  Freezing is the way I would normally preserve my squash.  I have been looking into other ways to preserve my garden produce.  When squash started pouring in this season, I decided to try dehydrating them.  I waited until I used them to post this though.


I started by peeling the squash and then used a mandoline slicer to cut them into thin rounds.  I love the mandoline for slicing foods to be dehydrated.  The uniform slices dry more evenly.  Once all of the squash were sliced, I placed them in single layers on the dehydrator trays.



You can see from the picture that I did not have full trays.  I only did a few squash as an experiment.  It took about 6 hours to dehydrate these but much longer when I had full trays.


Once the squash were fully dehydrated, I packed them into jars.  I used pints jars as W is not thrilled about eating squash.  I knew this amount would be a good size for us.



We most commonly eat squash sautéed.  When cooking them from frozen squash, this meant that the squash needed to be thawed and most of the water squeezed out of them.  It could then take up to 45 minutes for the squash to cook down.  To make the same dish from dehydrated squash, I simply heated a pot of water.  I added the contents of one jar and let it simmer for approximately 3 minutes.  I used a slotted spoon to add the rehydrated squash to a frying pan along with a bit of butter and sliced onion.  This method only took 10 minutes for the squash to brown and be ready to serve.


I am fairly certain that I will never freeze another squash.  The jars of dehydrated squash stack nicely on my pantry shelves.  I do have to worry about them taking up space in the freezer.  Having them cook faster is a bonus, and they held their shape much better than frozen squash would.    

No comments: