Zucchini candy recipe

Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)September 6, 2009

This seemed so strange I had to try it. Glad I did ! Amazing how it tastes like fruit snacks. Cheap, too. Not saying it is healthy, but a fun treat. My family likes black cherry the best. I have been drying overnight, put on about 9 or 10 pm. and it is done in the morning. Works great for the timing for me.

Zucchini Candy

10 cups peeled diced zucchini 1/2 inch cubes ( I use "worms" about 3 inches long and 1/12 inch thick and wide. The little dice would be good in muffins, though.

3 cups water

2 pkgs. unsweetened Koolaid

2 1/2 cups sugar

Peel zucchini,

diced, removing seeds. Mix the liquid syrup together. Add zucchini. Bring to

a boil and them simmer for 25 min. Drain. Put on dehydrator trays. Dry 14

hours at 125 degrees. Turn pieces over and dry another 4 hours. This will

feel dry and not sticky when done. Store in jars or other tightly sealed

containers.If you dip in sugar when you turn them, they will be more like

"gum drops" on the outside.

You can do the same thing with the zucchini

but use 48 oz. pineapple juice

2 T. pineapple extract

2 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

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Great receipe thinking any flavor kool ade brings alot of things you can use them for later.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 8:33AM
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Wow--Linda--this looks like fun--we are going to do this this morning!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 8:33AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I think the dices could be used in muffins or cookies, like gumdrop cookies. Orange will be good. Is there blueberry Koolaid ? I need to look. Raspberry would be good, too.
I did grape, but they are sort of black looking, not the prettiest. Still taste good, though.
Have fun with this. Wish I had more free zucchini. BIG ones.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 4:34PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Thanks LindaLou! It does look strange, but fun.
I can see them in fruitcakes. What do you think?

I don't like citron or the commercially candied fruit, but normally use raisins, dates, maraschino cherries and whatever other dried fruit I have.

Now.........to find some big ol' zukes! Mine just didn't do well this year. Got some bad soil delivered.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 9:34AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I would try muffins or something first to be sure they stay firm if that is what you want in the fruitcake.
Here I can't make enough z. candy to have it last to even find out !

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 2:01PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Good idea!!! I'll do that, if I can find some zucchini.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 2:35PM
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Do you see any problems with using part sugar and part sugar substitute?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 12:25PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I thought about using Splenda since I am diabetic, but haven't done it yet. Never added Splenda when drying foods. Not sure if it will "candy" the same or not.
Try a small batch and see.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 2:33PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

No, it will not act like sugar to candy anything. The reason is it has no carbohydrate molecule that is removed in the process in making it from sugar. They use chlorine to seperate the carbs. You can probably try some honey. High sugar will act almost like salt in that it soaks up moisture after a while. You could try sorbitol, but consume with care as it isnt easy to digest.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 5:01PM
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I made this and it's good. Now I'm wondering if I could do a few more cups of zucchini after the initial 10 cups based on the amount of syrup that I had left. My DH came home with cherry Koolaid because he couldn't find any black cherry, he said the "candy" tastes kind of like red licorice, I'll be making more I know. Have to keep some put away for the grandkids!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 12:24AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I did reuse the syrup and found it pretty good, but not quite as flavorful. From now on, if I can get more than the 10 cups of zucchini, I will just cook it all at once in a bigger pan.
Isn't that a fun recipe ? We just love it. My family still likes the black cherry best, but all are good. I still have lemonade to use, but no more free zucchini yet. I keep hoping and praying for some !
Glad you like it, too. My grandson would have eaten it all at once if we had not taken the bag away. I have more made for him to take when I go up there next week.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 1:13AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I made 4 flavors this weekend!
Here's what they look like after drying and shaking with a bit of sugar. The bottom bag is just canned pineapple that I dried (extra room in the dryer).

I agree that you could get at least 12-13 cups out of the amount of juice, maybe more.

