Canned pumpkin, it’s a staple of the fall season. I used to make a mad dash to Aldi when they finally released it for the season. We’d make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins like our lives depended on them. Not to mention pumpkin cookies, at-home pumpkin spice lattes, and anything else that gives us a reason to use pumpkin. But did you know that your pumpkin doesn’t have to be canned?? Amazing. Homemade pumpkin puree is really just minutes away!
Using Fresh Pumpkin
I’ll admit that up until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought about using fresh pumpkin in recipes. The can is super easy to open and scoop out. Boom. Done. But as I have started using more garden fresh ingredients, I knew I needed to try to lose the dependence on canned pumpkin. Pumpkins had been mostly a decor item at my house. One propped on the porch next to mums. A few sitting in the centerpiece on the dining table. I had been “using” them but not really.
As one would guess, using fresh pumpkin has fabulous benefits. Here are some important things about using fresh pumpkin:
- The taste: Fresh pumpkin trumps canned with the brightness of flavor. It’s delicious!
- The seeds: As a bonus, you can easily roast the seeds and have an afternoon treat of savory or sweet roasted pumpkin seeds (nutrient powerhouses)! Or save the seeds to plant next year.
- Knowledge: You know exactly what went into your pumpkin puree and what the original pumpkin looked like.
- Serving Bowl: This may sound strange, but the shell of the pumpkin comes out of the IP stiff and could be washed out and used to serve a fun pumpkin dip or treat.
The time-saving Instant Pot
The Instant Pot has totally changed cooking for me. (See my full review of the Instant Pot!) Dried beans are ready in less than an hour. Chicken cooks in less than 30 minutes. And veggies can be steamed in a snap. Planner and procrastinators can both get a lot out of an Instant Pot. If you or someone else is on the fence about getting one, check out my IP review. The instant pot takes the work out of making homemade pumpkin puree. There’s no cubing up the pumpkin and steaming it in a pot or pan. It’s as simple as cutting the pumpkin in half and cleaning it out. Here’s what to do:
Instant Pot Pumpkin Puree
- Grab your pie pumpkin and a sharp knife. Cut your pumpkin in half lengthwise. I used a santuko knife and worked my blade in. Once you get past the outer skin, it’s not very difficult to cut.
- Use a spoon to clean out the seeds and strings from the inside of the pumpkin. Place the seeds in a bowl to use later. Then place the wire rack that came with your Instant Pot into the bottom of the pot.
- Add one cup of water to the bottom of your pot. Then place your pumpkin halves inside your pot, cut sides facing each other. (The direction they’re facing isn’t set in stone, but I know I like clear instructions.)
- Secure lid on Instant Pot. Press Steam button and adjust time for 8-10 minutes. If your pumpkin is on the smaller side, go with 8. If larger, go with 10. An extra minute of steaming will not mess up your puree. Once time is up and pressure has released, take pumpkin halves out and let cool 5-10 minutes.
- Scoop out pumpkin and either mash by hand with a fork or place in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You’ll have fresh puree to use in your fall baking!
I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to use fresh pumpkin in my cooking. I’d love to know what your favorite pumpkin recipe is! Leave a comment below, because I’m always looking for new recipes to try. Have a great week!