How you prepare pumpkin for dehydrating depends on what you plan to do with it. Some recipes call for diced pumpkin. See my post on How to Prep a Pumpkin for instructions on how to do that.
However, if you are planning on pumpkin pies and some soups, or pumpkin polenta, then you will want a puree. In this case, it doesn’t much matter how you slice it, it will all be pureed in the end.
- After prepping most of my pumpkin for diced pumpkin, I took the odds and ends and weird shaped pieces and used them for making pumpkin puree.
Simmer Until Fork Tender
Simply chunk your pumpkin into pieces that can fit in your largest pot. You can include the stem, it doesn’t matter. Simply bring your water to a boil and simmer until tender. I found that fifteen minutes of boiling worked just fine.
Linda's Note: Some people recommend using a pressure cooker for this step, but it really isn’t necessary. Once you’ve got your pumpkin into the pressure cooker, you need to bring it to a boil and adjust the rocker. Then time it for however many minutes the instructions call for, turn it off, and then cool it down. Whereas, in fifteen minutes’ boiling time, it’s done and ready to puree.
Remove the Peeling
After the pumpkin cools enough to handle, it’s easy to take a paring knife to cut the skin off. Refer back to How to Prep a Pumpkin for details.
- I cut mine into strips and small manageable pieces for this purpose.
- Or, you can take a heavy spoon and scrape the pumpkin off the skin. Whatever works for you.
From all my scraps of pumpkin, I ended up with about twelve cups of puree. That’s plenty for all sorts of dishes.
I measured it out in one-quarter cup portions. This way, when I am working with recipes, I know exactly how much I need for a recipe.
Give it a Tap
I found if I simply tapped the rack on the counter, (like you would a cake pan to settle the batter) it leveld out nicely.
- Dehydrate at 115º
- Mine took about two to two and a half days. See my document on Variables in Dehydrating Times for more information.
Is it done yet?
About half way through the dehydrating time, I flip mine over so the bottom gets exposed to air.
If it smudges up a bit when you are trying to flip them, you need to let them dry longer.
About half way through the dehydrating time, whenever they can be easily handled, I remove them from the fruit leather trays and place them directly on the racks.
- This assures complete drying all the way through.
- Plus, they have shrunk a bit and you can snug a few more pieces onto each rack. This will free up a few racks that you can set up for your next batch ready to go into the machine. See my post on Slick Trick Extra Racks for a good tip on holding that next batch waiting to go into the dehydrator.
It’s all right if they turn a little brown. If this had been a thicker puree, it would have dried into a crackly, brown bark.
- The cracks are normal, don’t worry about it.
Linda’s Note: When you grind your plops to powder, 1/2 tbsp of powder equals ¼ cup of fresh pumpkin.
What to do with pumpkin plops:
- Grind them to powder, rehydrate, and use in various puree recipes
- Use them in pies
- Pumpkin biscuits
- Pumpkin bread
- Pumpkin cake
- Pumpkin soup
- Pumpkin polenta (see my post on Creamy Pumpkin Polenta for instructions)
- Use them in any pumpkin or winter squash recipes that call for puree
- If you want to use them for snacks rather than regular cooking, consider seasoning them before dehydrating:
- Brown sugar to taste
- Powdered cinnamon and cloves to taste
- Mix with apple puree or other fruits