At around the one month mark of subsisting solely on homegrown foods I started craving, bready, starchy things. Prior to embarking on my homegrown challenge I wasn’t even a big bread eater, but roots have a lot of water in them and sheer volume of food I have to consume to stay active and warm in a cold New York winter has been a minor challenge. Fats are energy dense, but the only one I have in abundance is tallow, and I tolerate it in only limited amounts.
Then my sister-in-law pointed me to a recipe for pumpkin pancakes. I had a large pile of pumpkins sitting with my other squash. They were less palatable than their winter brethren, so I found they kept sitting on the shelf. I didn’t want the pumpkins to go to waste since I don’t know how big of a hungry gap I might have between the end of my root-cellar stores and the first harvests from my garden. I tried the pumpkin recipe and found the texture was precisely what I missed and craved.
I began by halving the pumpkins and digging out the seeds, which I cleaned and roasted in a pan at 350 with tallow and salt. The crunch of roasted seed turned out to be a real bonus texture that I didn’t even realize I missed until I found something that provided it. After dealing with the seeds I cut off the skin and sliced the flesh into slabs. I dehydrated whole slabs, but then my brother hit upon a much better method. He ran the slabs through the grater setting of a food processor before putting them into the dehydrator. The thin slices from a grater dry out much more quickly, and once dry, they’re far easier to turn into powder. The dried slabs are hard and brittle. I powdered some with a mortar and pestle, but it took a long time. Thin little strands can be “ground” with a regular Cuisinart blade, though the best way is to run them through a steel disc grain mill.
Powder in hand, I made some pancakes. They brown beautifully on a low heat and the texture is wonderful. The flavor of my pancakes left something to be desired, which I attribute largely to the under-ripe aspect of a few of the pumpkins I put into the mix. Also, my limited spice cupboard doesn’t allow for cinnamon and I think it would really improve the cakes to add it.
This is the recipe I used:
Ingredients• 1/2 cup of pumpkin powder
1. Heat a large, heavy pan and skim with tallow or other fat.
2. Mix the ingredients together and pour into the pan. Wait and watch and then flip when ready. It may take a couple of tries to get the browning just right depending on the particulars of your stove and frying pan.
I doused them with maple syrup and devoured. Yum.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.
With more than 150 workshops, there is no shortage of informative demonstrations and lectures to educate and entertain you over the weekend.LEARN MORE