Jul 6, 2023
There’s a reason why people say, “cool as a cucumber.” The inside can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. This is because it has 95% water, more than watermelons and pineapples. This is why it’s very hydrating and, unfortunately, doesn’t store well. So let’s freeze-dry cucumbers and turn them into a delicious snack that can last 25 years on your shelf.
The best cucumbers are the firm, blemish-free ones with no soft spots. The skin can be bright to deep forest green in color depending on the variety. However, some are pale yellow (or, for others, white). Others have some white streaks or accents on them. What’s important is that the skin has no brown or unusually yellowish color.
The first step always is to clean your vegetables before processing. Even if you grew your cucumber pieces in your garden, they’re still prone to bacteria. Wash each vegetable thoroughly under running water to eliminate all surface contaminants. For added measure, soak them in a vinegar solution (4 cups water, 1/4 cup vinegar) for 5-10 minutes. After soaking, rinse until the vinegar scent subsides.
Some cucumbers can be bitter because of the cucurbitacins. The more the cucumber has cucurbitacins, the more bitter the skins become. These compounds are present in vegetable, but growing conditions can increase their amount. One of the ways to lessen the bitterness is to cut out a small portion at the top. Then rub that “cap” in a circular motion where it was once attached. Keep rubbing until you no longer see a foam-like substance oozing from the cucumber. Next, do the same on the opposite end, then wash thoroughly.
It’s not a very popular method, but it can help remove the bitterness. It’s the same as the previous method, but the only difference is cutting the cucumber half lengthwise. Sprinkle the exposed surface with salt, then rub the surfaces together until foam emerges. Rinse and repeat 3x.
After cutting the ends and peeling the cucumber, use the tines of the fork to furrow along the cucumber. Then wash the vegetable to take out the bitter compound.
There are several ways to cut your cucumber, depending on what you want to do with them.
This is a popular way to freeze dry cucumber since it’s very easy and requires minimal effort. If you love using your extremely sharp knife, they work well in slicing cucumbers thinly. On the other hand, a mandolin can do the job easily if you’re pressed for time and prefer even slices. On both methods, make sure to observe your hands to prevent accidents. Wear protective gloves or knuckle protectors if you feel you have to.
For flavored cucumber chips, you can marinate the cucumber slices in vinegar (apple cider, white, red wine, or rice vinegar would do), sugar, water, and a pinch of salt. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, but overnight is best. Or you can flavor it with other spices to make a healthier snack.
Minced freeze-dried cucumbers are great for garnishing and adding texture to salads. What you can do is mince the cucumber for a delicate crunch. Easier to make into cucumber powder too.
Want to make a Dragon Fruit Refresher drink but with a cucumber version? Cubes would be great to add flavor and texture to a lighter drink that you can boost with lemons.
Whatever shape you prefer, make sure the cucumber’s no thicker than 3/4 inch. You can also deseed the veggie before slicing, especially for cubed ones.
Cucumber has a high water content, so pre-freezing can work to your advantage. It’s not necessary, but a 48-hour pre-freeze can help save you time, electricity, and machine wear and tear.
Make sure the trays and chamber are both cold when you pre-freeze. This will help prevent the cucumbers from melting or condensing, which can strain your machine.
To freeze dry cucumber with your Harvest Right freeze dryer, all you have to do is:
Freeze-drying cucumber can take about 32 hours, depending on factors like the room’s humidity and temperature. Your product should be crisp, airy, crunchy, and easy to crumble.
Mason jars are good for short-term storage because they’re easy to reseal. They’re also strong enough to protect your fragile cucumber crisps. For long-term storage, use Mylar bags. They’re light weight, can keep light and heat out, and don’t take up a lot of space.
Remember to use oxygen absorbers before sealing your container. About 1-2 of the 300cc packets are okay for every gallon size of your container. Replace the packets each time you open your stash. However, this is unnecessary if you finish a jar or pack in a day or two.
Keep the jars or bags in a cool, dark, and dry room. Storage temperature should be below 72°F (22 °C) with a relative humidity of 15% or less.
Rehydrating is easy and only takes 5-10 minutes. Place the cucumber in a bowl and add water until it pools at the bottom. Next, mix the pieces so that every piece gets rehydrated.
One thing you need to note, though. These rehydrated pieces won’t have the same texture as a fresh cucumber. They will have the same flavor, but that fresh, refreshing crunch won’t be there.
If you prefer to buy freeze-dried cucumber, here are some places you can order from.
MRE Depot specializes in meals ready to eat food. Their freeze-dried cucumbers are 100% US-Made and packed in #2.5 cans sold for $13.95. Yes, these are twice smaller than #10 cans, so they’re not as plenty.
Not only does The Rotten Fruit Box have freeze-dried pomegranates. They also offer freeze-dried cucumber grits. These are made using 100% cucumbers sourced from local farmers. The product has no sugar added, is GMO-free, vegan, and is fiber-rich. A 0.8oz (23g) pack will cost you $5.29. Unfortunately, there are no reviews to let us know if the price is worth it.
If you’re freeze-drying cucumbers to make cucumber powder, then why not try KOYAH. Their cucumber powder is made from 100% cucumber that’s USA-grown, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegan, and whole-food. A jar that costs $39.99 weighs 2.75 oz (78g), enough to give you 60 servings.
Freeze-dried cucumber transforms this refreshing vegetable into a crunchy, satisfying snack. If you soak or season the sliced veggie with vinegar, you’ll discover that the acid mellows down a touch. Something good for those who aren’t particular about the acidic bite.
Will you freeze-dry or buy freeze-dried cucumbers instead? Let us know your choice and why in the comment section.
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