We have explored dehydrating cucumber slices as well as slices of a variety of other gourds. The flavors concentrate and the texture becomes leathery and chewy. When we puree these semi-dried fruits we end up with an incredibly flavorful expression of the fruit. So we figured if the slices worked well, drying the whole thing would be better.
Well, first of all drying whole cucumbers takes time. Second of all drying whole cucumbers smells more like rotting cucumbers. If you can get past these first two obstacles you end up with a long, leathery and limp cucumber which looks weeks past its prime. Yet, the leathery, wrinkled skin is appealing. It is a texture and color we have not worked with and it draws us in. The flesh of the dried cucumber is less than thrilling, really a concentrated bitter pulp. So, with optimism we tried the skin. It seems we need more optimism because the skin is bitter and rather off putting. It is something we want to like, tasting again and again, hoping for an improvement and knowing full well we are not going to get it. Still, this initial exploration shows promise. I think a better cucumber may provide results worth smiling about. And if the cucumber fails then their is the zucchini and if not the zucchini well... Ideas are only skin deep, it is when you put them into practice that you can discover their potential.
February 13, 2007