As an urban dweller for most of my adult life, on those occasions when I had some land at my disposal I would invariably put in a garden. This was the case when I was living in New York City and my roommate and prospective future husband made a sweetheart deal to rent a wonderful old stone country house on by the stream on Spruce Run in the picturesque rural borough known as Glen Gardener in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
The whole experience was rather Gatsby-esque, but I was not content to just entertain our friends from the City with lawn parties/weekend getaways, I was out grubbing in the dirt—or rather verdant earth—and raising a medium-sized vegetable garden. Of course we had our work-a-day lives in the City, so my garden might go as much as two weeks without my
care. As any gardener knows, zucchini is a prolific producer, and if not picked regularly, the individual vegetables can grow from the size of your finger to the size of your forearm in about a week. In two weeks they can be positively humongous.
By autumn, the big old chest freezer in the kitchen was three-quarters full of zucchini in various stages of preparation, including giant stuffed zucchini. The next time we went out to the house we discovered we had no utilities. The power company worker opined that perhaps a raccoon had got on the utility wire to the house and caused it to separate from the main line—whatever. The contents of the chest freezer were a soggy mess than filled up a whole garbage can. I knew then I would never again grow giant zucchini and what zucchini I did grow, I would prefer not to freeze.
My first zucchini crop here in sunny Central California is coming in strong. So far I have used the rather bland vegetable raw in salads and cooked in stir fry or simply zapped in the microwave for a couple of minutes and flavored with butter and salt. But I haven’t been keeping up with the growing crop, unless I want to freeze it, which of course I don’t. Although I am considering throwing some zucchini sliced lengthwise and slathered with barbecue sauce on the grill then freezing any left overs.
So yesterday I got out the food dryer (purchased last year to accommodate the overflow crop from my apple tree) checked the food dehydration recipe book and came upon a simple, tasty solution: Zucchini Barbecue Chips
Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch rounds, baste with barbecue sauce, sprinkle with garlic salt and dry at 125 degrees for 7-11 hours. The smaller rounds dry more quickly and it took a total of 8 ½ hours for the largest to dry. Given that there are 20 calories in one cup of chopped zucchini, I estimated the sliced zucchini which covered four dryer trays at a total of 80 calories plus 70 calories for the two tablespoons of barbecue sauce which netted a whole plate piled in zucchini barbecue chips at only 150 calories along with more than a dozen healthful nutrients as follows:
.High to very high in iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, thiamim, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc, and dietary fiber and only two grams of sugar (not counting the barbecue sauce) • Low in saturated fat • No cholesterol