How to Dry Pumpkin at Home
Pumpkin is a healthy and delicious product. It stores well even at room temperature, as long as it is not sliced. The cut vegetable spoils rather quickly, and since the pumpkin is usually large, it is unrealistic to eat it at once. That's when drying the product comes in handy. Dried pumpkin can last a long time, it can be added to various dishes, and simply eaten, especially in the form of candied fruits or chips, which are not particularly difficult to prepare.
- How to choose a pumpkin for drying
- How to prepare the vegetable for drying
- How to properly dry pumpkin
- In the oven
- In an electric dryer
- In a microwave oven
- In the sun
- How to find out if the product is ready
- How to Make Pumpkin Chips
- How to Store Dried Pumpkin
- What is Dried Pumpkin Good for?
- What can be made of dried pumpkin
- Dried Pumpkin Soup
- Cream soup with cognac
- Easter cakes with candied pumpkin
- Chocolate with candied pumpkin
- Pkhali with dried pumpkin
- Fritters with pumpkin
- Turkey and pumpkin
- Using of dried pumpkin in cosmetology
- Face Scrub
How to choose a pumpkin for drying
Late ripening varieties are best for drying. They have a thick, hard crust and denser flesh than the early varieties. Therefore, it dries faster and of higher quality, and it tastes better.
And do not try to use forage varieties for eating and drying - such a vegetable will always taste empty and will spoil the whole impression. You should give preference to table and nutmeg pumpkins - for example, such varieties as Winter Sweet, Table Sweet, Spaghetti, Butternut, Buttercup or Blue Hubbard.
It's good when the vegetable has an even, shiny crust and no rotten spots or dark spots. To the touch the pumpkin should be firm and dense, a soft fruit with loose flesh is not the best option, it is not recommended to use it.
The sign of a healthy vegetable is also the so-called tail, the rest of the stem with which the pumpkin was attached to the plant. It should be green and undecayed.
How to prepare the vegetable for drying
First of all, the pumpkin should be well washed, and necessarily with soap, because it was lying on the ground.
- The washed vegetable should be wiped with a towel and proceed to peel it. To make this more convenient, if possible, cut the pumpkin in half or in quarters first and only then cut off the hard rind in a thick layer. You will need a sharp, large knife for this. When the skin is removed, use a spoon or your hands to pick out the seeds and then cut off the moist, loose pulp in which the seeds lay.
- Next comes the cutting of the pumpkin, the shape of the pieces depends on where the vegetable will then go, in what dishes will be used and what method of drying is chosen. For candied fruits, cubes will do, soups or salads - bars, chips - plates. The edges of the pieces should be about 3-5 cm thick, small ones will shrink too much and greatly decrease in size, large ones may remain raw inside.
- So that the pumpkin in the process of drying does not lose color and does not darken, it is recommended to blanch it: bring water to a boil, turn off the fire and put the chopped vegetable in the boiling water. After 2 minutes, drain the boiling water, and pour ice-cold water over the pumpkin, then spread it on a towel to let the water droplets run off.
- If you plan to dry the pumpkin outdoors, soak it in salt water beforehand (one tablespoon of salt per half liter of liquid). This procedure will repel insects and prevent the product from spoiling.
How to properly dry pumpkin
Some folk craftsmen adapt to dry pumpkin even over a gas stove. They string the plates on a fishing line or thick synthetic string and hang these "beads" until the product is completely dry. This method has the right to life, but it requires a lot of attention: you constantly need to watch to ensure that the thread is not broken and does not fall on the open flame of the burner. Drying over gas also affects air quality: a lot of combustion products accumulate in the room, so it is necessary to ensure good ventilation.
It is better to resort to more traditional and safe ways - such as drying in the oven, electric dryer or microwave. Especially since in them you can prepare not just a simple dry product, but also sweets - candied fruits.
To do this, put the cubes of the vegetable in a single layer in a wide bowl, cover them with sugar and, putting the press on them, put in a pantry or any other dark, nonhot room for 12-15 hours. When this time has passed, drain the juice and leave the pumpkin slices for another similar period, at the end of which to return the juice to the basin and for 15 minutes boil the slices in it, sprinkling some more sugar. If you like, you can add orange or lemon juice, cinnamon or grated ginger.
Remove the hot pumpkin cubes with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain off any excess syrup. This pumpkin can either be put in the oven, in an electric dryer, or in the microwave and made into candied fruit.
If you want to prepare a salty product - you can hold the pumpkin, sprinkling it with salt. But you should not cook it in the salty juice, it is better to let it drain and salt it again, when the pumpkin has been placed on trays or baking pans.
