Preserving Pumpkins and Squash

 Dehydrated and Canned

One of our readers asked a question about drying pumpkins and preserving.  I hope the following information will help you.

For canning, you will need 16 pounds of pumpkins or squash for a load of 7 quarts.  An average of 10 pounds is needed for a load of 9 pints. There is an average of 2-1/4 pounds per quart.

Both pumpkins and Squash should have a hard rind and be string-less.  Small size pumpkins, the sugar or pie varieties make better products.

Wash and remove seeds, cut into wide slices and peel. Cut the flesh into inch cubes. Place in water and boil for two minutes.  DO NOT MASH OR PUREE.  Fill hot jars with cubes and cooking water, leave one-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust water level if needed.  Wipe the rims and place lid and process.

Pressure cooking time; mine requires,  55 minutes at 11 pounds pressure for pints  and 90 minutes at 11 pounds pressure for quarts.

For making pumpkin pies, drain jars and strain the cubes at preparation time.  Use the same as fresh pumpkin.  The canned squash can be used as a vegetable.

For drying:

The best pumpkins are those that have a bright orange color and fine-grained sweet flesh such as Sweet sugar and Spirit varieties.

Wash well and cut into small pieces. Remove the stem and seeds, any fibrous tissues and outer skin.

Bake or steam the pumpkin until tender. Scrape the pulp from the shell and puree in a blender.  Cover trays with Paraflexx, kitchen parchment paper, or plastic wrap and pour on puree.  Dry at 125 until leathery.

Dehydrated pumpkin puree is great for pudding, cookies, cakes and pie filling.

Two cups makes a 9 inch pie. (Be sure to measure it before you dry it.  DO NOT ADD SPICES TO MIXTURE UNTIL READY TO USE. IT WILL SPOIL.

An alternate method for pumpkin or Hubbard squash: Cut into pieces, remove the seeds and cavity pulp. Cut into 1-inch stripes.  Peel the rind and cut stripes crosswise into pieces about 1/8 inch thick.

Blanching; Steam for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes or water blanching for 1-minute.  The drying time in the dehydrator is 10-16 hours.

Drying squash is a bit more of a question.  Winter and Summer squashes have different problems.  Winter squashes are considered poor for dehydrating because they don’t rehydrate well.  They become soggy.  If eaten as dried chips they are fine.

To dry winter squash.  Wash well and cut into small pieces.  Remove the stem and seeds.

Bake or steam the pumpkin until tender.  Scrape the pulp from the shell and puree in a blender.  Cover trays with Paraflexx, kitchen parchment paper, or plastic wrap and pour on puree.  Dry at 125 until leathery.

To dry summer squash wash and cut the meat into ¼ inch slices.  Steam for 2 ½ minutes or blanch for ½ minute.  It will then take 10-12 hours to dry.  This should rehydrate without any problems.

Preparedness Mom

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