I have two friends who gave me heirloom pumpkins, and I purchased two. All together, I ended up with 15 pumpkins, with about 11 being consumable. (I’m still in the process of identifying some of them to determine if they are delicious, or just showy.) After canning pumpkin two different ways, I determined making pumpkin powder is the way to go.
I had been canning pumpkin in chunks like I do butternut squash, which has more fiber. The canned pumpkin chunks turned out rather watery, but because butternut squash has more heft if just cans better. I also tried a rebel canning method of canning pureed pumpkin, which isn’t even close in density to the commercially canned stuff, and isn’t even pumpkin at all. (Read my rant here about all that.) Home cooked pumpkin is much thinner than the canned counterfeit version, but in the home canning process it’s just hit or miss. Sometimes canning the puree cooks down to half jar, and sometimes just a little. I’m not worried about the safety of it, I’m more thinking I’m wasting shelf space on such a small amount of.pumpkin. The only smart alternative for quality and shelf space is powdering my pumpkin.
Just being forthright here – making pumpkin powder isn’t a quick process. You have to cook the pumpkin, puree, dehydrate on fruit leather trays, and dehydrate again on netted trays. Then you have to powder them. However, pumpkin powder is like magic – it rehydrates right back into puree, and you can control the thickness of it. Pumpkin powder is just as tasty as fresh, maybe even better. As I powder my pumpkin, I can see the differences in colors because I’m processing different kinds. Sort of reminds me of sand art.
I’m still in the middle of processing, but here are four heirloom pumpkins in this gallon jar. I expect this to be full by the time I’m done, and will update this post with the final picture.
To powder pumpkin, first you have to cook it. Some people steam pumpkin in Insta Pots, but I’m working with either giant pumpkins, or two at a time so filling a giant roaster is my method of choice.
Wash and cut the pumpkin, take out the seeds and stringy stuff, place in a roaster. Pour a cup of water in the roaster, and cover pumpkin with foil.
Cook at 350 until you can stick a fork in the outside of the flesh. Cooking times will depend on how small you cut your pumpkin. As you can see, I was too lazy to cut mine into smaller chunks. When it’s done, allow to cool and scoop flesh away from the skin. Puree in your food processor or in a blender until blended.
Spread puree on fruit leather trays, and dehydrate at 125 for 10 hours, or until solid and crispy.
Your pumpkin bark will be like a sheet, but it needs to be really crisp (but not overcooked) to transform it into powder. Peel the pumpkin bark off the sheet, and place on netted dehydrating trays. Dehydrate 2 or more hours, depending on the thickness of your bark. Always allow your dehydrated food to cool completely to determine doneness.
Break up pieces of pumpkin bark and place in coffee or spice grinder.
Not all spice grinders are created equal. I have this one, and it’s very powerful. You want the powder to be very fine, so it’s not gritty.
To reconstitute, add a ratio of one parts pumpkin powder, to 4 parts boiling water.
This is one TBSP of powder to one TBSP of water.
Here is the puree reconstituted one parts to four.
Pull those pumpkins off the porch and get them in jars. Vacuum seal in a jar with an oxygen absorber, and it will be just as fresh next year, or just jar it up with a tea bag full of rice to prevent from clumping and use all year long. If you try this, let me know! I’d love to see pictures of your creations with pumpkin powder posted on Preserved Home’s Facebook page.