In the oven
For drying in the oven, it is most convenient to cut the vegetable into small slices up to 1 cm thick. After blanching, dry them and place them on a baking tray in a single layer, so that the slices do not touch each other.
Preheat the oven to 60 degrees and put the tray with pumpkin in it. Do not close the door, so that the air circulates freely, taking with it the moisture evaporating from the pumpkin. If the oven has a convection function, you can turn it on and close the door.
After 5 hours of drying at 60 degrees, remove the tray, turn the pumpkin slices over and leave them to cool, then put the tray back into the oven and dry at a higher temperature of 80 degrees. In this mode, bring the product until ready. It will take about 2 hours, but from time to time you should look in the oven and check the condition of the pieces. It is possible that they will finish their cooking even earlier: it depends on the model of the stove (the process in electric ovens is faster than in gas ones) and the type of pumpkin.
In an electric dryer
Electric dryer - the most convenient device for drying pumpkin: it stably keeps the programmed mode and does not take the time of the hostess.
The prepared pumpkin slices are placed on the trays of the electric dryer in a single layer, without pressing the slices against each other, so that the hot air can freely rise through all the "floors" from the bottom to the top. Place the trays on top of each other, close the lid and start the appliance by setting the temperature regulator to 55 degrees and the timer to 2 hours.
When the program completes its cycle, turn the pumpkin slices upside down and swap the dryer "floors" trays: send the lower ones to the top, the upper ones to the bottom. Again run the dryer for two hours, but set the temperature higher - 70 degrees. After completing the program again swap the "floors", but the pieces themselves can no longer be inverted.
The total drying time of the vegetable can be from 8 to 12 hours, it depends on the power of electric device, type of pumpkin and even the weather - the cold and rain, especially if the apartment is not yet heated, slow down the process because of the high humidity in the room.
In any case, every 2 hours you need to change the trays and switch the temperature from higher to lower - and vice versa.
In the microwave
Deciding to dry pumpkin in the microwave, you need to be patient and attentive and follow all the recommendations, otherwise the product will simply burn.
Cut the vegetable into 3x3 cm cubes. On a wide dish or a plate for the microwave, put a cotton napkin, on top of it distribute one layer of slices, cover them with the second napkin and put the dish in the microwave. Set the power regulator to 600 watts (no more!) and the timer to 4 minutes. When the set program expires, take out the plate with the vegetable slices and turn each piece over. At the same time, assess how ready the pumpkin is. The next drying session should take place at the same power, but no more than 40 seconds, at the end of which check the vegetable again. The duration of the next session can be reduced to 30 seconds. Repeat the procedure until the product is completely dry.
Drying pumpkin in the microwave is the fastest way. But it is limited by two factors: the first - you need to pay close attention to the process and constantly monitor the condition of the product, the second - the volume of this appliance is very limited, so at one time it is impossible to dry a large amount of vegetables.
In the sun
Diced, sliced or sliced pumpkin, place it in a single layer on a mesh or latticed tray. Place gauze on top of the vegetable slices to keep flies and other insects from landing on the product.
Take the trays into the garden or vegetable garden, in a sunny place as far away from the nearest road as possible so that neither dust nor car exhaust can reach the pumpkin. Perhaps the containers with the sliced vegetables can find a place on a sunlit veranda or in a pergola.
During the drying process, the pumpkin slices should be turned daily so that the sun can reach each one from all sides. In this way the drying will go more evenly. At night, it's better to take the trays with the vegetable slices into the house - this way, the dried pumpkin will be guaranteed to be saved from possible night rain and morning dew.
If you don't have room for trays on the garden plot, you can thread the pieces onto fishing line or string and hang them from the beams of the sun terrace. Some housewives hang the pumpkin on the balcony. The main thing is not to forget to cover the product with gauze against flies.
If the weather doesn't fail, in the sun the pumpkin will dry in a week, maximum 10 days.
How to tell if the product is ready
It's not good if the pumpkin does not dry out, and it's bad when it dries out too much. In the first case, it will quickly become moldy and rotten, in the second - it will become unpalatable and difficult to cook. Therefore, it is important to understand which slices are considered ready.
Well-dried slices cannot stick to your hands, because the outside should have a dry crust. Their stiffness and brittleness are unacceptable, this is a sign of over-dried product. Flexible and pliable slices that can be bent with the fingers - such a pumpkin can be considered properly dried.
