Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dehydrating Squash for Winter

Last year when I discovered that dehydrated squash and zucchini made the ultimate in dog cookie, I've not had to worry about having extra. In fact, I wish I had more! Aside from being the supreme tool for dog obedience in my house, dehydrated squash and zukes rehydrate wonderfully and maintain their summer flavor far better than frozen do. They seem to work best for me in cheesy squash casseroles or soups and stews after rehydration. If anyone knows how to make them so they are good for frying or saute'ing, I'd be grateful!

Harvest of the 27th, the smallest is a 1/2 lb saucer squash.

I also got myself my ultimate toy for dehydration this year. It is the Excalibur 3900! A very pricey but extraordinarily highly reviewed and American made dehydrator for those with very large gardens. It is a 9 tray model. I was anxious to try it.

My Long awaited Excalibur 3900

Controls are easy, but precise

Loaded with all the squash above except the saucer

Unfortunately, after a few hours on, I went to check and realized the unit wasn't producing heat. You have no idea how upset I was! I did all the checks recommended when it arrived and after disassembly, I saw nothing that shouldn't be there or anything undone. It was simply faulty. And, on top of that, the company is closed for a week for the holiday!

Now, Excalibur is just a pedestal

And so, I had to pull out my cheapo Nesco from walmart, reload and take 2 loads to do what I had already cut. Most annoying.

Now, I don't want to cut any company down since they have an almost universally wonderful reputation. But I do think the increase in home food production may have affected their quality control just like it did for so many seed companies that experienced the increase in sales. I sure hope they make it right without requiring me to perform electrical repairs myself! I'll let you know.

Boscoe and the Man Cat say Hello to you all!


The Old Gray Egg said...

I had no idea that dehydrated squash made good dog treats. I've gotta try that. We got our nine drawer Excalibur last year and have used it a ton. We love it. I trust that the company will do right by you.

the rachface said...

Loooove the patty pan! So cute! I am interested in what happens with your dehydrator. This is the exact model we are saving up for, and the only negative things I have heard have been about customer service from Excalibur. So here's to hoping you don't have any problems! Good luck (and happy 4th!)

Aimee said...

Your old model looks like what I have. It works ok, but you know what? It doesn't work any better than my oven. I set the oven at 170 (the lowest I can) and leave them in for about a half hour, then I turn the oven off. It has a fan in it, which blows until the oven is at room temperature, I guess. Then I repeat. If I'm dehydrating small stuff like blueberries or raspberries or thin slices of things like squash, a couple of cycles is enough.

Anonymous said...

I have the same Excalibur 3900, but it hasn't gotten much use this season. How are the dehydrated squash for humans? Do they turn soggy when rehydrated?

Kristina said...

How's your Costata Romanesco producing? (Pretty well, from the looks of things!) I tried that variety last year and, though delicious, I decided that with space constraints I was better off growing a higher-yielding variety.

Hope your dehydrator is up and running soon!

Erin said...

Wow! That thing looks awesome! Hope their customer service can step up to the plate for you and get it replaced quickly, can't wait to hear your review on it!

BittersweetPunkin said...

Oh, I do hope it's up and running for you by now. That's a great idea btw...I didn't plant any veggies this year but I plan on doing so next year for sure.


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ChicagoMike said...

You alright out there?

Erin said...

Christy, no posts in awhile...thought I was the lazy one! Hope everything is okay and you have just been busy...

wyldthang said...

HI Christy, this is wyldthang from HT. I see you grew Black Krim. How did they turn out? I had bought one plant this year, but it just never got going (boo!). Hope all is well.