Pumpkins are one of the most inexpensive, nutritious vegetables around... right now they're under 20 cents per pound where I live.  One cup (8 oz.) of pumpkin has more than 700% of your daily Vitamin A needs, 7g fiber, 3g protein, 19% RDA for iron, 17% RDA for Vitamin C, and 6% RDA for calcium.  All this for 83 calories and about 10 cents.

We grew a few, but the garden was pretty sad in general and we ended up buying a couple for our annual pumpkin-carving party at Grandma's house.  (To tell you how bad the garden was... the only pumpkins that survived were in the SANDBOX, where one son had spilled some pumpkin guts in late spring.  Yeah.  Go figure.  They even survived our free-roaming chickens.)

So now we have several carved jack-o-lanterns to set on the front porch for Trick-or-Treating.  The day after Halloween they'll get cleaned, sliced, and either cooked or dehydrated and turned to powder. My kids are excited at the possibilities.  Their favorite is pumpkin pie, but this shake tastes just like it, in a fraction of the time!

Pumpkin Shake
1 pint vanilla ice cream (about 4 heaping ice cream scoopsful)
1 1/2  c. milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin powder*
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice OR 1/8 tsp. cinnamon plus a dash (to taste) each ground cloves,     ginger, and/or nutmeg
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, OR molasses, OR honey

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix on high until smooth.  Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

*If you don't have pumpkin powder, use 1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree, and reduce the milk to 1 cup instead of 1 1/2 cups.

Optional mix-ins:
2 Tbsp. raisins (add before pureeing so they get finely chopped)
2-3 oz. cream cheese
2-4 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Get this recipe and many more ways to use pumpkin, free, from The Great Pumpkin Cookbook.


 
 
Do you have too much zucchini?  

You could give it away.  Or shred and freeze it.  Or puree it and then freeze.  (I prefer pureeing & freezing because it maintains the same texture when thawed. It hides better in zucchini bread and soup, too.)

OR....

dehydrate it and turn it to powder.  

It takes very little space to store it this way, and it's easy to use.  Mix 2-3 Tbsp. of powder with enough hot water to equal one cup- for one cup (8 oz.) of puree.

Try it in Lemon-Zucchini Bread or Curried Zucchini Bisque (creamy soup).  Mmm.

See this post for how to best store the powder.
 
 
If you've only had 'banana chips' from the store- you have missed out.  Those cardboard-like sorry excuses for fruit are NOTHING like home-dried bananas.  Banana chips are fried  (very high in fat) and bland; on the other hand, home-dried ones are sweet and chewy.

Sometimes you can buy a case of bananas for a steep discount- a friend of mine has an arrangement with one of the local grocery stores.  She calls them once a week or so, and if they have too many bananas, they sell her the 40-lb. case for $8.  That's $ .20/lb.   This week I found some at NPS for $4/case! 

To dehydrate them, you can, of course, use any dehydrator available, or even dry them on clean window screens on a hot roof or in a hot car...

Mine, so that you can get a size comparison, is an American Harvest (now Nesco) 'GardenMaster'.   (I got it used through the local Classified ads, 15 years ago, for $40.)  I have the extra trays, for a total of 8.  Each tray can hold almost 2 lbs. of sliced bananas, 15 lbs. total.  So the 40-lb box fills the trays twice, with enough left over for a double batch of banana bread (to freeze) and eating a bunch fresh. 

I dry them on about medium heat- 120 degrees F or so, and it takes about 18-20 hours.  They'll be a little bit more dry if you let them cool before packing into jars.

If you want the dried product to be a little lighter in color, you can coat or dip them in a lemon-honey mixture.  Combine 1/4 c. honey, 1/4 c. water, and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice.  Mix well.  The easiest way to use it is put it in a clean spray bottle and mist the slices once they're on the tray.   The photos below are of untreated slices.

Dehydrate, enjoy!
 
