Monday, October 12, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Zucchini Candy

Every garden has one. The zucchini that got away. The one that was left on the stalk too long and is now not really good for anything, but perhaps a baseball bat. They are usually around 3ft long and tough as rocks.

And they are PERFECT for this project.

When I was little, my mom was a lot like me when it came to food. Always store what you can and use what you have. I am not sure if that was how she came up with this recipe or if someone gave her the idea, but either way, it is brilliant... we make candy out of those monster zucchini.

What you need:

A food dehydrator with at least one fruit leather mat
potato peeler
large pot
good slotted spoon

a monster zucchini or two
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 packet Kool-aid ("Invisible" is dye free)
8 cups water

1. First you peel the zucchini.

2. Then you cut it into 1 inch chunks (as uniform as you can so they dry evenly).

3. Add Kool-aid, water, and sugar (recipe can be doubled) in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add zucchini chunks and turn down to Med, mixing occasionally. Cook until starting to go clear (if you use invisible they will start to look like pineapple.)

4. Place them on the food dehydrator racks and (if you have a temp gage) set your dehydrator to 130*. If your dehydrator came with a fruit leather mat, place an extra rack on the bottom level of the dehydrator and put the mat on that. This will stop any drips from getting onto your dehydrator base and makes for MUCH easier clean up.

5. Let it dehydrate until it feels squishy but firm. It will take about 18 hours (or more).

6. When they are done, put 3 Tbs of powdered sugar, and 1 Tbs corn starch in a bag and toss them in with it. This keeps them from sticking together in the bag or jar.

They look like candied ginger, and taste just like fruit snacks. Kids love them! Who would have thought? Zucchini!



Callista said...

i want a dehydrator but i dont have the room for one :(

Katie said...

Oh my word, what a wonderful idea! We had a bad frost last night so I think the zucchini is done for, but I will catalog this for next summer!

Kristen said...

I love this idea!! How long do they last in a jar? or do you save them some other way?

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Callista: I store mine in the garage when not in use. That helps a lot with storage. I have to admit to not really having room either... as they are both currently on my side board in the living room. lol!

Katie: Check. These zucchini sometimes last all winter. They are hardy veggies. I would check and see what you can find. That said, I pulled mine in before the hard frost two days ago. But let me know. ;)

Cub's Den: They last for weeks. I would say months, but I have never had them kept from my kids that long. ;)

Jenny said...

leftover zucchini~ check
food dehydrator~ check
but I don't know about the fruit leather mat. Can I put wax paper on the bottom? Or should I just go for it?
Great recipe Val!

Petit Design Co. said...

wow that is so cool! Too bad I don't have a dehydrator. And too bad we had to move from our house with a garden!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Jenny: Waxed paper would be just fine... but make sure it is the only a single layer. You don't want your dehydrator working too hard. Have fun!!


Erika said...

Oh my gosh! I so want to be your friend! Hehe! I can honestly say I have never thought of using zucchini this way but I am very intrigued! I will have to try this next year. Our zucchini didn't grow well this year so I just got lbs and lbs from the local farm. I ended up doing what you did with the little baggies shredded for future recipes! I love it! Thanks for sharing so much! *Blessings*

Susan said...

I just don't know how you do it all. Can I come stay with you and take lessons??

Simple Mama said...

Just wanted you to know I blogged about making zucchini candy today and linked back to you. :)

Gail said...

Hi Val, Just found out about your blog and this post on Zucchini candy from a post on my FB wall. I love this idea and will be trying it myself.

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thank you Gail! I am glad you got to it before the veggies are ready for this year. :) That's one of our favorites.



Ari said...

This is GENIOUS! I cannot explain how excited I am to try this... in fact, I totally found a monster zucchini in the garden yesterday that I will happily turn into candy. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just made these last night and they are fantastic! The kids love them and I love them too! My dehydrator doesn't have any setting other than on/off. I let it run for about 10 hours and they were done when I woke up. I might have over-dried them since most have a fruit leather consistency instead of a softer gummy one. I used lemon-lime kool-aid and it work great!

Tanya said...

Can you use fruit juice instead of kool aid and sugar?

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