Drying Squash: Using the Sun or an Electric Dehydrator

Drying squash can be rewarding. Learn how to do it using the sun or a dehydrator and incorporate it into soups, stews and more.


| December 2012


In The Resilient Gardener (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010) scientist and gardener Carol Deppe combines her passion for gardening with newly emerging scientific information from many fields—resilience science, climate change, sustainable agriculture and more. In this book you’ll learn how to garden in an era of unpredictable weather and climate change; grow, store and cook different varieties of her five “key crops”; and keep a home laying flock of ducks or chickens. Deppe didn’t just write this book, she lives the principles in it every day, and you can, too, with her expert advice. In this excerpt from chapter 10, “Squash and Pumpkins,” learn how drying squash increases the versatility of your preserving and cooking, and make flavorful soups and stews once the season is over. 

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: The Resilient Gardener.

Following in Buffalo Bird Woman’s Footsteps—Adventures with Drying Squash

For Buffalo Bird Woman, the Hidatsa Indian featured in Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden, it was dry slices of immature squash that were the main squash staple, not fully mature squash. I love growing squash. And Buffalo Bird Woman had a production system for dried squash that looked very efficient as well as fun. So I studied the text and pictures in the book for hours.

Buffalo Bird Woman and other Hidatsa and Mandan Indian women harvested their squash when they were about fist-sized. (We don’t know what varieties they were using. Their squash varied in color and shape, and they may not have been pure varieties.) At this stage, the squash skin was still tender and the seeds immature enough to be palatable. That is, the squash were being harvested at the summer squash stage. It was slices of summer squash, including the seed cavi­ties and immature seeds, that were dried.



The picked squash were cut into slices about 3/8-inch thick. The ends were set aside. The rest of the slices were skewered onto sharpened willow sticks through the soft pulp in the middle of the seed cavities, and the slices were then separated along the stick to allow airflow between them. Each stick with its squash was then placed on a raised drying rack in the sun. The squash took several days to dry completely. If rain threatened, the entire frame with all the sticks of squash was covered with hides.

After the squash was dried, a second, thinner willow stick with a piece of string attached was threaded through the holes of the squash on each stick. (This is while the slices were still on the first stick. The holes around the stick expand as the squash dries.) Then the squash was efficiently transferred from the stick to the needle-stick to the string. Each string of squash was tied into a circle and then hung indoors or hidden with corn and other dry staples in buried food caches.




mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE







Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265