 
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Have you found good deals on strawberries?  Or are your plants starting to produce them?  We love to make and eat strawberry leather, though I often mix strawberry puree with applesauce or any other mashed fruit, to make the strawberries go farther.  For a simple way to make fruit leather, see http://www.theprovidenthomemaker.com/1/post/2010/11/what-to-do-now-in-the-garden-fruit-leather.html

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If you’re in the Salt Lake valley, I just learned about a lady who puts together group orders every month; she lives just a mile down the road from me.  The prices are great, and the food is good quality.  It comes from a Utah/Idaho farmers’ co-op; most of the items are even organic.  Her website is http://www.organicemily.com 

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The following excerpts from an article are from Ezra Taft Benson, published in the Ensign magazine, January 1974, entitled “Prepare Ye”.  He repeats D&C 38:30 three times in it (“if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear”), and this talk has been extensively quoted.  It contains at least 12 segments I’ve quoted or heard quoted.  Read through the talk, and see how many pieces of it you’ve heard before.


Here are some excerpts:

“In Matthew, chapter 24, we learn of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes. …” (Matt. 24:7.) The Lord declared that these and other calamities shall occur. These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional. The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain. Prophecy is but history in reverse—a divine disclosure of future events.

Yet, through all of this, the Lord Jesus Christ has said: “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)

…At the April 1937 general conference of the Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints], President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of the First Presidency, asked: “What may we as a people and as individuals do for ourselves to prepare to meet this oncoming disaster, which God in his wisdom may not turn aside from us?” President Clark then set forth these inspired basic principles of the Church welfare program:

“First, and above and beyond everything else, let us live righteously. … Let us avoid debt as we would avoid a plague; where we are now in debt, let us get out of debt; if not today, then tomorrow.  Let us straitly and strictly live within our incomes, and save a little.

Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (Conference Report, April 1937, p. 26.)

There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food, even if it is only a garden in your yard and/or a fruit tree or two. Man’s material wealth basically springs from the land and other natural resources. Combined with his human energy and multiplied by his tools, this wealth is assured and expanded through freedom and righteousness. Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of each of these particulars.”

 Healthful foods, proper rest, adequate exercise, and a clean conscience can prepare us to tackle the trials that lie ahead.”

 
 
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Dried tart cherries: my favorite cherry for recipes.

Photo from Nutty Guys

Next week’s post will have several ideas for using dried fruit.
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Why buy, or make, dehydrated fruits?  My favorite reasons are that it preserves fruit without needing electricity (as in freezing), and it stores in a smaller space when compared to canning.  It also intensifies the flavors, allowing me to use it as a sweetener.  


If you’re buying them, how do you know what a good price is?  The simplest way is to judge by serving size.  One ounce of dried fruit is a serving, about equal in size to one medium fresh apple or peach.  If a one-pound can of dried apples costs
$5.75/lb (which it does at the Home Storage Center), that means you’re paying about 35 cents per apple.   If you want to figure how that compares with price per pound fresh, 25 lbs of fresh apples reduce down to about 4 lbs.    4/25 of 1 lb @$5.75= .92/lb fresh apple price.    

For other fruits, a fairly good estimate is 1 lb very-dried fruit = 5 lbs fresh; most fruits are somewhere around 80% water to begin with.  1 lb moist-dried fruit = 3 lbs. fresh, figuring about 2/3 of the water has been evaporated away.   This isn’t exact, but is close, and is simple enough to remember and use.  Dried blueberries (moist) at $ 12.30/lb are like paying $ 4.04/lb for fresh, or about $ 1.53 for a 6-oz clamshell.  It costs around four dollars a pound to buy frozen blueberries, plus then I pay to run the freezer at home. Twelve bucks a pound sounds expensive, but it’s about half  the price of fresh around here.  They’re definitely worth having some on hand.  Just keep them out of reach of the kids, or you won’t have any left!

