"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Pumpkin storage


Here in south Africa, pumpkins are not preserved as such.
Image source:
http://thechancemuse.blogspot.co.za/2012/04/pumpkin-cafe-and-other-roadside-wonders.html
Normally they are grown, left to hang on a withering vine, and then harvested and placed on a hot tin roof to weather the winter.

The pumpkins and butternut that I harvested last year were taken off the vine before they withered, and left to "air" on an open, but under cover shelf next to the alpaca feed.

They did OK - but not marvelously.  Towards the end the part of the pumpkin in contact with the shelf developed mould / rot. Perhaps there was too much moisture in the air?

Hmmm.  So, I wasn't happy.

Now, I don't have the freezer space to preserve that way.

And, I did not want to pressure can pumpkin.

So, the only other alternative was to dehydrate.

But, not via the use of electricity.

I want, and need, to deydrate via a solar / air method.
Freshly sliced pumpkin placed inside my Foothills
DryAway
I tried dehydrating slices in my Foothills DryAway, but I think I must have sliced it too thick.  
Day 2 of the drying process
It took 3 days to dehydrate, and during the dehydrating process, was bleached.
Finally dehyrated.
But, although unappetizing in appearance,
undoubtedly dehydrated
On re-hydrating the pumpkin, the wishy-washy colour remained.  Totally off-putting!!

Whilst I was googling how best to re-hydrate these slices I noted that most northern hemisphere people powdered their dehydrated pumpkins.  There is no way that these chunky slices would crush into powdered form.

So, my next experiment was to grate the pumpkin prior to placing in my solar dehydrator.
The grated pumpkin was placed on a black
silicone mat to prevent it from dropping
through the net
The grated pumpkin would've fallen through the netting within the Foothills DryAway, so I spread it out on a black silicone mat I normally use in the oven of my Rosie.
Completely dehydrated, and perfect
in colour
Grating the pumpkin worked a treat.  The grated pumpkin was placed out late (11.30a.m.-ish) and by 5.00p.m. the same day was compeltely dehydrated.
You can see the difference in the two different
methods of dehydrating the pumpkin
Most impoprtantly, as can be seen from the above pic, the dehydrated pumpkin retained it's colour!!
Just a sample of the dehydrated pumpkin
was placed in some boiling water
Re-hydrating the pumpkin?  That took a bit of hot, boiled water and half-an-hour later - viola!!
Half-an-hour later - perfectly re-hydrated
pumpkin.
Perfect.

Sigh - I'm a happy little puppy :)

This winter there will be loads of pumpkin soup, pumpkin fritters (dusted with cinnamon sugar), pureed pumpkin (with butter, cinnamon, touch of sugar and splash of cream), pumpkin bread - and, perhaps, I may even try and bake my first ever pumpkin pie ).

I will, of course, retain a couple of whole pumpkins - we can't be without roasted pumpkin now, can we?  :D

16 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

Great stuff, I have a couple of squash left to use and was thinking of making up a big batch of soup and canning it, I might just grate it and pop it in the dehydrator now :-)

possumqueensa said...

That looks scrumptious. I'm determined to have a pumpkin on my roof this year, even if it's just one. I'll probably have to buy one, my pumpkin were very popular with the goggas this year.

Rosemary said...

Wow,I am seriously impressed. Well done :)

Dani said...

Dawn - S'funny - both of us thinking along pumpkin lines, on (almost) opposite sides of the planet :)

Dani said...

pqsa - If your pumpkins have been stung by the pumpkin fly, can you not save the un-stung portion?

Dani said...

Rosemary - Thank you. I'm chuffed myself :)

Leigh said...

Your pumpkin rehydrated beautifully! Very interesting post, Dani. I've had little success with pumpkins, but I do fairly well with cushaws, which taste just like pumpkin. Mine stored fairly well and the ones that got bag spots went to the critters, so no waste. Still, finding the perfect preservation solution is really best.

Dani said...

pumpkin fly strategies

Dani said...

Leigh - I was disheartened, until I tried grating them prior to dehydrating. This works 100% :) Try it??

Sol said...

The dehydrated pumpkin would make good soup. Good job on thinking outside the box

Dani said...

Sol - It would, would it :)

Bill said...

Pumpkins on the rooftop. That is something I've never seen or even heard of before!

Erin said...

Good work! I'd nevet thought about dehydrating pumpkin before - I might have to look into a solar dehydrator!

Dani said...

Bill - Lol - they are a really common way of storing pumpkins through our winters here. Naturally, not in places which experience snow in winter - but there aren't that many places that do.

Dani said...

Erin - You're welcome. And, if you'd like your own Foothills DryAway, please contact me by e-mail :D

Dani said...

Ooops - because of your wood import laws, not in Aussie though.