Did you know you can cook an entire pumpkin in the Instant Pot? It’s not the first food that comes to mind when you think of a pressure cooker, but maybe that will change. There are a lot of different ways to cook pumpkin to obtain the wonderful puree that is used to make pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. Of course there are other uses for pumpkin puree like pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin soup, which are wonderful too, so if you’re not into sweets keep in mind that pumpkin puree will make a multitude of superb dinners.
In North America pumpkins are harvested in the Fall, but stored properly they’ll last well into early Spring. In some places pumpkins can be grown year round. If you ask me they should be grown as much as possible. Did you know commercial brands of pumpkin are not always pumpkin? Canned pumpkin can actually be a blend of other winter squash.
This might not be a big deal to you; there are other winter squash that taste similar to pumpkin and in a pinch I’ll use commercial canned pumpkin... ahem, I mean commercial canned squash. However, I like to know exactly what’s in something if I’m making it from scratch. I’d also like to tell the people I feed it to the exact ingredients. Call me old fashioned.
So I’ve pureed my own pumpkin for years. I sometimes can it in chunks and then use the chunks for pumpkin puree, or sometimes I will use butternut squash, but then when I make a pie it’s called butternut squash pie and not pumpkin pie…..:)
How To Make Pumpkin Puree In The Instant Pot
Cut the top off of your pumpkin.
Then cut it in half.
Take out the seeds and fibrous strands (the slimy bits).
Quarter the pumpkin (you might have to cut the pumpkin into more pieces for bigger gourds).
Place the pumpkin on the steaming rack in your Instant Pot. Pour 2 cups of water in. (Note: The pumpkin should not be submerged.)
Place the lid on and make sure the venting handle is set to closed. Push manual on your keypad. Then navigate to 15 minutes.
After the beeper goes off turn the venting handle to open to do a quick release. Perfectly cooked squash.
Remove the skin. It should peel off easily.
Mash up your pumpkin with a fork or put it in a blender or food processor.
Squash has a good bit of water in it. So if you’d like to use it for pumpkin pie you’ll need to strain it to remove 80 percent of the water, otherwise you might have a runny pie. I just use cheesecloth to do this. Leave it for about 30 minutes then come back and gently squeeze the rest of the water out. Now, you’re ready to make the best pumpkin pie ever, and you know it will indeed have pumpkin in it.
Oh, I almost forgot. Do NOT throw away those seeds! Here is my favorite recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds.
Now, you can store your puree in the freezer or you can dehydrate it. You can also make a dehydrated powder out of it. If you’d prefer not to cook your pumpkin before you make pumpkin flour, you can follow these directions.
Whatever you do, do not can this puree. Canning pumpkin puree is not safe for home canning because it’s so dense that the center of the jar can not reach the temperatures needed to kill the bacteria that causes botulism. You can still can pumpkin. You’ll just need to do it in chunks and then puree it when you’re ready to use it. Here are directions for canning butternut squash which is the same procedure for pumpkin.
Share your favorite recipe for pumpkin in the comments.