If you live anywhere around Salt Lake City, you can get ‘returns’ at Nutty Guys’ warehouse for $1.50 per one-pound bag (of anything they sell).  Returns are anything that didn’t sell within their 6-7-month “sell by” date; they get returned to the warehouse.  Returns are unpredictable, you never know what will be there on the shelf, but they make for incredible bargains.  Dried fruit is considered at its peak for one year.  You can extend this by keeping it sealed, dark, and cool.  This is something at its best when rotated regularly.
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Here’s one way to use dried tart cherries;  I always get them cheapest from Nutty Guys. (Returns shelf, hooray!)  I created this recipe for a bake-off at the state fair a few years ago.  The ingredients sound strange together, but, boy, are they good.  The balsamic vinegar accentuates the chocolate and adds brightness to the cherry.    (The recipe took 1st place.)  These are like a very dark, intense truffle, with bits of sweet-tart, chewy cherry.  They take only five minutes to mix.

CHERRY-CHOCOLATE BLISS BITES

1/4 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 (4 oz) bar Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate, broken*

Place dried cherries in a small microwavable bowl; pour in balsamic vinegar and almond extract. Microwave 30 seconds to help plump the cherries; set aside.

Microwave condensed milk 45 seconds or until hot but not boiling. Add chocolate and stir until mostly smooth. Add cherry mixture. Stir until well combined.

Pour into a loaf pan or other 2 cup container, bottom lined with parchment. Chill in freezer for 15 minutes or in refrigerator for 45 minutes until set.

Cut into squares or roll into balls.    This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

*Any semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (bar or chips) can be substituted.  Try to get something around 60% cocoa solids.  I used Ghirardelli’s because that was who sponsored the contest.  If you quadruple the batch, you’ll use the whole can of sweetened condensed milk (1 1/3 c.) and one whole pound of chocolate.


 
 
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These make great little gifts.  I gave these out during the holidays, when most people are short on time and have had enough 'goodie plates'.  If you want to give them something extra, also include a bottle of syrup (homemade or storebought) or a couple different mixes in a basket.

 Back on 10/27/2010  I wrote a post on making vegetable powders.  Here's one kind you can make- pumpkin powder! The recipe below uses it to make some fragrant, fresh pancakes.   You can also adapt any recipe that calls for pumpkin puree.  I've made pumpkin pie with the powder, and it turns out great.  1/3 cup pumpkin powder plus enough water to give you one cup is all it takes to make a cup of pumpkin puree.  Most recipes won't require rehydrating the pumpkin first, either.  Just mix everything together, and the powder will rehydrate while it cooks. 

This mix is just a really large batch of "Foolproof Pancakes" (also from the 10/27/2010 post), made so you only need to add eggs and water.

Pumpkin Pancake Mix


½ cup coconut oil (shortening works too, but I don't use it)
1 ¼ c. brown sugar or raw cane sugar
¼ c. cinnamon
1 ½ c. pumpkin powder
3 c. powdered milk
1/4 c. baking soda
¼ c. salt
13 c. flour ( ½  wheat, ½ white)

Mix together the coconut oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Stir in everything else.  Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.  Makes about 20 cups.

To use it,  combine  1 1/3 c. mix, 1 egg, 1 cup water.  You'll get about 15 batches this size from the whole mix.

I made up a smaller bag with 2 2/3 c. mix, which is 12 ounces if you like to weigh things.  The instructions to use the whole bag is to add  2 eggs and 2 cups of water.

My bigger bag has 4 cups mix, about 17 ounces, and mixes with 3 eggs and 3 cups water.  For a ready-made label, click here.


* * * * *
The amount of pumpkin is based on using roughly 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree for a 1-cup-of-flour batch of pancakes.  So if you don't have pumpkin powder, omit that ingredient, use just under 1 1/4 cups of mix, 1 egg, 1/2 cup fresh pumpkin puree, and reduce water. 


 
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To make pumpkin powder, first wash (but don't peel) the outside of a pumpkin.  Scoop out the seeds.

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The seeds are great themselves.  I find them easiest to separate from the stringy fibers by putting them in a bowl of water.  Pinch the seeds off into the water.  Dry them for a couple weeks and save them for planting in next year's garden, or roast them with a little oil and salt.

