I grew 4 large pumpkins at the allotment this year (Tom Fox variety) you can see me harvesting them here.
Some were carved for a halloween, I made a delicious spicy pumpkin soup with another, and we have had one final one left for a few weeks.
The one left, was the largest I grew. I haven't managed to sort out any cold storage this year (something I really need to do for next year) and it was being stored outside in a shelter. The air has been moist and I was worried it would start to rot.
So I want to preserve it.
A while ago I bought a dehydrator. I bought this one from Amazon, (it was on offer). The more I looked into them I thought that it would be good for preserving food I had grown, food takes up very little space when dried. We have two freezers and they are both full of soup at the moment (I do love soup) so I couldn't freeze any more. When the food is rehydrated it nutritionally keeps a lot of the original nutrients, they are not lost, so it sounded perfect.
I have preserved a few things like courgette. Made some fruit leather (that was disgusting, I haven't found the right recipe yet) and some kale chips (I will do another blog post on that soon as they are amazing).
So the final pumpkin, I used half to make another huge batch of soup. and the other half to dehydrate.
If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use your oven. But an oven will use more electricity than a dehydrator.
So, I have found the best way to dehydrate things is to cut them quite small, especially items that hold a lot of moisture (which a pumpkin does)
First cut the pumpkin, scoop the seeds out and peel the skin off.
Then chop the pumpkin into small pieces
Half of the pumpkin that I used to dehydrate it, I had 2 bowls like this, they were heaped. It is quite interesting to see how small the pieces go when dehydrated.
After all the pumpkin is cubed, spread into the dehydrator, leaving gaps for the air to circulate. I put the dehydrator on 70 degrees for about 12 hours.
When the pieces are dry and not at all squishy, they are ready to store (I am storing in an old Douwe Egberts coffee jar)
They come out as dried golden nuggets.
Look how much space they save, and they are OK to use for the next 3-6 months.
I will use them in the slow cooker, and they will rehydrate over time. They will rehydrate to the original form and then cook.
A perfect way to store food and use over Winter.