Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dehydrating and Rehydrating a Pumpkin

My dad grows pumpkins, my mom and I cook pumpkins. If there is a variety of vine that only produces a few pumpkins, I've never heard of it. I doubt we would grow it, but the problem is, you can only cook so many at a time. Enter the giant 10 rack LEM dehydrator I got for Christmas last year. It solves a lot of problems. Like "The deer meat is taking over and there's no room for anything else in the freezer!" The solution to this problem lies with the dehydrator. 2 cups of frozen pumpkin can instead be stored as 1/2 cup of pumpkin powder.

How do I do this glorious thing, you ask? Bake, pressure cook, etc your pumpkin, butternut squash or whatnot as you would for baking a pie or sweet bread. Remove seeds, skin, etc. Season the seeds and toss them in with the drying pumpkin if you so wish. Smash the pumpkin and spread  it on the trays. Either use a fruit roll tray, some wax paper or a gallon freezer bag to keep it from going through the holes. Don't put it too thick (ie 1/2 an inch), but get enough to count. 1/4" is a good thickness. Pop it in the dehydrator at 135ish until it's brittle. Living in south Louisiana, my humidity greatly affects the timing of this type of thing.

Once it's nice and crisp, pull it out and toss it in the blender until you have a nice powder. Dump it in a bag or mason jar and seal. To rehydrate add 2 cups boiling water to 1/2 cup of powder. Leave it sit till thickened and cooled. Use like normal pumpkin fresh from the oven. It takes a quarter of the space, and doesn't have to be frozen. That gives it a huge advantage at my house.

I'm going to be drying a few over the weekend if all goes as planned, so I can get a few pictures and post them.

Crocheted Plarn Bag

A while back I made this bag with plastic shopping bags and vhs tapes. The bags I used to get this pearly color were a kind of transluscent white. When you cut the bags for the plarn and start crocheting though, it comes out nice and opaque with that pearl-like sheen. The black edging came from old vhs tapes. I just used the tape straight off the reel, no doubling over or carrying another yarn with it. Warning: The tape is harder to do than the regular plarn. It also kind of has a squeaky noise if you use a metal hook that can get on your nerves after a while.

The pattern came from an old issue of Crochet magazine, can't remember which one. The original pattern, when done with cotton yarn, has a lot more give and stretches a bit. With the plarn, I used the same G hook that the pattern called for, so it doesn't have the same kind of stretch just by the nature of the materials. When you're using plarn, especially on the smaller hooks, be careful and take breaks. It is more strenuous on the hands than normal yarn. 

New at This...

So, my name's Elizabeth. I'm completely new to this, but intend to post a bit about the different crafts I'm interested in. Hopefully I can get some tutorials and such up on here, maybe it can help a few people along the way as so many others have helped me.

Anyway. The only real craft things I'm doing right now are crocheting with plastic bags (plarn), cold process soap making, learning to knit and tanning hides. I've been crocheting for at least 12 years, don't know exactly how long. Knitting and soap making I picked up over the summer. I started tanning hides about a year and a half/two years ago. It's hard to get that done very often though, because it takes a set period of time to do something with tanning. That doesn't work so well when you're a college student living 2ish hours from home and spend your breaks in another state. Ah well.