Monday, November 09, 2009

Dehydrating Winter Squash and Pumpkins

This year, since I have no freezer space ever, I dehydrated our pie pumpkins and butternut squash puree. This makes storage a lot easier, since it can them be kept on a shelf. It's also better than canning, because squash and pumpkin can only be canned in chunks, since the puree is much too thick for safe canning.
As always, I started by halving the squashes, scooping out the seeds and strings, and placing them cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. These roast at 350 for about an hour or so, until they're mushy when poked at... yes, that's a technical designation. :)

I scooped out all the soft roasted flesh and pureed it with the stick blender until nice and smooth. This could be done in a food processor or blender or even with a potato masher, of course.
I measured two cups of puree per tray and spread it evenly on parchment paper. I tried to keep a consistent thickness of about a 1/4 of an inch, so that it would dry evenly.
After dehydrating for about 10 hours, the puree was stiff and completely dry to the touch. It peeled off of the parchment paper very easily.

I tore the pumpkin "roll-up" into small pieces and was able to pack the two cups of puree into half-pint jars. To use this, I'll soak it in about 1 1/2 cups of warm water, until it's re-hydrated and stir it back into puree, and use it for any recipe calling for a can of pumpkin.

I thought maybe I should have added pumpkin pie spices to the puree before drying it, since that would have made the spices permeate the puree and blend together better, but this way it'll be able to be used for any pumpkin recipe, not just a pie. Maybe I'll try it that way next year too, and see which I like better.

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Bonnie Story said...

Good going! I just made some "plum leather" with my neighbor using her Excalibur. It's so, so, so good, just out of this world. It really concentrates the flavors and I bet your reconstituted pumpkin puree is yummy like that too.

Bethany said...

Plum leather sounds really yummy!

I'm just loving my excalibur to bits!

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