Cucumber Onion Chip Croutons

Well folks, my coveted dehydrated cucumber chip recipe from my retired, but still accessible, nettlefetter blog seems to be my most popular posting to date. It seems fitting since cucumber chips are ridiculously delectable with their wafer thin surface and dynamite crackling crunch,  however I thought it in need of a facelift for the new 2013 preservation season. Brainstorming, I immediately jumped to creating a dehydrated pickle.  The addition of some pungent sliced onions and a sweetened balsamic brine to the cucumbers and my recipe was rolling.  A little black pepper and salt to top it off and now I was cookin' er, dehydratin'!

Granted, this might not be the first thing you would think to slice and dice for the dehydrator but push forward, it is certainly worth it! Placed atop salads, vegetables and fish it provides the perfect variety of textural sensation for the palate.

Please note: This is definitely one for the outdoors or porch. The onions tend to err on the side of stinky armpits while dehydrating.  It didn't bother me but your other house guests may feel differently.  Final flavor is however, FREE of sweaty underarm stank.

Cucumber Onion Chip Croutons

2 T. balsamic vinegar

2 T. cider vinegar

2 T. water

2 T. sugar

1 T. pickling spices

4-5 lb. cucumbers (preferably english or japanese cucumbers)

1-2 lb. red and/or yellow onions, skins removed

black pepper & salt to taste

Combine the vinegars, water, and sugar over medium high heat and stir till the sugar has dissolved into the vinegar. Bring to a boil throw in the pickling spice and remove from heat.

While waiting for brine to cool, peel and slice 1/4 inch thick with a mandolin or food processor all the cucumbers.

Slice the onions into half moons and then slice with a mandolin or food processor 1/4" thick as well.

Mix the onions and cucumbers together in a large bowl and toss well. Then dump over the pickling brine and toss to coat all the slices, allowing them to marinate about 5 minutes in the brine.

Remove from brine and lay on your dehydrator trays leaving room so that the chips aren't stacked on top of one another and steam instead of dry. Grind pepper and sprinkle with salt for taste.

Place in the dehydrator on 135 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10-14 hours or until the chips are very crispy.

Remove from the trays, allow to cool for an hour then place in an airtight container.  Add the crouton chips to anything your heart desires for a light textural crunch!