Thursday, October 7, 2010

Zucchini Candy

Everyone knows that you need to keep an eye on your zucchini patch to prevent it from taking over your yard and producing canoe size zucchini. Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating slightly but zucchini growers know what I'm talking about.

Everyone has their favorite zucchini recipes for loaves, muffins, chocolate cake, etc., etc., etc.

Well I found a recipe on the following link for Zucchini Candy.
Yes, you read correctly - candy.  It is supposed to taste similar to gumdrops or fruit snacks. 

Since I didn't grow any zucchini this year but didn't want to wait until next year to try this recipe out, I placed a request for large zucchini on my local Freecycle Network.  And yes there were a few lurking around out there.

First, I peeled and seeded the zucchini.

 Next, cut into bite-sized cubes or pieces.  Remember that the pieces shrink upon drying.

You can also cut the zucchini into strips or worms.  Remember that they may take longer to dry.

I used my handy french fry cutter with the 1/2" squares instead of 1/4".

It made the job so much easier and quicker.

I made 1/2 batches using 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/4 cups sugar and one package of Koolaid.  I found a smaller deeper pot worked better than a larger one.  I added between 6 to 8 cups of zucchini making sure all zucchini was covered with liquid.  Below I used Cherry Koolaid.

Simmer for 25 minutes and then drain.  Below is Raspberry-Lemonade Koolaid flavour.

Place on dehydrator trays and dry. I dried mine for longer than the 18 hours but the humidity was high and I know that makes a difference in my drying times. 

I did not turn the pieces but I rotate my trays because I use 8 trays instead of 4.

For this batch I added 2 TBSP of cinnamon and 2 TBSP lemon juice instead of Koolaid.  I decided not to add any food colouring as was suggested in the original recipe.

Here I used 2 TSP of Watkins Anise Flavouring.

This shows how much the pieces dry out so you don't want them too small to start with or they will fall through the holes in the trays.

The recipe suggested shaking them in sugar but I found they sugar did not stick.  I tried some in icing sugar and it worked better.  Looking back at the recipe, it suggests shaking them in sugar before they have finished drying.  I may try that next time.

I used the two large zucchini and made four 1/2 batches.  The flavours were all fairly mild and the candy was nice and chewy.  The Raspberry-Lemonade was my least favourite as it tasted only slightly lemony with no raspberry flavour.  I thought the anise would be very licoricy because of how strong it smelled while cooking and drying but that wasn't so.  Next time I may add more anise because I love licorice.  The cinnamon tasted like apple cinnamon fruit snacks. 

I will make these again but need to check out Koolaid flavours in the summer as they were quite limited now.  I may also check out the baking section of the grocery store or my Watkins dealer for different extracts to try.  I'm thinking a mint may be nice.

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