You can even try chewing the slice. If the pumpkin is ready, it will begin to melt in your mouth. Dried without salt and sugar, the natural product in its pure form will be sweet, since after evaporating the moisture, the concentration of natural sugars increases.
How to make pumpkin chips
The easiest option is to very thinly cut the pumpkin pulp and, after soaking it in salt for 10-12 hours, smear it with sunflower oil and, sprinkled with your favorite spices and spicy herbs, send it to dry in an oven or electric dryer. But to get tender, melting in the mouth crunchy chips, you will have to try a little harder.
First, you need to bake the pumpkin pulp for half an hour in the oven, then put it in a blender and turn it into a puree. A two-kilogram pumpkin will yield two cups of pulp.
Salt and pepper the mass, add a little honeysuneli, dried minced garlic, mix it up and put it on a baking tray lined with oiled baking parchment paper. Spread the pumpkin mass out in a thin layer (one cup per baking tray) and put it in the oven to dry. You can use an electric dryer for making chips, the trays of which are also covered with parchment.
Dry the chips at a temperature of 60 degrees, until they become brittle. When the mass partially dried out about half, with a wooden or silicone spatula for turning patties, draw lines to divide the mass into squares, each of which will then become a separate chip.
How to store dried pumpkin properly
Dried pumpkin in the cooled form should be put in glass jars and closed tightly with lids - lapped glass or screwed metal, to completely exclude moisture, insects and foreign odors in the containers. Put parchment paper at the bottom of the jars, put them in a cool dark room, preferably in a dry closet with adequate ventilation. In the same way you can store and chips. The only difference is the timing - an ordinary dry pumpkin in comfortable conditions will last a year without losing its consumer properties, the chips should be eaten faster - within a month, since they are greased with oil, which can go rancid and spoil the product.
Sweet candied fruits last the longest on the shelf in the refrigerator, and they can be prepared for a long time and a lot and put in the freezer.
What is the usefulness of dried pumpkin
When talking about the benefits of pumpkin, doctors first of all mention its low caloric value, and this applies even to dried fruit, from which most of the water has been evaporated. For example, a cup of dried vegetable contains less than 100 calories, which is 3 times lower than the same amount of potatoes. Therefore, this vegetable can be used to feed people struggling with obesity and overweight. In this they will be helped by fiber and pectins, which are contained in pumpkin and thanks to which the intestines are cleaned, the toxins are removed and the digestion works well. In addition, pectin fibers quickly swell in the gastrointestinal tract and cause a feeling of a full stomach and satiety, which reduces the amount of food eaten by a person.
In dry pumpkin, due to the fact that the extra water is evaporated, the concentration of useful substances and vitamins increases many times. So, it contains large amounts of B vitamins that help strengthen the body's immune system, improve intestinal function, control the smooth functioning of the heart, blood vessels and nervous system, fight against depression and stress, maintain a stable emotional background. In strengthening the nervous system plays a big role and the mineral magnesium, which is also available in sufficient quantities in pumpkin.
Vitamin E allows to improve blood circulation, reduce the risk of blood clots, as well as to maintain healthy skin and improve its regeneration ability, which makes it possible to use pumpkin in home beauty products.
The vitamin PP (nicotinic acid) in the vegetable is important primarily for its ability to prevent the aggravation of atherosclerosis, reduce blood cholesterol levels and improve blood flow, which makes pumpkin useful and necessary for the diet of the elderly who are more likely to face these problems. In addition, this vitamin improves the function of the liver and gallbladder, this substance also contributes to a faster recovery of physical strength and supports mental abilities - something that is necessary for people of advanced age.
Presence in pumpkin ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is essential in a number of biochemical processes occurring in the human body and affecting the work of all systems and organs. With its help, the immune system works more clearly, improves the skin, mood, wounds heal faster. In addition, it is a good antioxidant.
By eating dried pumpkin, a person saturates his body with micro- and macronutrients. So, iron is not only involved in the formation of hemoglobin, but also supports magnesium, when you need to calm frayed nerves, with dignity and the least losses for the body to get out of a stressful situation, improve sleep. In combination with fluoride, iron strengthens muscles and bones, and in case of fractures promotes faster bone healing.
Potassium will help optimize blood pressure and strengthen the walls of blood vessels, including the vessels of the eye floor, which has a positive effect on vision.
What you can make with dried pumpkin
Simple unsweetened and unsalted dried pumpkin is the easiest to use for making puree soup. It has a peculiar taste, you can feel that the vegetable is not fresh, but specially prepared. Nevertheless, it is still a useful dietary product, with which you can not only prepare dishes for a meal for adults, but even for infants. Home-dried pumpkin is also good in light snacks and salads.
