Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brined Zucchini Chips

It is Celiac Disease Awareness Day here in the U.S., and even though I've been thinking about posting this for a while, today seemed like a good day to share a recipe with you that I've been playing with lately.

Ever since I got my dehydrator, I have been putting it to use as often as I can. Most of the time it is drying herbs, okara (paid for itself already there), and fruit leather (OK, I really just throw a jar of apple sauce on the fruit leather tray and wa la), but I decided that I needed to try playing around with it more and making veggie chips seemed the next logical step in my dehydration learning process.

We have a neighbor that has had a bumper crop of zucchini and this has allowed me to play with my dehydrator to find my preferred method of seasoning zucchini chips. There are a lot of recipes out there for dehydrator chips (kale, zucchini, potato, etc.) but when I tried it with salt and oil, my chips were just too salty or greasy for my taste. I guess that is what happens when you haven't eaten a bag of Lays in a while.

I like to brine my cucumbers before I make pickles, so I decided to try brining with my dehydrator chips. This method allows the food to take up just the right amount of salt and the flavor is more even than when the salt is sprinkled on top. I also don't have to use any oil, which my dehydrator directions actually strongly suggested NOT using when dehydrating food. I'm planning on trying this with potatoes and kale next to see if this is something that can be used universally, but if you get to it before me, feel free to share your results in the comments. I'll warn you, this is one of those recipes that uses dump and pour versus scientific measurements. This is set to our families level of saltiness. Don't feel bad if you need to add more or less to get what you want. Think of this as a guideline instead of a recipe.

Brined Zucchini Chips

1 medium zucchini
1 palm-full of salt (I use kosher or sea salt)
enough water to cover the veggies (about 1/2 gallon or 2 liters)

Slice the zucchini about 1-2 mm thick. I used a mandolin the first time, but sometimes this makes the slices too thin and the zucchini sticks to the dehydrator trays, so thickness depends on what type of tray you have (no problem with thin slices on silicone).

Place all ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and place this in the refrigerator. I leave it in up to 24 hours or at least overnight.

Remove the zucchini slices from the liquid, rinse, and either spin dry in a salad spinner or let them drain for a few minutes over the sink in a colander.

Spread them out on the dehydrator trays. Try to lay them out in a single layer as that will affect the drying time.

I dry them for 24 hours at a 135 degree setting on my Nesco dehydrator. Our apartment stays humid for some reason, so this can be more or less depending on your local conditions. I wouldn't go any less than 12 hours.

Remove your chips and place them in a air tight storage bag or container. One zucchini can fill my entire dehydrator, but my three boys can easily eat it in one sitting. Enjoy.

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