Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pumpkin Powder

My sadly neglected garden may be full of head-high weeds and tangled vines, but it is managing to produce quite the harvest.  Plants are amazing, aren't they?

My New England Pie Pumpkin vines have made a bumper crop of small, bright orange squash.  I love this particular kind of pumpkin--it is thick walled, meaning lots of meat for pies and soups and such.  

Unfortunately, my vines were smacked by some kind of rampant blight, which caused the fruit on some of the vines to start rotting.  This is a small problem, as the harvested fruit that had to be pulled off the vines aren't cured.  "Curing" means that the skins are hard and tough, which is what you need to have in order for winter squash to actually "winter" over in storage.

So I had eight of these beauties to deal with.

Ever tried peeling multiple squash in one afternoon?  It's rather hard on the fingers, even with plenty of useful tools to use.

After making a batch of Pumpkin Curry soup, canning that plus seven quarts of chunked up flesh, I still had four more pumpkins to deal with.  So, I took the lazy way out:  I roasted two of the halved pumpkins in a 350 degree oven for a little over an hour, and then let them cool off.  Once they were cooled, I scooped out the flesh and pureed it, and then spread it over the fruit leather trays in my dehydrator.

I set the dehydrator at 145 degrees, and left it to work away overnight.  In the morning, I found incredibly crispy, dried sheets of pumpkin.  I crunched it up to a powder (more or less) in my food processor, and wound up with this:

To reconstitute it, simply add 1/3 cup powder to 2 cups of hot water.  I'm not entirely sure of the texture once it comes back to life, but I got some damp when I was cleaning things up and it immediately became sticky--just like ordinary pumpkin.  At any rate, one mostly filled pint jar which was once two whole pumpkins sure will fit into my pantry a lot more easily than jars and jars of flesh!

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