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Trim off the stem and the blossom end.  Slice the pumpkin lengthwise into pieces about 2" wide.  If you steam them now, the pumpkin will dehydrate in about half the time, and have a mellower, sweeter flavor.  Let cool enough to handle, then cut them about 1/4- 3/8" thick crosswise. 

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Lay the thin pieces in a single layer on a dehydrator try, or on a windowscreen laid down in a hot car, or on a cookie sheet with the oven on lowest setting... whatever you have.  When crispy-dry, put the pieces in a blender and puree until powdered.

This 5-lb pumpkin dehydrated down to just under 7 ounces, which measured 1 1/2 cups.  Not a bad space saver!  It takes just 3 Tbsp of this powder to equal 1 cup of puree, after adding water.

Use it in anything that calls for pumpkin; you don't even need to rehydrate it first: just add the right amount of water and powder.  Try Pumpkin Shake!  Or how about a gluten-free, dairy-free Pumpkin Cheesecake? Pumpkin Pie?

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A rainbow of dehydrated vegetables: from left to right:  tomato powder, pumpkin powder, yellow squash powder, and dried & crumbled greens.

 
 
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The BYU Solar Cooker- designed to work well with whatever materials you have on hand to build with.  This one uses cardboard, foil, and a box to support it, though a bucket or some rocks would work too.

(Originally from 7/01/10)

I'm excited right now because this idea works!  Last week I cooked some carrot cake in a really
cheap and simple solar cooker. I got a windowshade at D.I. for $1.50, used a canning jar spray-painted black for a cooking pot, and fastened the edges of the shade with  metal brads (like you use in kids’ projects).  I set it outside, angled it so my shade fell right into from in front, and left it for an hour.  Yummy!   Not only that, but my 'carrot cake' was just my simple muffin recipe with cinnamon, raisins, and a handful of dried (not reconstituted, either) carrots from the Family Home Storage Center


So how did I make it?  Mine looked like these two solar cookers- the first uses that car windowshade, and the second just uses cardboard and aluminum foil.  Both designs are VERY similar, they just use different materials.  Use what you have; if you didn’t have aluminum foil but had one of those Mylar emergency blankets, you could use that.  Solar cooking works best from March through October, though you can still use your solar cooker in the cooler months.  It helps to put the cooker against a south-facing wall, to get more reflected energy, during the ‘off’ months.  Here’s the first link:  http://www.solarcooking.org/plans/windshield-cooker.htm .  The other version (from Dr. Steven Jones @ BYU) is made with cardboard and aluminum foil; the website has great info on why, how, and what to cook, including cooking times.  You can even make ICE with a solar cooker.  No kidding. It's at  http://solarcooking.org/plans/funnel.htm  This link also has cooking times for different types of food.


To cook a meal for a family, one way to cook a bigger amount is just use a bigger container.   Maybe layer multiple containers? Or layer food in one container. Usually not every part of a meal needs cooked, anyway.  I have pans that stack together, to cook things simultaneously.  You could also use a gallon-sized glass jar painted black; I got a couple from a store that makes chocolates.  They got the jars when full of maraschino cherries, and sold them to me (empty) for $1.  But any container that is dark (black or dark blue) can be cooked in.  Maybe use a Dutch Oven or enameled cooking pot.

And if you wonder why the instructions for the foil/cardboard solar cooker say to put a wooden block under the jar/pan before cooking, I found out why-  it's to keep heat from escaping out from underneath.  The first time I cooked with this, my carrot cake was a little underdone on the bottom.  Apparently that's why.  

 
I have also baked cookies in my van window.  I was told that it has to be at least 95 degrees outside for that to work, it gets to about 250 degrees in the window that way.  I tried it on  a slightly cooler day (93?) and it worked, barely.  Now if you put the food next to the glass, and put a sunshade BEHIND the food, on the dashboard, that might give you a much warmer (and bigger) cooking spot. Hopefully it doesn't bake your dashboard!  The glass IS tempered, though, so that part should be OK. 


