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September 2013 Trail Bytes: Pumpkin Soup, Mashed Pumpkin & Pumpkin Pie Pudding
September 27, 2013

Last month I said I was going to carve a pumpkin into soup. Juckers Farmart, situated on the hill overlooking the Lake of Pfäffikon and a pleasant two-mile walk from our flat, had signs indicating which pumpkins were good for soup. The common Jack-O with the toothy grin, who lights your entry on Halloween night, is not meant for soup. He was bred for his tall fibrous walls and hollow belly. Toss him in the compost come November.

Eatin’ pumpkins are squat and dense. They put up a fight, so use a stout knife with a blade that doesn’t wobble. Cut off the top and bottom and scoop out the stringy mess and seeds. I cut the bottom off so the pumpkin would sit still while I reduced him to smaller chunks with the large knife. Remove the outer orange skin with a carrot peeler and finish cutting the pumpkin into cubes with a smaller serrated knife.

I made two pots of soup – one using Dominique’s recipe with butter and cream and a batch without dairy that I dehydrated.

Pumpkin Soup Recipe for Home Use

Serves 3 – 4


  • 1 – 1¼ pounds cubed pumpkin
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ bouillon cube
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 1½ cups water

Cooking Instructions:

In a large pan or pot, cook garlic and onions in butter at low to medium heat for a couple of minutes. You don’t want to brown the butter.

Add the cubed pumpkin and stir to coat with the butter. Add about a third of the water and the bouillon and salt and stir until the bouillon dissolves.

Add the rest of the water, cover pot and turn up the heat until it reaches a boil for a couple of minutes.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until pumpkin is soft and mashable.

Hand mash with a potato masher. Add cream and mash some more until smooth. Simmer on low a few more minutes and serve.

I served this for dinner with Dominique and Cedric and we all loved it.

Pumpkin Soup Recipe for Dehydration

I don’t include dairy in dehydrated foods because it reduces the shelf life and it could spoil, so I was curious how the pumpkin soup would taste when prepared without butter and cream.

I made it the same way, except I used one tablespoon of olive oil instead of butter. I could have gotten by with two teaspoons. Coconut oil would also be a good choice. I omitted the cream.

The potato masher produced a sufficiently creamy texture, so I did not have to dirty the blender.

I spread the mixture on two Excalibur Dehydrator trays and dried it for a little over eight hours at 135°. I flipped it over after five hours. The dried pumpkin soup bark yielded 2½ cups.


Combine one cup pumpkin soup bark with two cups water to make soup. Heat and stir until bark dissolves.

To make mashed pumpkin, combine one cup pumpkin soup bark with one cup boiling water. As with potato bark, you have to stir it vigorously and allow a few minutes for the bark to dissolve.

I served the soup and the mashed pumpkin to Dominique and Cedric the following day for lunch and they thought it was great. We didn’t miss the cream at all. The mashed pumpkin tasted a little like squash casserole with a mashed potato texture. Sehr gut!

Pumpkin Pie Pudding for Dessert

I’ve always made pumpkin pie bark with canned pumpkin, but I discovered it’s great with fresh pumpkin, too.


  • 1 pound cubed pumpkin
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Boil pumpkin in apple juice and water with salt and spices until soft enough to mash. Stir in maple syrup and mash until smooth. Spread on dehydrator tray and dry at 135° for approximately eight hours.

Pumpkin pie bark tastes great dry as a chip or can be turned back into pumpkin pie pudding with an equal quantity of hot water. A single serving is ½ cup, but you can easily eat one cup if you’re hungry.

Backpacking Chef on Facebook

I’ve built a little campfire over at Facebook. That’s the way I view it. We folks with common interests in exploring nature and cooking on the trail can circle up for some friendly conversation. I’ll toss out topics on a regular basis – recipes, dehydrating tips, answers to frequently asked questions, photos, news about trail life, personal thoughts, etc.

Bring a little wood and keep the fire going by participating in the conversation. Anybody can view the page. You don’t have to be signed up for Facebook. If you are signed up for Facebook, then you can post comments, ask questions, and answer other people’s questions. Feel free to post your best photo of your last adventure or a great meal you cooked up on the trail. The only rule is to keep it friendly and on topic – exploring nature and cooking on the trail.

To continue receiving my Facebook posts, please “like” my page. If you “love” the page or any of the individual posts, then by all means “share” with your friends. There’s plenty of room around our campfire.

If you head over to Facebook now, I’ve posted a fantastic video that was shared with me by eight adventurous men who paddled down Yukon’s Wind River this summer. Steve Duncan was the designated chef for the expedition and he used several of the recipes from Recipes for Adventure to feed the crew.

That’s them on the cover of this month’s Trail Bytes. L – R: Mike Moir, Brett Howard, Tim Bramble, Bruce Simpson, Isaac Cull, Steve Duncan and Graham McCord. Photographer, Peter Moir. Videographer, Bruce Simpson.

“Like” the Backpacking Chef page, “share” it, and view the video here:

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Thank you. Thank you very much for supporting my work and for sharing your stories with me.

Yes, that’s Elvis made out of gourds at Juckers Farmart.

I returned to the USA last week to enjoy the upcoming fall season in Georgia. I’m heading to Springer Mountain tomorrow for a little refreshment on the Appalachian Trail, hiking to Three Forks and back.

Dominique and Cedric are joining me next week.

Wish you all the best,

Chef Glenn & Dominique

P.S. If you have any questions or comments about this issue of Trail Bytes, please reply to this email or use the contact form at

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