They are amazingly similiar to gummy worms or gumdrops.
I plan to use them in fruitcakes this winter!! They will give those "bright colors" without being quite as processed as the candied CARP in the store.

Thanks for sharing a fun recipe, LindaLou!
Wish I had grandkids............................. :-(


    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 2:43PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Those look great. I am so happy you are having fun with this, too. Seems so silly to beg for free zucchini when usually people don't know what to use it for.
I think they taste like fruit snacks. I need to go on a zucchini hunt at the produce markets for some cheap ones.
Hey, the carrot and zucchini muffins are pretty good, too.
Thanks for sharing your picture !!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 2:57PM
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I just made these last night, using the black cherry koolaid and 12 cups of zucchini cubes. I'm taking them to the grandkids tonight to see if I can pass them off as fruit snacks, LOL.

I brought a small container to the office and not one single person could identify it as zucchini, LOL.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 4:41PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I'm trying the same thing with my adult daughter! She claims to hate zucchini (childhood trauma, I planted 15 zucchini plants and couldn't bear to waste any....GRIN).
We'll see if she can identify it! Hope she doesn't read this....... :-)


    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 12:34PM
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kathy_in_washington(Zone 8 Sequim,WA)

Well, not growing zucchini, I listed a "wanted" request on our local Freecycle forum. Just received a box of 8 HUGE zukes, with a promise of another box tomorrow. (Needless to say, I've relisted that we "found" everything we need.)

So, I think tomorrow I will follow Linda Lou's directions of cutting up into worms. Still have questions, though, of those who have already made this candy.

1. Is it quicker, easier, or better to cut up into dices prior to dehydrating?

2. Is the extra sugar on the outside (so they'll be like gumdrops) applied during the drying process, or after they're completely dried?

3. I know that Black Cherry is good, and that Red Cherry tastes like Red Licorice. Linda Lou said that Grape is good, but looks black. Have any other flavors been delicious? Has anyone tried cooking these with Pineapple Juice and the Extract?

4. Storage: Plastic bags, and then (a) Refrigerator, or (b) Room temperature.

Thank you so much -- this is really going to be an odd experience for me. Who knows, though, I may really get into this and start making my own Spice Drops! Now, if I could just find an outlet that sells Licorice Extract I'd be ecstatic!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 5:27PM
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Kathy, use anise extract and I think you will be happy with a "licorice" flavor.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 11:21AM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I just made a variation of these candies. It turns out I have a lot of self seeded shiso herb growing all over the yard. I have the green one and also the red/purple one. It is the herb that is used to give a red color to umeboshi plums, and I think it is also used to give a pink color to the ginger in sushi places. I had recently made a tea by soaking the leaves overnight in boiling water and adding a tiny amount of citric acid. The beverage came out in a brilliant pink color, even brighter than kool aid, looks artificial but it is natural... In any case, having heard of shiso candy, I thought merging the two concepts would use all this garden produce for some quick energy snacks...

So I made a very strong bright pink shiso tea (I used about 4 cups shiso leaves in 8 cups water), and mixed it with an equal amount of sugar volume wise. I made a lot more than I had squash for, I only tried 4 cups of cubed squash, just as an experiment. I figure I can use shiso syrup mixed with bubbly water for a soft drink. Also, there is a lot more squash growing in the yard, so I can pick it young or fully grown....

I added the juice of 4 lemons to the mix (8 cups shiso tea and 8 cups sugar), boiled the squash cubes for closer to one hour in the syrup. One reason for that is that they are a hybrid summer/winter squash, so the flesh is firmer than zucchs. Also, I was trying to transfer the brilliant pink shiso color to the squash cubes, but this took a while, and they only got lightly tinged with pink. The drying took less time than the recipe suggests, it was more like 10 hours. However, i live in a hot dry climate. I rolled the chunks in sugar, and they fill a small candy dish. The color is light pink and not unattractive.

The shiso flavor did not transfer enough for my taste, but they are pretty good anyway. I guess this means making the tea even stronger. I would add more lemon juice next time as well. I might try it with a different flavor for the next batch and use the remaining syrup for drinks.

