Zucchini bread isn’t the only way to preserve zucchini!
When you have one of those abundant zucchini garden years, it’s important to know how to eat, use and how to preserve zucchini in creative ways. And, we have several ways including making dried zoodles.
- Freezing zucchini is easy & it makes a tasty low carb latke.
- You can even make tasty zucchini chips that store a long time.
Preserving zucchini noodles is a great way to optimize your crop!
Really, zucchini noodles are a fantastic low carbohydrate alternative for anyone who loves pasta dishes but wants to keep their carb intake low.
Plus, as we’ll explain shortly, “noodles” are really simple to make. And, dried they’ll store well into winter without drawing power from your deep freeze.
Begin by harvesting your zucchini each morning.
- Harvesting daily, allows you to dry fresh batches daily. Plus, by gathering each day you’re less likely to end up with baseball bat zucchini that are pithy, seedy, and not very edible.
- For best results, select young fruits that weigh in under a pound.
Now to prep your zucchinis for zoodling.
This two-sided vegetable peeler makes cutting angel hair & wide zucchini noodles easy. So while you could choose to purchase an expensive spiralizer, a simple, inexpensive tool like this works really well.
- First, wash your zukes, trim off & discard the stem & flower end of the fruit.
- Second, use the wide blade on your peeler to shave a lengthwise, flat size into your zucchini.
- Third, lay the flat cut side down on your cutting board so the squash doesn’t roll as you cut your noodles.
- Fourth, make some zoodle style choices!
Decide what style of zoodle you want & make some.
- Next, decide if you prefer stringy or wide noodles.
- The angel hair size is great for spaghetti.
- But the wide shape is ideal as an egg noodle replacement.
- And if you’ve got a big crop, make some of each style.
- Then, use the wide or narrow cutting blade, pulling lengthwise down the fruit multiple times to shave off your noodles. And if it isn’t obvious, the narrow blade makes angel hair zoodles. But the wide blade makes wider zucchini noodles.
- As you get toward the center of the zucchini, flip it to the next side and repeat pulling off zoodles. Then repeat again for each side of the fruit.
- Note that the last thin bit may require slicing with a knife or chop it into dinner!
After you’ve cut your zoodles…
- Now place your sliced noodles in a colander & sprinkle with a pinch of salt. And toss very gently.
- Place your colander of salted zucchini noodles into a bowl or sink & allow the noodles to sweat for at least a half an hour or longer.
- And toss more if needed, but take care not to break your noodles. They may be delicate.
- The salt on the zucchini will help draw out bitter juices from the fruit and will speed drying.
- The bowl below your strainer will catch the juice to discard.
After your noodles have sweat out moisture in a strainer…
- Discard the juices
- For wide noodles: carefully lay them in a single layer on your dehydrator racks.
- For fine strands, create thin piles on your dehydrator racks so the finished noodles will dry into easy-to-store shapes that fit your storage container.
Using a dehydrator to preserve zucchini noodles.
First off: If you don’t already have a dehydrator, be sure to read our article on dehydrators for gardeners now!
If your dehydrator has a temperature setting, adjust it to 115F. Thin, salted noodles should take from 3-8 hours to dry at this setting. However, local temperatures, humidity & the thickness of your noodles will cause variations in timing. But they are finished when brittle, not rubbery.
How to preserve zucchini in your oven:
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry your zucchini in the oven. To do this, set your oven to the lowest possible setting. And instead of placing your fine or wild zoodles on a drying tray, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. That way it will be easy to remove the dried strands later. Place the baking trays in the oven. Check your drying zoodles every hour. And expect to have oven dried zucchini ready to store within 2-4 hours or so.
Keep your dried zucchini preserved.
Place your finished noodles into vacuum seal containers to store. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can store your dried noodles in a non-vacuum jar, but add a desiccant packet.
Take note before you cook with your dried zucchini:
Dehydrated zucchini noodles will rehydrate very fast. So, do not treat them like a traditional dried pasta by adding them to boiling water. If you do this, they will turn them to mush. Instead, either add them to your dish at the last minute, allowing moisture in your sauce to quickly rehydrate them. Or, add them to a pot of water that has been heated and turned off. Give them a brief stir in the warmed water to separate them, but don’t stir a lot or, again, they’ll turn to mush. Drain them in a colander after a couple of minutes and plate up. Also, since these have been salted, they’ll add a bit of salt to your dish.
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