How to make Pumpkin and Carrot Powder©
By Arlene Wright- Correll
If you own a dehydrator it is not very hard to make your own pumpkin powder which is used to add flavor and nutrients to many dishes, such as pancakes or instant pumpkin puree for pies and other dishes simply by adding water. I like the fact that by making my own pumpkin powder, I can use my own fresh ingredients year round and save money.
It is moderately easy to make pumpkin powder and you must use a pumpkin that is in ideal harvesting condition in order to have flavorful powder.
Once you have chosen your pumpkin you must wash and dry the outside of a pumpkin. You can use a large pumpkin or several smaller pumpkins when you want a large batch of pumpkin powder. I like using the pie pumpkins and I avoid using the Jack-O-lantern pumpkins or decorative pumpkins even though you can. I suggest Sugar Pie pumpkins; red Kuri, Pink Banana and Cinderella pumpkins just to name a few.
Now cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and set them aside and then cut out the stem and blossom end and cut the pumpkin into narrow pieces that are 2 inches long.
Next I steam the pumpkin slices by setting them on a steaming tray over simmering water and I cook them with a lid on until they start to soften. I stop the cooking and let them cool enough so I can easily handle them.
The next step is to set the slices on my dehydrator tray. If you do not have a dehydrator you can place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet the oven with the heat set at "low" or "warm." and dehydrate until all the moisture has been removed. Since this takes several hours it will tie up your oven depending on how much pumpkin you have so I recommend a dehydrator. A good dehydrator is fairly inexpensive and usually costs $25.00 to $35.00 and can be found on such places as Amazon. If you are using your oven you need to check the pumpkin periodically. Using a dehydrator just set the timer to the desired time as per your instruction book. A dehydrator pays for itself in no time and I personally feel that as the economy and the world changes having a dehydrator is a great investment in learning how to survive hard times.
Once the pumpkin is totally dehydrated you must grind the dried pumpkin into a powder using a food processor. I know one gal who uses a coffee grinder and when I was in Mexico I saw a woman using a mortar and pestle which took a lot of muscle and hard work.
Once your pumpkin is ground store the powder in a jar or container with a tight seal and keeps it in a cool dry location.
To reconstitute pumpkin powder use 1 part powder to 2.5 parts water.
You can do the same thing with most vegetables and I like to do carrots the same way. I like to make sure my carrots are not woody. I remove stalks and tips and then wash carrots, scrape off the skins and then slice to about 56 mm thick using stainless steel knife.
Next I blanch the slices for 3 minutes in hot water containing 1.5 ounces of salt per gallon. Then cool immediately in running water. I have never had to worry about the carrots browning, but if you wanted to prevent browning and discoloration you can dip them in 0.1 percent sodium erythorbate.
Now I spread the carrots evenly on my dehydrator trays. I have a friend who dries her carrots in her solar dryer and another who uses her oven at temperature of 150º F. Dry until the temperature is down to 6%. Cool and then pulverize in a blender or electric grinder.
I use carrot powder by adding to flour mixes when I make carrot cake or add to stews or soups when I want a carrot flavored base thickening. You can reconstitute carrot powder using 1 part carrot powder with 4 parts water.
Powders are an easy way to have emergency rations, take up less space and for me reduce space in my freezer or eliminate canning while preserving more of the flavor.
I like the fact that dehydration goes on without taking up all my time and it allows me to do a lot of other things while my dehydrator is doing its thing.