Then I read a post from Nancy at Life in the Second Half, talking about her new dehydrator. All of a sudden a light bulb went on. I have a dehydrator, which I've used on all types of foods. Would it work on pumpkin? Minutes later I was Googling the subject. My search led me to the Website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They had information on every conceivable way to preserve pumpkins, including drying. The steps:
- Peel, then remove seeds and fibers from pumpkin
- Cut pumpkin into strips no more than one-inch wide by 1/8-inch thick
- Steam strips for 3 minutes, then put into ice water to stop the blanching action
- Remove from water
- Dry the strips until brittle
It only took a third of my 18" diameter pumpkin to fill the four trays. Because I just wanted to be done with pumpkin-processing, I steamed the leftover portion. I pureed part of that, but decided to experiment with putting some of the pieces in the freezer. I don't think squash freezes well, but I might be pleasantly surprised.
This was by far the easiest thing I've dehydrated, and I'd certainly try it again. The first strips were ready to take out after three hours, and I was cleaning the dehydrator an hour and a half after that. My four trays yielded about two cups of dried crunchy-but-chewy pieces, which will be good for throwing in a pot of soup or eating on the go.