Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Makeshift Dehydrator

Makeshift Dehydrator

Sometimes I just don’t have enough racks to dehydrate everything before it goes bad. That happened just before Thanksgiving when I was given a small box of pickling cucumbers. My machines were full of onions and I was at a loss as to how to deal with them. 

Remember, you don’t necessarily need electricity to dehydrate most foods.  Just a dry, airy place with good ventilation.

I rummaged around in the cabinet and found several sets of cake / cookie drying racks.


I opened out the legs and stacked one on top of another. Just to be sure they don’t fall apart in case I accidently bump them, I used a bit of pink duct tape to hold the racks together.


These were placed on a silicone baking tray I happened to have.  The bottom rack is actually a clean grid I use for draining fried foods. You don’t need the silicone baking tray, you can just set it on a convenient counter. Since I have such limited space, I figured that having a base would be convenient in case I needed to move the rack before they were done. 

After peeling the cucumbers, I sliced them in about ¼ inch pieces, then spread them out on the racks. It took about a week for them to dry. The bottom rack took two more days.
Longer to Dry

I noticed the bottom rack took longer to dry. I think because it was barely off the counter and there wasn’t enough air circulation underneath it.

Dried Cucumber Slices

Here is the air-dried cucumber slices. They are crispy and snap when you bend them.


  1. My question is how did these cucumbers keep from molding during the week it took them to dry??

    1. When you have plenty of air circulating around them, they will dry before they go bad. Also, they are sliced thin. I slice most things around 1/4 inch, that's what my mandolin slicer is set at.

      When you have thick things, they will tend to mold when the air can't evaporate from them.

      If you live in a humid climate, you may need to set a fan in front of them to increase air circulation. The more the air blows, the more quickly they will dehydrate.

  2. I like the idea of a mandolin slicer. I have been using a salad shooter for most of my slicing just for speed sake and my hands are arthritic.

  3. How long does it take to rehydrate the cucumbers?

    1. We're not big cucumber fans, so I rarely have them. However, when I am intending to use them in a salad, generally, I crush them into crumbles and sprinkle them over a salad.

      I' ve never bothered rehydrating cucumbers, so I honestly can't say. I would guess at least one or two hours. Whenever I'm not sure about how long to rehydrate, I usually put them in water in the fridge first thing in the morning. Some things only take an hour or two, but some take quite a bit longer. Usually, by supper time, they are ready to use.

      Some things rehydrate faster in hot water, but I don't think that would be a good idea for cucumbers.

      We prefer pickles, so these cucumbers are earmarked for pickles. The easiest thing to do is save a jar of your favorite pickle juice. Stuff it full of dehydrated pickles, (or any other kind of sliced, dehydrated veggies) and refrigerate them overnight. By the next day you have pickles! What could be easier?