Widely used and pumpkin powder. It is prepared simply: dried slices should be ground in a coffee grinder and added to flour when baking pancakes, pancakes or muffins, or completely replace it. In such cases, it should be soaked, observing the following proportions - take a cup of liquid for a quarter cup of powder. Some people use pumpkin powder to coat fish or cutlets before frying, or simply pour a teaspoon of the product into their morning yogurt.
Pour a liter of water over 100 g of dried pumpkin strips and send it to the stove to simmer until soft.
While the pumpkin is cooking, prepare two cloves of garlic - peel and press through a garlic presser. Finely chop walnuts (100 grams) with a knife. Chop a large bunch of fresh herbs (parsley, dill). Put everything in a salad bowl, including the boiled and cooled pumpkin. Stir, pepper, salt and season with a tablespoon of wine vinegar.
Dried pumpkin puree soup
Boil 150g of dried pumpkin for 10 minutes in salted water. While it is boiling, peel 3 cloves of garlic, onion and carrot. Grate the carrots, chop the onions and fry the vegetables in a saucepan with a thickened bottom with a spoonful of vegetable oil. Add boiled pumpkin and 50g of butter, stir and fry for another 5 minutes.
Dilute the contents of the pot with hot water, so that the vegetables are slightly covered with liquid, add ground pepper - either black or white, salt and stew on low heat for a quarter of an hour. Remove the soup from the heat, whip it into a puree with a blender and add 300 ml of cream (preferably take 20% fat). Stir, put back on the stove, where you heat it to a boil. The soup is ready!
When serving the dish to the table, pour into each plate a small handful of pumpkin seeds roasted until crunchy.
Cream-soup with cognac
Pour 200 g of dried pumpkin in hot water and put it on low heat for 10 minutes.
Chop the onion and crush 6 cloves of garlic in a crusher. In a saucepan, start frying the onion with 100g of butter, after a couple of minutes, add the garlic. When the whole kitchen will float a stunning aroma, put in a casserole swollen pumpkin. Fry while stirring constantly, so that the pumpkin does not burn.
In 5 minutes, to enhance the flavor, add 50 grams of brandy, steam the future soup with the alcohol for another 5 minutes and add vegetable broth, in which the pumpkin was boiled in the beginning. How much liquid to add should be determined based on the consistency of the pumpkin - the steeper it is, the more broth is needed. Besides, everyone has different preferences: some people like thick soups, while others are satisfied with liquids.
When you have decided on the amount of liquid, add a tablespoon of sugar, pepper and salt to taste. After a couple of minutes, add 200 ml of cream and, after removing from the heat, beat it with a blender to a purée.
The soup can be poured on a plate, decorated with a sprig of dill and some crunchy croutons from white loaf.
Easter cakes with candied pumpkin
Take 2 packs of butter out of the fridge on the table so that it softens a little. Pour 30 ml of milk with 30 g of fresh yeast. While they are dissolving, put 200g candied fruits and 120g raisins in a saucepan, pour 75ml of rum over them and place on a low heat. With constant stirring warm it for 10 minutes, during this time the alcohol will evaporate, and the candied fruits with raisins will absorb all the liquid part of the rum.
In a large saucepan sift 525 grams of flour, add 65 g of sugar and 10 g of salt, mix the products. In another bowl beat 6 eggs.
Pour the dissolved yeast and beaten eggs into the pan with the flour and sugar. Knead the dough until it begins to stick from your hand and the walls of the pan. Small portions of butter should be added to the dough, while kneading it. At the very end, add candied fruit and raisins steamed in alcohol.
Cover the dough with a linen towel and leave to rise in a warm kitchen for an hour and a half. After this time, sprinkle the table with flour, pile the dough on it, knead it well, put it in a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 12 hours. When the time is up, divide the dough into 3 equal portions, make a ball out of each and place them in molds lined with baking parchment. Choose the forms so large that the dough takes up no more than a third of their volume. Leave the muffins in this position until they have risen so that they have risen above the top edges. Cover the forms with a linen cloth, under which also put a ladle of water, so that the dough does not dry out.
Prepare the glaze: mix 25g of flour and 170g of powdered sugar, put it into a strainer, and pour it slowly and gently into the egg white, stirring all the time to avoid lumps.
Put the glaze on the risen dough and send it to the oven, where it will bake for 35 minutes, setting the temperature to 160 degrees. Do not open the oven while baking - the loaf may fall off.
