The benefits of vegetables and fruits have been known for a long time. To preserve their beneficial properties for the winter, housewives resort to various conservation methods. Dried pumpkin stands out among vegetables for its ease of preparation and health benefits.
The benefits and harms of dried pumpkin
The benefits of dried pumpkin have been known for several centuries. Pumpkin was used by healers and healers in the manufacture of medicines, ointments and tinctures. It is rich in beta-carotene, pectin and easily digestible sugars. The chemical composition is also striking - calcium, phosphorus, fluorine, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, sodium and potassium. In addition, pumpkin fruits are rich in vitamins A, C, E, Pp, as well as rare vitamins K and T, and it is these substances that are responsible for the rejuvenation of the body.
With such an excellent composition, dried pumpkin is able to have a magical effect on the human body. Regular consumption of food helps to fight depression, insomnia. Also, dried pumpkin has a positive effect on the body's immune system and helps with spring vitamin deficiency. Other positive properties of this product include:
- Eye protection from acute inflammatory diseases, vision support.
- Strengthening the walls of blood vessels and normalizing blood pressure.
- Removal of toxins and toxins from the digestive system.
- Cleansing the kidneys through diuretic properties. Dissolution of kidney and bladder stones.
- Relief of pain in cardiovascular diseases. Stabilization of the heart rate.
- Tissue regeneration and natural rejuvenation of the body.
For all its usefulness, there are several restrictions on the use of this product. Doctors advise people suffering from acid-base imbalance or diabetes mellitus to avoid it. Also, do not forget that with increased acidity of gastric juice, dried pumpkin can cause gastritis and other damage to the stomach.
Calorie content of dried pumpkin
When dried, pumpkin loses most of the water, so the sugar content in its composition increases. The energy table of dried pumpkin per 100 g of product is as follows:
- proteins - 1.8 g;
- fats - 0 g;
- carbohydrates - 8.4 g.
The final calorie content of the product is 41 kcal. Such low values make pumpkin an excellent aid for weight loss. Its inclusion in the diet allows you to achieve impressive results in a short time.
How to dry a pumpkin
The basis for an excellent dried product is the correct selection of the variety. Do not use forage species. The best choice would be late-ripening and firm varieties - "Stolovaya Sweet", "Buttercup", "Winter Sweet" and "Blue Hubbard". The use of early maturing "Acorna" is possible, but due to the greater wateriness, the drying process will take a long time.
Pumpkin fruits should be intact, without visible damage. They should be free of plaque and suspicious stains. A prerequisite is the integrity of the tail - this is a kind of guarantor of the preservation of the juiciness of the fruit and the absence of internal damage.
Attention! For a brighter color of the finished product, you can use the blanching procedure. To do this, cut the prepared pieces must be dipped in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
Preparation of pumpkin for drying takes place in several stages. Initially, the fruits are washed in running water and wiped dry. Then they are cut in half and the fibrous core with seeds is removed. After that, the peel is removed from it and cut into small slices of about 3-4 cm.
Drying pumpkin outdoors
The easiest method to prepare dried pumpkin is to dry it outdoors. The only prerequisite for this is sunny weather and constant supervision. In this case, the process is delayed in time up to 2 weeks.
Attention! Do not forget about insects - in order to avoid possible harm, it is better to cover the pumpkin with gauze.
First, you need to spread the pre-cut pieces of pulp on a baking sheet and cover them with parchment paper - this will avoid direct sunlight and provide excellent ventilation. Turn the pieces once a day. After a week of this drying, you can remove the parchment and continue drying in direct sunlight. The product will be ready in a week.
Oven dried pumpkin recipe
Oven-drying is a fairly common method for preparing vegetables. To do this, arrange the pieces on a baking sheet in one layer, leaving a small space between them. During cooking, keep the oven door ajar to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
Initially, the oven is preheated to 60 degrees, after which a baking sheet is placed in it. In this mode, 5 hours pass, then the baking sheet is taken out and the pieces are turned over. Next, the oven is heated to 80 degrees, and the vegetable is heated for another 2 or 3 hours until fully cooked.
Oven-dried sweet pumpkin pieces
Despite the fact that the finished dish itself contains enough sugar, some people strive to achieve maximum sugar content. The result is a dessert dish. For this, pieces of pumpkin are boiled in sugar syrup for 5 minutes, and then rolled in sugar or powdered sugar.
When it comes to oven temperature, remember that overheating will cause the sugar to caramelize quickly. The maximum possible temperature for this procedure will be 50 degrees. At the same time, the total drying time, taking into account one overturning of the pieces, increases to 9-10 hours.
How to dry pumpkin in a dryer
The use of modern methods of drying fruits and vegetables greatly facilitates the work of housewives. An automatic electric dryer allows you to get a high quality product without much hassle. At the same time, several of its levels allow you to cook a large number of delicacies at a time.
First of all, pumpkin slices are laid on each of the grates of the dryer. There should be empty spaces between the slices for better air circulation. After installing all the grates in place, close the lid of the dryer, turn on the device for 2 hours, after which each of the pieces should be turned over. The temperature in the device is automatically maintained at 50-60 degrees. The total cooking time is up to 12 hours.
What can be made from dried pumpkin
The finished product has a sweet taste and retains all the useful properties of a fresh product, therefore it is often used in combination with other dried fruits to prepare various vitamin mixtures. The most popular dried pumpkin recipe is:
- 100 g of finished pumpkin;
- 100 g dried apricots;
- 100 g of walnuts;
- zest of one lemon;
- 100 g of liquid honey.
All ingredients are chopped through a meat grinder and mixed. The finished mixture is placed in a jar. Daily use of 1 tbsp. l. such a product allows you to forget about the lack of vitamins and improves overall well-being.
How to store dried pumpkin
Compliance with the correct storage conditions allows you to extend the shelf life of the finished product by an order of magnitude. The best option for a pumpkin is a room with a relative humidity of no more than 60% and an air temperature of 10-15 degrees. A prerequisite is the absence of direct sunlight. The finished product is stored in cloth bags or tightly sealed glass jars.
Protected from harmful insects, pumpkin can be stored for up to one and a half to two years. Violation of storage conditions leads to the early appearance of mold and deterioration of the product. There is a secret that can extend the shelf life by a couple of months. At the bottom of the jar where dried vegetables are stored, you need to put a couple of leaves of parchment paper to absorb excess moisture.
Dried pumpkin is a storehouse of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Its miraculous effect on the body makes it a constant helper in maintaining immunity. An easy way to prepare this dish will provide the family with a supply of nutrients for the whole year until the next harvest.