I can’t eat pasta any more. My DNA is skewed towards diabetes; therefore, carbs are like a silent killer ninja in my bloodstream. Although I’m in no danger currently, if I were to continue to eat now as I have my whole life, I would be there very soon. Getting Old Ain’t For Sissies. Just sayin’. So, to the rescue are things like spaghetti squash, ribbons of butternut squash, and the easiest of all: zoodles, which as one might guess is Zucchini + Noodles = Zoodles. However, no carbs here. You make the “noodles” out of the zucchini and replace them in your favorite pasta dishes, and then wa-la! Squash, diabetes! The beginning of 2016 we made a no-sugar life a priority. That means that this years crop of squash will help us with any “carb” cravings we have.
My microfarm is having a weird year because our summer weather has been waves of mini-hot followed by the weather that the greater Seattle area is known for: cool and rainy. But the zucchini are really starting to come in and I’m in dehydration mode with the zoodles. You can make long-flat lasagna-style noodles (easily done with just a regular vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer), or you can grate and make like a broken spaghetti style (great to make zacaroni and cheese!), or if you have a fancy spiralizer, you can have curly fettuccine and the like. I don’t have a spiralizer yet (I had one, but its design lacked what I needed, so we returned it).
I dehydrate because like many garden veggies, zucchini hold a lot of water – again one of the reasons its healthy for us to eat for our 75-percent-made-from-water bodies. So it’s important that before freezing for future use, a bit of dehydration is a good thing. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to store like you would dry pasta in the cupboard/larder. But, if I do, you’ll be the first to know.
I initially followed this recipe: Preserving Zoodles . I did find a few things I needed to change for my particular set up. Also, I haven’t tried the oven method. If you plan to do it that way, please tell me how it goes.
I have a decade-old Ronco 5-tray dehydrator. It’s nothing fancy and was first procured for dehydrating foraged mushrooms. I also use it for fruits and herbs and things like siracha salt. So, I can only speak for how I have to do it with my dehydrator. Your mileage and dehydrator may vary.
As much zucchini as you can handle (about one garden-variety zucchini per tray – not the wimpy sized ones you buy at the store), washed, ends cut off, dried (I always soak my produce in a sink of cold water after a gentle scrub in running water with a tablespoon of white vinegar).
A grater (I used the one on my food processor)
Paper towels or cloth napkins
Time (mine took 7-9 hours; so be sure you are going to be puttering around the house and have time to do this).
Dampen cloth napkins or paper towels and line your dehydrator trays. Grate your zucchini. Put in large chunky handfuls into your dehydrator trays with the zoodles. Do not do too thin; but, also beware that if you have a dehydrator like mine, you’ll need to stack trays on top and they need to stack level and securely.
Open the dehydrator top to open (see photo). After an hour being on, you’ll want to toss the zoodles and rotate the trays. At seven hours I had to up it to about every 30 minutes to toss the zoodles and rotate the trays. The point is to make sure they dry evenly and don’t get too crisp. When the zoodles are no longer wet to the touch and feel like an al dente pasta, remove and put into freezer bags or food saver bags and store in freezer. To use, toss straight from freezer in boiling salted water and cook about two minutes. Add your favorite sauce, and you have guilt-free pasta.
Alright, hope you can enjoy doing this, too. Right now I need to go harvest more zucchini. Hope farm stand folks want some zucchini this week.