May 17, 2012

Fruit Snacks from...Zucchini

It is almost the time of year when we southerners purposely start locking the car so that random people don't stuff bags of baseball bat sized zucchini behind the driver's seat.

Find yourself in this predicament?  Make fruit snacks.

Start with:
zucchini (or yellow squash)
pineapple juice
grape juice concentrate (optional)
vegetable peeler, sharp knife & cutting board
My zucchinis were about the size of my forearm so the middle needed scooping out.  If you want to use smaller ones, I'm sure they would do just fine but usually people want to give away the big ones.  And the smaller ones are better suited for sautéing.
Be sure to remove the peel.  You don't want anyone to know your dirty little tricks to bite into something hard later.

Then slice and chop.  In the picture I have about 1/2-3/4 inch wide strips and about one inch long.  Next time I will make the pieces much longer.
As you can see, my pieces were not uniform.  (Where's the fun in that?!)  The pineapple juice easily covered the zucchini.  I probably had room for another zucchini.
Above and below: 3 forearm sized zucchini in 6 cups of pineapple juice (the entire tin).  Bring pineapple juice and zucchini to a boil then simmer.  Below is after simmering for 30 minutes.  There's much more juice (or so it seemed).
Being the nerd I am, I had to measure it because I knew you would want to know.  The end result was 5 3/4 cups of juice - only 1/4 cup less than when I started.
The zucchini went into a colander to cool {imagine a picture}.  I forgot to take one because I was so excited about doing the process all over again with the addition of grape juice concentrate.  Because I wasn't following a recipe, I decided to start with 1/4 cup of concentrate.  It made a pretty purple.
Added two more forearm sized zucchini, chopped.  This time the pieces were bigger overall (I guess I was getting lazy).
 Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.
Drain in a colander {imagine picture}.  Be sure to let it cool.  People with common sense will know not to touch something after it has just been poured out of boiling liquid.  But I was too excited.  I wanted to know how it tasted.

Yumma.  Like hot pineapple.

Eventually I had to slap little hands (well, not exactly - but they were sad that I told them to stop eating my goods!)

Then I spaced the zucchini on my dehydrator.  You can see the grape flavored zucchini was a weird color.  It had enough grape flavor, but the color is something to be desired.  I think the next time I will try 1/2 cup of concentrate.
I started the dehydrator (at 140*) at 6pm and stopped it at 8am.  The next time I do this, I will start earlier in the day so I can monitor the drying progress.  I would like to taste/feel the consistency of less drying time.  You could most definitely dry these in your oven on its lowest temperature.  Just be sure to watch the zucchini and turn it frequently.
I'll be the first to admit that they look more like bacon, or crispy pork rinds than fruit snacks.  But if you can get over the fact that it is made of zucchini and just get it in your mouth - your taste buds will be happy!
What started as five zucchini the size of my forearm dehydrated to about 1.5 cups worth of dried fruit.  Pineapple flavored is in blue bowl, grape flavor in the glass.

And the taste?  Yum.  If you like dried apples, I think you will like dried zucchini (first simmered in pineapple juice).

Oh, I almost forgot!  The extra juice I saved for when I can get my grubby little hands on more zucchini.  My car is unlocked.

-Julie

PS - Thank you, Missy Stuckey, for sending me this link where blog author used Kool-Aid and white sugar to achieve similar results.

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1 comment:

  1. Now that's an interesting way to use zucchini,

    ReplyDelete

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