You can also use a vehicle for dehydrating food because it gets so hot. Just be sure to open windows a bit for airflow. ( I haven't tried that one yet, though.)  You can use clean window screens or an old screen door for a drying tray.  Cookie sheets work, too, but drying will take a little longer because the bottom can’t get air.

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Those of you who planted potatoes this year probably now have those delicious, creamy ‘new potatoes’ ready.  (Or just use whatever kind from the store….)  Maybe try cooking these in your solar oven!
 
Oven-Fried Potatoes 

2-10  potatoes- however many you want   
1-2   Tbsp.   vegetable oil   
Seasoned salt, dry ranch dressing mix, or Parmesan cheese   

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Wash potatoes well, then cut into strips or wedges about 1/4-1/2-inch thick , unless they're 'new potatoes'; leave those whole or cut into bite-sized pieces.  Put them all in a bowl, drizzle the oil over them, and then sprinkle a good amount of seasoned salt, dressing mix, or Parmesan cheese over the top.  Stir well and add more salt or cheese if it looks like they need it.  Spread potatoes out on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 15-30 minutes or until lightly browned and tender when you poke the thickest one with a fork.  

 
 
 
(Originally 7/15/10)

JULY in the garden:
• Plant beets and turnips for fall harvest.
• Thin out plants and fertilize.
• Fertilize potatoes with nitrogen.
• Watch watering on tomatoes! Even deep watering is better than frequent shallow watering to avoid blossom end rot.
• Irrigate at ground level rather than over head spray to avoid diseases.
• Keep looking for any signs of pests. Use insecticides only as necessary.
• Stake tomatoes if you haven’t already.
• Remove suckers and pinch back tomatoes as necessary.

This was from Glover Nursery’s website; see it for a month-by-month checklist. 

Remember that you can also plant shorter-season crops; the seed envelope will tell you how many days until harvest for that variety.  The official information for our area (data from Riverton) is that the earliest-ever fall freeze was Sept. 13, average date is Sept. 24, and latest was Oct. 4.  So worst-case scenario is 58 frost-free days remaining, best-case is 80 days, plus whatever length you can extend your growing season by covering your garden with a sheet or blanket for those first frosts.  

 
Now, for that fruit that some of you have coming out your ears-  our favorite way to eat it is ‘Fruit Leather’. 

Here are two samples of how much to use:

Apricot leather:
1 c. apricot puree (1 ½ c. pitted apricots)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Around 3 Tbsp. sugar or honey

Cherry leather:
1 c. cherry puree (1 ½ c. pitted cherries- or use the food mill for this one)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Dry until there are no more sticky spots, roll up and store in an airtight jar.  We’re still eating leather made two summers ago, it’s holding up fine.


 The best leather is made with overripe fruit, too, which is helpful!  Basically, you puree or mash fruit, or send it through a food mill, sweeten it to taste, then dry it.  You can sweeten it with concentrated fruit juice, or with sugar, or honey.  We like it best with sugar because that way the fruit leather crystallizes over time, rather than getting tougher.  You can also add a little lemon juice to keep the leather from turning brown as much.

Whatever you’re going to dry it on/in needs sprayed with Pam or oiled first.  Trust me, you don’t want to forget that step.   Leather is no fun to chip off of trays!  Pour about a ¼” layer, and put it someplace to dry.  It’ll be done in about 24 hours in a dehydrator.  You can also dry it on cookie sheets in your oven (lowest setting, door slightly ajar for air circulation), or in a car parked outside on a hot day. 

A good article on drying is at http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/shaffer58.html

 
 
 
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I love these powders!  Left to right: tomato powder, pumpkin powder, yellow summer squash powder, dried crumbled greens to put in soups in the winter.  (These greens are pigweed leaves- one of the wild edible weeds in my yard.)

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Hot, fresh pancakes are simple to make. 

What else can you do with all that summer squash you have?  Make it into leather!  Yes, I know your children won’t think that’s the best snack around, but it’s not for them.  At least not by itself.  Better yet, turn it into powder.

