Introduction: Squash Candy

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This simple, delicious and healthy candy is the answer to two challenges that our family faces.

The first is that both of our kids, just turned 2 and 5, LOVE all things sweet. They get sugar candy as a treat every once in a while, but we hate to give them too much. This squash candy is a great compromise, being both sweet and healthy. They love it and will eat as much as you'll let them have.

The second challenge is what to do with all our winter squash. They're so easy to grow and will last for so long that they are a must have in any garden. Last year we had 30 of them without any kind of special work beyond putting the seed in the ground. However, the vegetable is usually very large, so you have to decide what to do with the whole thing each time you cut one open. You can roast them, cook them in stir-fry, make pie, etc. but you'll still be left with some of the meat. Making leather out of any left over is perfect. It's tasty and will last a long time.

We also like to add apple sauce to the recipe as we process and save a lot of apples in the Fall.

For more information on other stuff we do, click here.
For a full step-by-step on how to make a solar food dehydrator, click here.

Step 1: Puree

  1. Cut your squash (either one large or two small) into chunks. You can leave the skin on as it is a lot easier to remove once it's been cooked.
  2. Place the chunks into a large saucepan with a little water. Cover and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes or so, or until the meat is tender.
  4. Strain the water and then remove the skin.
  5. Put all the squash in the blender until smooth, in batches if necessary. You should have roughly 8 cups of puree.
  6. To get apple puree, you follow the same procedure, although it's easier to peel them before cooking, at the same time as removing the cores.

Step 2: Ingredients

  • 8 cups of winter squash, like pumpkin, acorn, spaghetti, etc.
  • 3 cups of apple sauce
  • 1 cup of honey
  • Scant 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 lime
Mix all of the above ingredients together until well blended. Then pour the mixture onto four 10"x15" greased cookie sheets. You want it to be fairly thin, so that you can vaguely see the grey of the cookie sheets coming through the squash.

Step 3: Leather

You want to dry out the mixture until it is like any fruit leather - dry, supple, will come away in one piece. This usually takes a couple of days. We have in the past just put the cookie trays in a sunny spot inside the house (provided you don't have any flies). However, we now have a solar food dryer that we made, which makes the process faster and doesn't leave our house littered with cookie sheets. If you're interested, we have full step-by-step instructions on how to make one here.

So, after a couple of days, push your finger into the leather. If it doesn't "squish" at all, it's ready. Peel the leather off the cookie sheet.

If you want to store it for another time, roll it up tightly and it will be more space efficient. You can of course eat it as is.

You can also cut out some small squares, spread cream cheese on them and then roll them up. Dip these tubes in honey for a truly delicious treat.
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