Dehydrating cucumbers might sound odd and surprising. It is. I am not going to try to say otherwise. However, once you try to actually dehydrate cucumbers, you will know why this is my absolute favorite method for preserving vegetables in general. Especially cucumbers.
Choosing the right cucumbers for dehydration:
- Stay away from large cucumbers. Always go for small or medium cucumbers that aren’t filled with seeds, as the seeds will dehydrate even more through the dehydration process and won’t be so enjoyable.
- Waxed cucumbers aren’t recommended if you want to dehydrate them. Dehydrate cucumbers that come from your garden or the farmer’s market. They won’t be waxed. However, if only waxed cucumbers are available, then you can still dehydrate them once they are peeled.
Tools needed for the dehydration of the cucumbers:
If you are new to the whole dehydrating your food thing, then I highly recommend purchasing a dehydrator. It will come in handy once you go into dehydrating food, especially cucumbers.
And if you don’t have a food dehydrator, or simply don’t want to buy one. Then, you can totally rely on your oven. Keep in mind, though, that dehydrating cucumbers requires a very low temperature. So you have to have an oven that can dry your cucumbers instead of burning them.
Preparing your cucumbers prior to dehydrating them
It is important to prep your fresh cucumbers before you place them in the dehydrator or try to dehydrate them in any way.
The variety of the cucumbers is important when you are choosing the right cucumbers for dehydration. For example, pickling or English cucumbers have smaller seeds than other varieties with larger seeds. This allows them to dehydrate better and faster than any other variety.
Small cucumbers have softer skin and tend to dry better than larger ones, so they are recommended for drying. In case your cucumbers have tough skin, you can blanch them in hot boiling water for half a minute, then cool them in ice water to allow their skin to soften.
How to dehydrate your cucumbers?
- Slice your cucumbers using a sharp knife or mandoline slicer into round, thin slices or spears, whichever you prefer. Make sure all the slices are of the same thickness so that they dry evenly. Mandolin slicer is a good choice that results in uniform slices of cucumber.
- Align your cucumber slices in a single layer on a lined dehydrator tray. Try to leave enough space between the slices.
- Allow the cucumber slices to dehydrate after adjusting the temperature to 125 degrees. It should take from 8-10 hours according to the thickness of the slices and the brand of the dehydrator. I have the Excalibur dehydrator, which I consider a great investment when it comes to dehydrated vegetables.
- Once the cucumber slices are completely dry, sprinkle your favorite spices, or just plain sea salt with some garlic salt on top and enjoy them.
How to know whether your cucumbers are fully dry?
Once you hold the even slices between your two fingers, they are no longer soft and can easily snap when bent. Make sure there is no moisture coming out.
How can dry cucumbers be used?
You don’t have to feel pressured to do anything with your dried cucumber slices. In fact, they can be eaten as dehydrated cucumber chips, a healthy snack filled with a high nutritional value, same as potato chips. Even better when mixed with your favorite spices or any dip.
They can also be used in different salads:
- Creamy cucumber salad. Which is a sour cream and mayonnaise-based salad.
- Cucumber and onion salad. Which is usually made with apple vinegar.
- Asian cucumber salad. It has an abundance of flavors mainly due to the garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil.
You can also make pickles out of dried cucumbers. Just pour your boiled pickled brine over your dried cucumbers. Let them cool in the refrigerator to give time for all the flavors to blend together and dried cucumbers to rehydrate.
Using purchased dill pickles brine is also possible. However, you would need to boil it first.
Finally, you can rehydrate your dried cucumber slices and place a few in a pitcher of cold water with other fruits and drink them throughout the day.
How to store dried cucumbers?
It depends on whether you are planning to keep your dried cucumbers stored for a long time or a short time. But in both cases, you need to keep your dried cucumbers away from any moisture.
If you aren’t planning on keeping your dried cucumbers away for long and want a short term storage condition, then keeping them inside an airtight container, mason jars, glass jars, vacuum sealed bags, or even plastic freezer bags. Just keep them in a dry cool place, away from light and heat.
On the other hand, if you are planning for a long-term storage of your dried cucumbers, then I suggest you place them inside a vacuum-sealed bag or a plastic freezer bag, tightly sealed. Then, place the bag with the cucumbers inside a mylar bag. But before you do so, make sure to label the bag with the date and the contents so that you will know what it contains.
You can also place packs of oxygen absorbers inside the container of freezer bags to preserve and prolong the shelf life of your dehydrated cucumbers.
How can I rehydrate my cucumbers?
All you need to do is place your dried cucumber slices inside a bowel.
Pour hot water inside the bowel, cover it and give them a chance to rehydrate, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the excess water and there you have it. Rehydrated cucumbers.
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