The idea behind this is that pureed squash can be added to soups and breads (as in Zucchini Bread), and it takes a LOT less storage space when it’s dried.  There are at least two ways to get dried pureed squash:

(1)  Puree it, pour it on food dehydrator sheets, dry, and roll up, and

(2)  Slice the squash (1/4” wide is good), dry it like that, then run it through your blender when it’s crispy-dry.   This vegetable powder takes up even less storage space than the leather, plus it reconstitutes faster. If you're doing this with pumpkin, steam it before slicing; it will dry quite a bit faster and not have that raw taste.

(3)  Store it in something fairly airtight, in a dark area.  Canning jars are great, especially if you seal them by using a new lid, the ring, and an oxygen packet. (see Dry Canning.)

Now, how do you use it in recipes?  And how much do you use?  Remember thinking in school that you’d NEVER use  math in ‘real life’?  Ha!  It’s incredibly useful in the kitchen, especially when you start doing your own thing.

Measure and write down the quantity you start with, then measure and write down what you end up with.  Write it on your storage container, trust me, you’ll forget otherwise.   For instance, I started with 2 ½ lbs of yellow squash, which is 5 cups of puree.  I ran it through the blender, poured it on my (SPRAYED) dehydrating sheets, and turned on the dehydrator until it was dry and curling up on the edges and thin spots.  My sheets can fit two cups of puree each, which is one pound, so each roll of ‘leather’ is worth that much in a recipe.  To use it in a recipe, tear it up in pieces and soak it in just under 2 cups of hot water, for probably 30 minutes or so.   Then use it just like fresh puree, in whatever recipe you have.  There are photos and more detailed information on the Zucchini Powder post.

For making the powdered squash: the latest batch, 5 cups of puree, became just 10 tablespoons after drying and powdering.  That means to make one cup of puree, use 2 Tbsp. powder along with just under 1 cup hot water.   Isn’t that amazing? Think of the space that saves!  Five cups, which would have taken up freezer space, now stores in the space of about 2/3 of a cup.  The pumpkin I dried requires 3 Tbsp. plus water to make a cup.  This pumpkin powder bakes up beautifully in pies and breads.

 
When I make vegetable powder, it usually sticks to itself in a big lump after storing a little while.  Normally I just whack it a couple times to break off what I need, or chop around in the jar with a butter knife.  This time something new occurred to me- sometimes a little cornstarch is added to powdered sugar to keep it from lumping.  It’s a good moisture absorber, so my most recent batch has a little cornstarch added to it.  So far, so good.  We’ll see in six months how it really works.  Just in case that quantity messes with my recipes, I wrote how much cornstarch is there, on the jar of powder.  In this case, it’s 1 Tbsp. cornstarch per 2 cups reconstituted puree.  It looks like maybe more than necessary, but so far nothing is sticking!

 

You can powder about anything- think what you ever use in a pureed form, and make that into vegetable powder.  Tomato powder is great, it can be used to replace tomato paste, tomato sauce,  or tomato juice, depending on how much powder you use with how much water.  Mushroom powder is nice for cream-of-mushroom soup, or for extra flavor in soups and stews, onion powder goes almost without saying, carrot powder is good, too, and beet powder is sneaky but awesome. Throw it in almost anything.  I mostly use it to color frosting, though, since one of my boys can’t have artificial colors without his eczema flaring. It’s also great way to use beets that stayed in the garden a little too long and became a bit woody.  Try this out, and see what you think!


           Foolproof Pancakes -for my size family, we triple this
Makes 10 3" pancakes        (You can also turn this recipe into Pumpkin Pancake mix.)

1   cup   flour   (white or whole wheat)
1   cup   buttermilk or sour milk   
1   tsp.   sugar   
1/2  tsp.   baking soda   
1/2  tsp.   salt   
1   egg   
2   Tbsp.   butter, melted, optional

Combine all and whisk lightly.  Cook on a greased or non-stick skillet,  on medium-high, using 1/4 cup batter per pancake.  Cook until bubbles form around outside edges, then flip and cook until other side is browned.

