I have a lot of zucchini. A lot of LARGE zucchini. I’ve made enormous loaves of zucchini bread, sauted it, baked it, you name it. But I still have a lot of zucchini. A good friend of mine suggested that I buy a dehydrator because they’re a lot of fun in general, and they do make lots of zucchini go away in the form of zucchini chips. So I looked at the reviews, and I bit. Based on the reviews I bought a Nesco FD-60 SnackMaster (at Overstock, way cheaper). I figured if it lay legitimate claim to the SnackMaster title, I’d be happy.
It comes with 4 trays and a fruit roll-up maker insert for one tray. But if I’m in dehydrator heaven I can buy additional trays up to a total of 12 and more roll-up inserts. Many people say it’s cheaper to just go ahead and buy a second dehydrator rather than the extra trays, but I don’t want to give up the counter space nor run two heaters when I really only need to run one. Seems like you save up front but lose later.
It arrived today. I’m pretty handy, but still, I’d never laid eyes on a dehydrator before. Omigosh, just thinking of any of my female relatives even considering the notion gives me the giggles. And my local friends? Much the same. Well, maybe Miriam might. Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I looked through the packet that came with it. Seems pretty straightforward - use the fruit roll tray for pureed fruit combos to make roll-ups. Use a special screen (purchased separately) to make some of the stickier dried fruits. And for everything else, just lay slices on the trays that come with the dehydrator. Cleanup in the sink or dishwasher. Some vegetables the pamphlet recommended blanching, and others peeling. I don’t remember which at the moment, but the online recommendation list is at this link.
I thought the recommendations for zucchini chips were kind of lack luster. So I looked elsewhere online specifically for recipes. I found this recipe for zucchini chips and it really appealed to me, so decided to go with that. The entire set-up, start to finish, took 10 minutes. If they come out at all decent, I could get into this. It’s like the crockpot - you do a little hand waving and 6 hours later (or in this case, more likely 12) you get a lot of magic.
I found that the 4 trays took one larger zucchini sliced thin (about 1/8”) with very little space to spare. That amount of zucchini would make 3 - 4 mid-sized loaves of zucchini bread. So this is definitely more efficient. I sliced the big guy up, threw it into a large metal bowl and mixed it with an indeterminate but fairly scanty amount of champagne wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I lay the zucchini in the tray one-layer deep, no overlap, and put the laden tray on top of the cutting boards so that the seasoning didn’t get all over the place. I used garlic salt and onion powder. Based on info from another website elsewhere I went fairly light on the seasoning - that website mentioned that all dehydrated items shrink, therefore concentrating the flavors. I thought about adding other flavors but decided to go simple for the first time. I stacked the trays up on the base, put the top on, plugged it all in and set the heat to 135°F. I mean really? Slice, mix, dump, season. I almost feel guilty because it was so easy and fast. Maybe it’ll taste terrible and I won’t feel so guilty.
I live in a humid climate, so I expect it to take the maximum amount of time. If all goes well, tomorrow morning ought to be zucchini chips time. And in the meantime, my whole house smells glorious. I may need to dry roses in this thing.