Last week I had some leftover pumpkin from making a pumpkin roll and just happened to have sweet potatoes left over from Christmas dinner at the same time, so I pulled some frozen “squash” out of the freezer (why I labeled it with only “squash” and not the variety, I do not know) and let it thaw for a big ol’ batch of dehydrated baby food. I used the same general method as when I did the carrots–cook the food, puree it, spread it on the dehydrator like fruit leather and dry until crispy, then put the crispy stuff in the blender until it was powdered.
The sweet potatoes were already cooked from the dinner–they had been baked in foil like a baked potato and then the peels were taken off after the baking so didn’t have any butter/spices/etc already in them. Just plain ol’ baked sweet potato. I had to add water to them in the blender to make it thin enough to pour. You might think by adding water you’re increasing your dehydrating time, and that may be true, however, you want to be able to spread your pureed food fairly thin and even on the dehydrator trays so it will dry into crispy chips more quickly and not take forever and turn out thick and hard like a rock which just makes more work for your blender when you’re trying to powder it. So go ahead and add some water to get your food to a spreadable consistency if you need to.
These dried up really nicely. I’ll be wanting to do some more sweet potatoes in the next few months as I only got a little bit out of our leftovers.
Sweet potato powder. This could also be used in baking mixes if you want biscuits or bread or something with some sweet potato in it.
|sweet potato powder|
I’ll probably just feed the baby with it.
The pumpkin was canned pumpkin left over from making a pumpkin roll. There was a little less than a cup of it to start with, so I pureed it with a bit of water and spread it out on the dehydrator trays. Because I was only putting one swath of plastic wrap down the middle of the tray, it took almost two trays to spread it all out. I’ll have to check the label on the canned pumpkin to see if it’s baby safe before I feed it to the baby. This may go into a bread mix instead. If you were to cook and dry your own pie pumpkin, you’d know for sure that it was only pumpkin.
It dried fairly well–took a while to get crispy. It seems like the food gets leathery pretty quick, and then takes a long time to crisp up. All powdered up it came out to just under 1/3 cup. So I’d guesstimate approx 1/3 cup pumpkin powder for each cup of pumpkin in your recipe. You’ll need to add a bit of extra liquid in your recipe for it. Or just rehydrate it and use it that way.
Some of the squash I added water to and some I didn’t because of the consistency of it when it thawed from the freezer. Some of it dried really nicely and some came out really hard. I think that had to do with the fact that my plastic wrap didn’t stay in place on a couple of the trays, so instead of breaking apart as it dried, it all squished up into one chunk of squash in the center of the tray–kind of like those shrinky-dinks that you draw on and put in the oven and they come out as a smaller, thicker version of the original. That made it take those couple of trays another “overnight” in the dehydrator to get crispy after everything else was already done. Guess I’ll be taping my plastic wrap down in the future. After blending it into powder, I’ve got a nice little bag of nearly instant dehydrated squash baby food. Sweet. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve still got squash from this year that needs done (that’s the good thing about winter squash, they’ll keep a few months before needing cooked and eaten) so we’ll get some more from that.
This method obviously works for starchy veggies. I still need to try some kind of green veggie like beans or something and fruit also. It’s just that they’re not in season right now, so another time we’ll get to those.
Super sweet addition to the baby 72 hour kit–just make sure you’ve got enough water or a filter for water or pump for breast milk to re-constitute them.