You may have cranked up your food dehydrator to preserve apples and tomatoes, but less-common choices -- cucumbers, for example -- are also well worth drying. Eat chewy cucumber slices out of hand as a snack, or chop them and incorporate them into salads and sandwiches. Crisp cucumber chips can be lightly salted for a low-calorie alternative to potato chips, crumbled over your salads as a garnish, or powdered in your spice grinder and added to breading and seasoning mixtures for a subtle, summery note of flavor.
Things You'll Need
- Sharp knife or mandoline
- Plastic storage bags
Slice your cucumbers into 1/8-inch rounds, using a sharp knife or a mandoline. The more uniform your slices, the more evenly and consistently the cucumbers will dry.
Arrange the cucumber slices on your dehydrator's tray, spacing them evenly so they don't touch. Air must be able to circulate freely around the slices, or they won't dry properly.
Load the trays into your dehydrator. If it offers variable temperature settings, any temperature between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit is acceptable. Plug in the dehydrator and turn it on.
Dry the cucumbers for 6 to 8 hours, until they reach the consistency you wish. Reaching a crispy, chip-like texture typically takes about two hours longer than for a leathery, chewy texture. Your actual time will vary with the efficiency of your dehydrator, the thickness of your slices, the ambient temperature and humidity, and many other factors.
Remove the dried cucumbers from your dehydrator and let them cool on a wire rack until they reach room temperature. Package them in small quantities into airtight plastic bags and store them in a cool, dark place.
Cut your cucumbers into 1/8-inch slices with a mandoline or sharp knife.
Arrange the slices evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet, taking care not to let them overlap. If they touch, they'll stick together after they're dried.
Set your oven to the lowest temperature it can manage, ideally 150 F or less. If you're drying one sheet of cucumbers, place it in the middle of your oven, or if you're doing two sheets place them in the upper and lower thirds.
Dry your cucumbers for 4 to 8 hours, depending how low a temperature your oven can manage. Turn the slices at least once to ensure the most even drying possible.
Remove your dried cucumbers from the oven when they reach your desired degree of dryness and let them cool to room temperature before packaging them into airtight plastic bags for storage.