I am thinking green tea as a flavor, since I have instant green tea packets. The pineapple one sounds very good too, but would require a trip to the store.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 12:47PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

While weeding the squash patch I find 1 baseball bat sized summer squash and my partner finds 2 more! (one of them actually thicker than an average baseball bat). I did have my eye on the planted black beauties (have still 4 of them coming up, still babies) but these other benign monsters are black beauty/acorn squash hybrids, and they volunteer in spots that are elusive....so we decided to do something 'fun' with them again, and this meant trying more flavors of zucchini candy.

As I suggested a trip to the grocery store for koolaid he presents me with a good assortment of food dyes that we already had around. My eyes and brain wandered/wondered to the garden and the refrigerator....so we came up with these flavors/colors:

Golden citrus:
about one pint of minneola syrup, made with simple syrup (1/2 1/2 water and sugar) and packed with the washed rinds of minneolas. I had this syrup leftover in my fridge from making Minneola wine. Any citrus rind and lemon juice combo should work though. I then added 1 drop of yellow food color and 6 cubes of frozen lemon juice (I used Eureka lemons) which I do in ice cube trays. This flavor came out very good and good use of our citrus too (we live in a citrus micro orchard....)

Green mint:
I used 1/2 and 1/2 simple syrup, but instead of the water I used 2 cups of the strongest mint tea I could make. I harvested a bunch of mint from the garden on the spot (I have too much mint because someone planted it on the ground 16 years ago - always plant your mint in pots!), and poured boiling water on the washed leaves (took stems out). I packed the tea kettle with mint leaves. Let it steep 15 minutes and poured while still hot on the sugar that I had mixed with 2 ice cube size chunks of frozen eureka lemon and 3 drops green food color.

Red cinnamon chili:
Use simple syrup, add 2 iced cubes lemon juice and 3 drops red food color, 6 tablespoons of VERY HOT chili sauce, and 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon. The cinnamon flavor transfers a lot more than the chili, and the chili flavor is an aftertaste that leaves you wondering. For the chili paste I used our own ground up pequins and scotch bonnets (he he...I told you VERY HOT).

The rest of the instructions are as above. As far as measurements. I used about a pint of syrup mix for each baseball size squash, but after peeling and deseeding. The total squash chunks/syrup volume was only about a quart. I coated all dehydrated chunks with granulated sugar and I am trying to dry a batch after sugar coating to get them even chewier (the sugar sticks better when they are still moist). When cutting, take into consideration that the chunks dry to less than 1/2 their original volume.

You might have guessed a desire for gold/green/purple (Mardi gras colors used in king cakes). The gold and green are great, the red is a maroon/dark berry color that could be more purple if I used lavender sugar sprinkles. I know I could also use grape kool aid, and might still try it, but the cinnamon pepper flavor is so good! We might let the 2 remaining hybrid squash grow to monster dimensions and make some more for king cake decorations using our leftover syrups.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 3:20PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Well, the end of the zucchini season is near, but we are counting the squash and waiting to harvest the largest bats we can get so we can make some more of the candy! It really turned out very good. It sounds funny to have a couple of grown ups raving about candy, but they do have more of a grown up taste than store candy. Also, they are a nice quick energy fix that we appreciate in our weekly hikes in the local mountains.

Next time I will use a mix of dried and fresh mint to make the mint syrup even stronger, the other two flavors were perfect. We told some family members about these candies and already have requests for the red cinnamon chili ones!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 3:20PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I pulled this thread up to print out the recipe, and Cabrita, your idea of a cinnamon flavor has me wondering if I could use Red Hots, and maybe just decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe?

My kids love gummy worms, fruit roll-ups, etc, so I can't wait to try this on them.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 11:11PM
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I made a couple of batches yesterday, lime and black cherry. I liked the lime best!


    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 10:38AM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Good this got bumped!

