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Dried cucumbers are a type of dehydrated vegetable eaten in slices or ground up and made into a powder for use as a seasoning. Slices of dried cucumbers may be consumed on their own or as an ingredient in other dishes. Powdered versions of dried cucumber are used as seasonings for soups, dips, and herb butters.
Cucumbers are often cut into slices prior to the process of dehydration. As a snack, cucumber chips can be eaten as a healthier alternative to potato chips. If being used for cucumber chips, the individual preparing the cucumbers dehydrates the cucumber slices until they reach a leathery, bendable texture. He or she may also sprinkle the slices with salt prior to dehydration. Just as it does with potato chips, salt adds flavor to dried cucumber chips.
If left unsalted, slices of dried cucumber can also be used as ingredients in soups. The cook prepares the slices by letting them sit in liquid until they soften and partially rehydrate. Chicken stock is generally preferred over water, since it infuses more flavor into the cucumbers. After they rehydrate, the cucumber slices are simmered in additional stock with any extra vegetables, spices, and herbs the cook decides to include. This process often produces a richer-tasting cucumber soup than those made with fresh cucumbers.
When intended to be used as a powdered seasoning, dried cucumbers are dehydrated at a higher temperature for a greater length of time. Drying the cucumbers longer makes the slices more brittle and easily crushed or ground. A cook who wishes to include the flavor of cucumbers in a soup or stew recipe without wanting to use actual pieces of cucumber in the dish would use powdered cucumber. The powdered cucumber would get added along with any other herbs or spices prior to simmering the soup or stew.
Powdered dried cucumbers also make a good seasoning for dips. The cook usually adds this seasoning to sour cream and mayonnaise along with other seasonings like dill weed, onion powder, and salt. Some commercially available seasonings even combine powdered cucumber with these other seasonings. A dip containing powdered cucumber works well with vegetables, like fresh cucumbers, carrots, and celery. It also works well when served with cucumber chips or potato chips.
Another use for dried cucumbers is in herb butter. Dried cucumbers ground into powder can be mixed into softened butter, along with other seasonings like dill weed, to evenly combine all the flavors. After the herb butter chills, the cook can add it to vegetables, fish, poultry, or other meats as desired prior to cooking. The set cucumber herb butter can also be placed on the table as an elegant addition to the place setting for guests to use on bread.
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