Dehydrated pumpkin

I read this post at Not Something Else blog and thought, “now that’s interesting”. I have a dehydrator,  and hadn’t thought of drying pumpkin before.

At first I thought, “why bother?” Pumpkins store pretty well and if there’s been a good harvest it’s possible to have pumpkin to eat right through the winter.

Then I thought of those times when I’ve had a poor harvest (pretty often, unfortunately), and have been given a monster pumpkin by a neighbour, and once it’s cut into, there’s a fair chance it will go to god before I can eat it all — buckets of pumpkin soup and lavish plates of roast pumpkin nothwithstanding.

So I thought I’d have a go at drying some pumpkin.

Not Something Else roasted his pumpkin first, then mashed it, spread it on the dehydrator tray and in the end had a lot of trouble with the dried product sticking to the tray. I watched the video he linked to and wasn’t impressed with the greyish-looking product the woman in the video produced.

I didn’t want to go down that path and thought of the Thermomix (when am I not thinking of what I can do in it!)

I peeled and cubed a small amount for starters (a quarter of a small Butternut), and gave it 5 seconds at speed 5 in the Thermie. Nicely chopped. Put it in the dehydrator on a piece of baking paper over the top of my tray, because the basic frame of my trays is covered with a piece of perforated plastic. It took a few hours to dry at a temperature of about 40º C (I had a batch of yoghurt curing in there at the same time, so couldn’t increase the temp).

It dried pretty well and didn’t stick to the paper. Some of it had stuck together in lumps so I put it all back into the Thermomix and gave it a few seconds to free it all up and make it more friable.

The dried mix contained some coarse pieces and some fines. I sieved it through a couple of sieves and ended up with three particle sizes:

Next day, I finished off the rest of the Butternut and also did a piece of Jap that had been in the fridge for a while. Here’s the Jap just going into the dryer. It was a coarser chop than the butternut, even though it was chopped for the same speed and time. Lovely colour!:

The dried Jap pieces didn’t stick together as much as the Butternut; I think the coarser chop was the reason.  And I think the reason why I got a range of particle sizes with the Butternut was that it chopped much finer than the Jap initially and putting it back into the Thermomix to break up the dried pieces ground some of it to smaller particles. I didn’t need to sieve the Jap pieces because there were no visible fines.  Probably, it’s all something to do with the different textures of the pumpkin flesh.

Now I have some dried pumpkin. What next?

Well, I’m going to put a couple of tablespoonfuls into my next loaf of bread. Should give it an interesting colour. I’m thinking of a batch of biscuits using the very fine stuff. Savoury or sweet, I think the pumpkin will complement them. It can also be used in casseroles as a thickener — there are loads of possibilities. Of course, the Thermomix will reduce dried particles of any size to a powder, so it doesn’t matter what the initial chop is like, just that smaller pieces will dry more quickly.

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9 Responses to “Dehydrated pumpkin”

  1. notsomethingelse Says:

    Happy to have planted an idea you were able to use, since I have benefited from so many of yours.

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  2. narf77 Says:

    I SO envy you your thermomix! Penniless hippies who own a vitamix’s that cost the earth years ago simply can’t justify the cost to their head shaking husband (especially as the vitamix lay fallow for several years gathering dust before I actually started to use it to make my nut milks for my tea 😉 ). I could chunk it up in my food processor and have a go in my excalibar? I could even puree it in the vitamix and spread it out on the teflex sheets (after washing them well from the dog treats I made ;)) and make a sort of raw pumpkin leather that could be used in cooking? Great idea Bev! And Mr Notsomthingelse. I adore pumpkin in any form (aside from pie ech!) and having some spare is usually not possible because I eat it all before it can be preserved BUT should some kind pumpkin producer give me a monster I will be armed and ready! 🙂

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      A food processor would chop it pretty well. I wouldn’t puree it though. I think it wouldn’t dry as well. Having a reasonable particle size enables you to stir it around on the tray a bit as it’s drying. I did mine with a fork (fingers work too), turning the outsides into the middle as it dried.

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  3. narf77 Says:

    Completely off side left here to do with this post Bev but hopefully you get some salsify to grow and you might like to try it in this scrumptious looking recipe 🙂

    http://www.vegalicious.org/2012/11/12/caramelized-salsify/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+vegalicious%2FtbXm+%28Vegalicious%29

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  4. MaidenFarmer Says:

    Looks interesting! Never thought of dehydrating pumpkin either…..
    Mandarin peelings dried and reduced to a powder make a fabulous citrus boost in all sorts of baking so why not pumpkins too!
    Barbara transplanted out and flowering- holding my breath……

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      My Barbara isn’t doing well. It’s planted out but just not growing. Maybe it needs more heat. At least it hasn’t died!

      Congrats on getting yours to flower. I’ll look forward to hearing how it goes and keep my fingers crossed for my poor specimens.

      Thanks for the idea about the mandarins. I’ve picked and eaten all mine! Next year!

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