Annie, nice picture! mine look similar, except cut more in cubes, not strips, and the green is mint flavored, while the dark red is cinnamon chili pepper flavor. We are getting ready to vacuum pack and freeze these two flavors. The next batch will be golden colored (citrus taste) and if we manage to keep some, we can have our own decorations for king cakes. We make several king cakes between epiphany and mardi gras. Filled with marzipan.....hmmmmm

highaltransplant, I think you could use the recipe I posted above, but omit the chili pepper. Using the candy Red Hots might be very good too, experiment and let us know how it goes!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 6:31PM
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I am intrigued by this recipe and want to try it using those artifically sweetened drink mixes like Crystal light and adding maybe half the sugar. Do you think this would work or no? The flavors are pretty intense.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 4:54PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I finally tried this recipe yesterday. Forgot that a batch uses 2 packs of Kool-aid, so when I was at the store I bought one packet of Black Cherry and one Pink Lemonade. So I have a half a batch of each. The kids and I agree that the Black Cherry is the winner. Couldn't find any lime, and I really want to try making a cinnamon batch next time too.

Have a time saving tip. Use a french fry cutter instead of hand dicing. DH has one that cuts either 1/4" or 1/2". I used the 1/2" cutter, and they came out perfect.

I was wondering if you guys used the dehydrator sheets for making fruit leathers, but I see the grid marks in Annie's picture, so I guess I did it right : )


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 10:34PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Don't use the sheets or they will take too long to dry. Here the black cherry seems to be the favorite. I did not make any lime yet.
Bet my grandson would love the cinnamon ones.
I have not tried it with Splenda yet. I don't think it would work to dip them in though, because it seems to melt on things like that.
We now include this recipe in our classes and have samples for taste, too. No one has ever guessed it is zucchini yet.
The love it !

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 1:10AM
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Since you can interchange cucumbers with zuchhini in making pickles could you use cucumbers to make this candy? Right now I have more cukes than zukes.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 10:18AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Sorry, no the cucumbers would not work. Too watery and just not the same.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 3:56PM
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Can these be dried in an oven?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

If you try the oven it will take a very long time. Plus, not very efficient since you would have to open the oven door to allow moisture to escape, put a fan on the side of the oven to remove the moisture, etc.
It takes about 14 or more hours in a dehydrator so it could take a full 24 hours with your oven on and using it that way.
I would not suggest it. Probably cheaper to go to Walmart and get a good dryer. Not that new brand they had that I saw. It was worthless. You need a good fan, heat source, and adjustable thermostat to be used for drying foods. The Nesco brand is good. I forget what kind I saw there recently but it should not be used.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 2:30PM
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Thanks, Linda. I have a dehydrator, but a cheap Ronco that I bought many years ago. I don't use it much because it doesn't have a heat control or fan(I have to frequently rotate the trays). But, the main reason I was asking is that my neighbor received some monster zukes from her workplace and gave me one. I printed out your recipe to give her, but I don't think she has a dehydrator either.
I might try making the candy with my carpy Ronco, and have a small fan next to it, or set it outside. If it works, I can loan it to her if she wants to try it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 3:54PM
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sapman(z5 NY)

I have been making this since I saw the recipe, I think its a great way to use up those big zucchini that always seem to hide. I used to give them to a neighbor to feed her pigs. Made black cherry,grape,orange, lemon lime (couldn't find lime yet), and the pineapple (canned juice and extract) which is excellent. Definitely look for a dehydrator with a fan and heat control if you are buying one. I have a Nesco American Harvest that works better than the three other brands that I had in the past. I got mine on line, But I bought extra trays at Wal-mart, so they sell them.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 5:14PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Did you guys know today is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day?

Maybe you could attach the recipe for zucchini candy when you leave them : )


    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 6:44PM
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Thanks for the recipe. I think it tastes like more like fruit snacks than gumdrops. I posted pics and comments on my blog. :)


Here is a link that might be useful: My Mountain Garden Gleanings

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 3:33PM
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