On Cairncest Farm in Plainfield, two brothers, Edmund and Garth Brown, have resolved to eat only what they raise/grow/forage/hunt themselves for an entire year. Edible Finger Lakes is carrying biweekly updates from the Brown brothers as they embark on this food journey.
Food for a Year: February 16-March 1
I grew a bunch of pie pumpkins last year, but one started to mold before I’d used very many of them. Rather than simply watch them rot on my shelf I thought I better take action to preserve them. I don’t really enjoy canning, and I don’t particularly like frozen squash. Barring those two options, all I had left was dehydrating. The best method I found was to run slices of the de-skinned pumpkin through a food processor with the shredder blade on it. Then I put the shavings on the drying racks and ran it overnight. I processed a bunch of pumpkins by cutting them into thin slabs and dehydrating them, but this did not work as well. It took far longer (more electricity = more money) in the dehydrator and the final product was hard and brittle. It took a lot of effort to break the rock hard chunks.
Once the dehydrator has done its thing the pumpkin will not go bad and can be stored in a cool dark, dry place. I took it one step further and put the dried pieces through a grain mill to make pumpkin powder. The mill worked better than I dared hope. Before I hit on that appliance I tried a food processor with a regular blade, but it did not grind fine enough and it seemed very hard on the processor.
Now that I have pumpkin powder I’ve been eating pancakes several times a week. The recipe I use is as follows:
Dash of salt
Mix these ingredients together. The pumpkin can take some effort to fully wet, and it makes a very stiff sort of “batter.” Place dabs into a preheated frying pan skimmed with fat on low to low-medium heat. The goal is to fully cook the pancake before it blackens. If necessary turn the heat down a touch to achieve the desired level of doneness.
I drown the finished cakes in syrup since I am spice limited here, but I think cinnamon and anise would go very well with the squash flavor. Also, experimenting with some yogurt in the batter might improve the cakes too. I intend to try making a kabocha pancake sometime soon, but I have yet to get to that project. They’re keeping fine sitting on the squash shelf in my living room. —EdmundBrothers Edmund and Garth Brown are owner-operators of Cairncrest Farm in Plainfield, New York. They produce and sell grass-fed beef and pastured pork. They blog about their 2015 homegrown challenge here. Read the last Food for a Year post here. Photos by Normandy Alden