The original recipe called for 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1/4 cup whole milk, but what I've got above works great.
For blueberry pancakes, stir 3/4 cup of blueberries into batter. 
For banana pancakes, slice one banana into batter. 
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Cook pancakes on high heat, either on a greased or nonstick surface.  When the bubbles around the edges stay 'popped' and the edges are not runny, flip the pancake.

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Cook until the other side is golden as well.  The pancake will puff up when you first flip it, and then it will stop rising.  If you're not sure if it's done, poke one in the center.  It shouldn't be runny.  If you flip the pancakes a second time, they will deflate and be more dense and flat.

 
 
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You can even store summer squash alongside your pumpkins, if the summer squash is very mature, with a hard rind.

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A bowl of thick, tasty Pumpkin Chili.  Don't tell your kids, and they'll never know....
Want to know what nutrients you're getting with that pumpkin?  A whole cup of it has only 49 calories, but is loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, and lots and lots of Vitamin A.  For the numbers, see nutrition for cooked pumpkin puree.
For the facts on its seeds, which are a great source of protein, Omega-6's, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese, see nutrition for pumpkin seeds.

Hi everyone,

This week we had a pumpkin class at my house.  It was fun, and I think everyone learned at least one new thing.  I have two different ‘handouts’; one is the Pumpkin class handout, two pages from the class; the other is a big collection of recipes I started in college, The Great Pumpkin Cookbook  (If it won't load, get it in two parts, here: The Great Pumpkin Cookbook part 1 and The Great Pumpkin Cookbook part 2).  I had asked a roommate if I could have her jack-o-lantern after Halloween.  When I told her I was going to make pie out of it, she incredulously responded with, “You can do that?  How?”  So I started by typing up instructions, and one thing lead to another…    

The Great Pumpkin Cookbook includes information on cooking pumpkin, canning, dehydrating, freezing, and ‘root cellar’ing it, plus things like Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Shake, and Pumpkin Pancakes.  

If you want to learn more about storing vegetables through the winter, with or without a ‘real’ root cellar, click on Storing Vegetables At Home, which is a chart and information from the Wisconsin Extension Office.  
 

Here’s something to chew on, from the LDS Family Home Storage pamphlet; italics are mine:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance,
for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs
as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to
“prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity
come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops
as they care for others.
We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity
in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.  

 
And another, related, quote:

“Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we also know service is what godhood is all about? Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.  President Heber J. Grant declared, “Nothing destroys the individuality of a man, a woman, or a child as much as the failure to be self-reliant.”  -The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance, Marion G. Romney

 
I challenge you to expand your home storage efforts, to find some part of it to learn more about, to try for the first time (or try better for the second-- or tenth-- time), to do something that will help you become a little bit more self-reliant. The Lord doesn’t ask us to do everything, all at once, but he does ask us to be diligent.  (See Mosiah 4: 27)  I know our capacity and freedom will increase as we do this.

-Rhonda

Here's some great information I found at http://www.americanpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=122&t=2166
"Only fresh and sound produce should be root-cellared. The food should be free from cuts, cracks, bruises, insects and mechanical damage. When I prepare produce for winter storage, I inspect it carefully. Items with any damage are either eaten quickly or canned or frozen. Apples and pears can be made into sauce, squash roasted and frozen, and beets pickled.

Quantities for a family of four:

Apples: 5 bushels
Carrots: 40 to 60 pounds
Cabbage: green, 20 heads; red, 10 heads
Beets: 20 pounds
Celeriac: (celery root, use instead of celery) 10 to 20 heads
Leeks: 40 plants
Potatoes: 100 pounds or more
Jerusalem artichoke: 10 pounds
Onions: 40 pounds
Garlic: 10 to 20 pounds
Winter radish: 10
Parsnip: 20 pounds
Squash: 40 ‘Delicata’ and 30 pounds butternut
Pumpkin: 5 to 10
Turnip and rutabaga: 10 or more"