Chocolate with candied pumpkin seeds
Take 50 grams each of dried fruit (apricots and raisins), and soak them in water at room temperature for half an hour. Peel the pumpkin seeds and incubate for half an hour in an oven at 160 degrees, stirring frequently. This way they will dry out and become brittle. Remove the dried fruit from the water and place it on a paper towel to get rid of any excess moisture.
Line the bottom of a small rectangular silicone dish with parchment, pour the melted chocolate (2 large bars) into it and scatter the dried apricots, raisins, roasted pumpkin seeds and candied pumpkin seeds on top. When the chocolate has cooled at room temperature, cut it into slices and place in the refrigerator.
Dried pumpkin pkhali
Sometimes this Georgian dish is called not pkhali, but mkhali, in fact it is a cold snack, and at its core two main products - dried pumpkin and walnuts.
One should boil 500 grams of pumpkin in salted water. While it is boiling, make a paste of nuts. Grind 3 cups of nuts and a head of red onion in a mincer, add three crushed garlic cloves, finely chop a small bunch of dill, coriander and celery herbs. Season the mixture with ground pepper, dried saffron and utsho-suneli (this is a Georgian spice made from the seeds, florets and pods of blue fenugreek), salt to taste and pour 3 large spoons of vinegar (the same amount of pomegranate juice can be used as a substitute).
Stir the mixture thoroughly, adding a little bit of cooked pumpkin at a time. The ready dish should be left in the fridge overnight to let the ingredients soak in.
Pancakes with pumpkin
Lightly beat a couple of chicken eggs in a bowl, add a big spoonful of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of salt, 0.5 teaspoon of soda and half a liter of kefir (it should be previously held for 3 hours on the kitchen table, so that it is not cold, and heated to room temperature).
When the liquid base is ready, begin to pour into it a glass of powdered pumpkin, in small portions, while constantly stirring. Next, in the same way - in small portions - add wheat flour, it will take up to 2 cups. When the dough is kneaded, let it stand for about 25-30 minutes and bake the pancakes!
Turkey and Pumpkin
To stew turkey with dried pumpkin, you do not need to boil the vegetable in advance, it will come to the readiness right in the pan with the meat. The result is a simple hearty dinner that does not require a side dish - there are enough vegetables cooked along with the meat.
Cut 500g of small turkey filet into pieces about 5x5 cm, fry them in a deep frying pan in any vegetable oil to form a brown crust. Dice one carrot and put it in the pan, add a handful of dried pumpkin and prunes, salt. Pour a glass of meat broth, if there is no broth, water will do.
Braise under a closed lid on a low heat for about 40-50 minutes, then put chopped onions, a couple of spoons of sour cream and simmer for another quarter of an hour, then you can turn off the fire.
Serve to the table after 20 minutes, it is necessary to give time for the products to soak up the flavors of each other and rest a little. On top of the plate sprinkle the meat with vegetables chopped fresh garden greens.
If you cook milk porridge from cereals that take quite a long time to cook - millet or rice - then the dried pumpkin should not be boiled separately, it will have time to soften along with them. For semolina or hercules porridge, it is better to pre-prepare the dried vegetable by boiling it in salted water, from the beginning of boiling for 10 minutes.
So, to cook milk porridge of millet to sort out 200 grams of groats, rinse them properly, pouring and draining the water a few times, and then pour hot water to swell a little. Put a liter of milk in a saucepan with thick walls and bottom on the fire. When it begins to boil, add a tablespoon of sugar (if you want it sweeter, don't deny yourself) and a third of a teaspoon of salt. Drain the water from the millet, put it in a saucepan and add a large handful of dried pumpkin. With constant stirring, cook the porridge over low heat for 20 minutes. Before removing from the stove, you can add for a change a little washed seedless raisins.
Butter can be put immediately in the pot or spread in each plate.
Using dried pumpkin in cosmetology
Dried pumpkin is used not only in cooking, but also in home cosmetology. The vegetable improves skin color, makes it tighter and firmer. Pumpkin makes a good scrub.
Grind a handful of dried pumpkin in a coffee grinder, add a spoonful of ground coffee and a little sugar. Mix all the ingredients and for 5 minutes rub into the face with gentle, accurate movements, then wash your face with a little warm water. The best effect can be achieved by doing such a procedure twice a week.
«Important: All information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. for informational purposes only. Please consult with your health care professional before using any of the recommendations. specialist before using any of the recommendations. Neither the editors nor the authors shall be liable for any possible harm caused by materials."