Why in the world would anyone want to dehydrate pickles? Because you can, of course! Use these easy instructions to extend the use of a boring jar of pickles!
There are always those projects that I love trying because I can.
I was inspired by Shelle @ RockinWHomestead's awesome post about dehydrating pickles, but I wanted to take it a step further by dehydrating SWEET pickles, too!
Why?! Because I can, that's why! And I've got the t-shirt to prove it!
One thing I love about dehydrating is playing with different foods to see what the dehydrating process does for them. My oldest son loves pickles, so as a lark last year, we tried dehydrating some kosher spear pickles. We were SO taken aback by the salt that we didn't finish them.
But we both knew there was more to it. And after hearing people talk about how good it was on popcorn, we gave it another try and he's hooked forever.
But I knew there could be more to it. And with the great pickle experiment, I learned a few important lessons along the way, and wanted to bring you in on the fun, too!
How to Dehydrate Pickles
For the purposes of this tutorial, we're going to be dehydrating both sweet and dill/sour pickles. I'm using commercially processed pickles, and while home-canned pickles will work the same way, your salt 'quality' may be different.
- Preheat Dehydrator to 135F / 57C
- Rinse Pickles
Even if you are a home canner, soak or rinse your pickles to help remove excess salt, vinegar, and other seasonings. This gets really concentrated during the drying process, and also contributes to a 'pungent' odiferous air quality in your home.
Because we did so many at once, it made our eyes water a little during this process.
The things I do for my readers! Just kidding - I love you guys!
But don't throw out the brine - here are ways you can use pickle juice!
- Cut Pickles to Size
You'll want to cut any thick pickles down to thinner slices.
• Spears and sandwich chips - no need to cut. The spears still have so much of the seed core that dehydrates down a lot. However, if your spears are very wide (think 1/2 of a large cucumber), you might want to cut it down lengthwise.
• Whole, half or gherkin type pickles should be sliced thin.
- Arrange Pickles on Dehydrator Trays
Leave enough room for pickle slices to have an air gap between them onto mesh trays. No need for parchment or fruit leather trays.
- Dehydrate at 135F / 57 C
• Dill / Sour pickles - 4-6 hrs
• Sweet pickles - up to 14 hours
When are Dehydrated Pickles Dry
Dehydrated dill/sour pickles are done when they snap when bent. Even spears should be crisp and not slightly gummy.
Dehydrated Sweet pickles are done when they are dry, firm, and hard. However, they will not be crisp like a dill pickle. Some may have a gummy texture like thick commercial fruit roll-ups.
How to Condition Dehydrated Pickles
As with every dehydrating project, conditioning is an important step many neglect to do. Ensuring that your pickles have an equalized humidity between pieces, and are fully dehydrated, helps you keep safer produce on your shelf.
Place your pickles in an airtight container, with enough room for them to move when shaken. Store on a shelf for a week, making sure to shake the jar each day, and look for any signs of condensation.
- If you see droplets of water, throw them back into the dehydrator to continue their drying process.
- If you see white filaments or fuzzy white blotches, you've developed mold and should throw the contents out, altogether.
How to Store Dehydrated Pickles
Dehydrated pickles can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year on the shelf.
Vacuum sealing in mason jars is the best course for long-term storage, but a simple airtight lid for the short-term is fine. Whether you have a large vacuum sealer or a handheld device, you'll need these Food Saver jar attachments in order to vacuum seal mason jars. They work with most models of vacuum sealers that have a hose attachment.
How to Make Dehydrated Pickle Powder
Simply grind fully dried pickles in the grinder of your choice. You need to have enough to create volume in something like the bullet blender that I use, but a coffee grinder would work just fine for small batches that pickles create.
Be sure to store dehydrated pickle powder in an airtight container appropriate to the quantity of powder that you have.
Ways to Use Pickle Powder
- Popcorn - one obvious way is the vinegary, salty flavor pickle powder adds to popcorn.
- Add to chicken salad or tuna salad without the texture of pickle pieces.
- Sprinkle on top of deviled eggs for a tang or mix into the yolk mixture for a savory deviled egg.
- Mix with sour cream, along with a little garlic powder, dill, and onion to create a salty, sour, creamy dip.
- Sprinkle on dehydrated or roasted cauliflower popcorn. Add a little nutritional yeast for a salty, cheesy flavored snack!
- Add to Bloody Marys.
- Add to a plain hummus recipe for pickle hummus.
- Sprinkle on burger meat.
- Sprinkle onto raw, thin, potato slices prior to dehydrating for some Salt & Vinegar 'chips'.
- Dust bread & butter powder on ice cream. No, you don't have to be pregnant to do it!
Watch my video to see the process as it happens.
Consider subscribing to my channel, too, for more dehydrating, canning and food preservation videos coming in 2020!
Ways to Use Pickle Juice
Now that you've created these awesome dehydrated pickles, what do you do wih the leftover pickle juice?
DO NOT THROW IT OUT!
Here are some creative ways that you can use that pickle juice!
- Soak chicken breast or tenderloins before breading and baking/frying (its a secret to Chick-fil-A chicken, too!)
- Drink it! The health benefits of the brine from building potassium to
- Make more pickles! You can slice cucumbers into the brine, and store in the refrigerator to create refrigerator pickle slices after about two weeks.
- Pickle eggs: Plop in some hard-boiled eggs into the brine and store in the fridge.
- Quick-pickle celery sticks: Celery loses moisture pretty quickly, and putting stalks in water to store in the fridge helps keep them nice and crisp. But think about how they'll taste taking in the pickle brine, instead!
Get a Printable Dehydrating Worksheet
If you are a member of the Purposeful Pantry Resource Library, click the red button below to download your dehydrating worksheet for this project.
If you're not a member, simply sign up for The Purposeful Pantry newsletter.
You'll receive weekly tutorials on dehydrating, pantry organization, and other food preservation posts. You'll receive your library access card upon confirmation.
A Word of Warning about Sodium Content
I'm using commercially canned pickles. The sodium content was from 110 to 220 mg per serving - which is only four slices. So if you are someone watching their sodium intake for any reason, be careful with dehydrated pickles. It will be so easy to over snack - you can't have just four! Well, you can, because they are SUPER salty!
Remember, your results may vary with home-canned and home pickled pickles, depending on how much salt is in your recipe.
If this intrigues you to start more of your own dehydrating projects at home, be sure to check out the dehydrating section here on the blog, and subscribe to my newsletter where you'll get more projects delivered to your mailbox each week, plus it will give you exclusive access to my Resource Library This is the place you can download ALL the printables and exclusive content! I'm also posting tutorials on my Youtube channel, and would love for you to join my Dehydrating Tips and Tricks group on Facebook for more immediate help and ideas!