Reasons to for runners to eat pumpkin:
- It’s high in Vitamin A (good for your eyesight)
- It’s high in antioxidants (helps battle cancers, like skin cancer)
- It’s high in Potassium, which could make it a great recovery food (move over, bananas!)
Bonus benefit: don’t throw out the seeds (I didn’t!). They are high in phytosterols, which might help lower cholesterol and are also high in magnesium — which just might help you if you’re prone to cramping.
Why cook pie pumpkins?
I don’t usually cook, them, I’ll admit. It’s easier to simply open up a can of pumpkin puree — although did you know that canned “pumpkin” is often a different kind of squash? I digress.
People really into baking would tell you that fresh pumpkin puree tastes much better than canned. I’m not really sure I notice that much difference. We get a veggie box during the Summer, and pie pumpkins were one of our options at the end of the season. I’d read that you could cook pie pumpkins in the Instant Pot — I thought that would help a lot!
Only the pie pumpkins we got were too large to fit in our 6 quart Instant Pot. Not to fear, you can still cook them in your Instant Pot — but it will require more work. Cooking the pie pumpkins in your Instant Pot definitely cuts down on the cooking time.
Cooking Pie Pumpkins in the Instant Pot
- Place 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot inner container
- Place the steamer in the inner container
- Cut the pie pumpkin into large chunks (this takes some strength!)
- Scoop out the stringy stuff & seeds & put in a strainer over a bowl
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to High Pressure for 5 minutes; press on
- After the five minutes are up, let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes (aka do nothing)
- After five minutes release the pressure by turning the valve from sealing to venting (make sure to do that with a long spoon so you don’t get burnt by the venting steam!)
- Carefully scoop out the pumpkin chunks (I used a fork & spoon) & place on paper towels or a cutting board (we just used the same one that Mr. Judy cut the pie pumpkins on)
- Let cool for around 15 minutes — until cool enough to handle
- Take a spoon and just scoop the pumpkin off of the skin — it should come off very easily
- Put cooked pumpkin in a blender or food processor and puree
- Now you’re ready to cook with your pumpkin or put into containers
While the steamed pumpkin is cooling, you can run water over the pumpkin seeds to get any stringy stuff off of them.
I put a paper towel on a baking cooling rack and just spread the pumpkin seeds out on it to air dry. I haven’t done anything with them . . . yet. Unfortunately they went moldy! I knew I needed a real mason jar, but we didn’t have many available after the great pumpkin massacre.
I had two large pie pumpkins and I estimate I got the equivalent of 3-4 cans of pumpkin out of them. Plus a cup of pumpkin seeds. I actually do enjoy pumpkin seeds and use them to top salads or soups, but I’m thinking I might try to make some pumpkin seed milk (which is similar to making almond or cashew milk (see this blog post here) — yes, I still make my own nut milk every week!
What did I do with the pumpkin?
I put the warm pumpkin puree into mason jars — basically, it’s a way to “can” stuff without actually canning. I also do this all Winter with warm soups. Who needs to can anything?
I’ve only made two things so far:
Pumpkin Cocoanut Curry Soup
Basically pumpkin and coconut mile and warming fall spices, topped with pumpkin seeds –not the seeds from my pumpkins!
Healthy Pumpkin Custards
I still have a lot of pumpkin! I’ll probably make more pumpkin soup. Maybe some pumpkin chia pudding. Or maybe pumpkin brownies . . .
When I lived in VT (this is going back almost 30 years) I used to buy pie pumpkins and bake bread pudding right in there. I think I roasted them in the over first, then sliced off the top. Then you just mixed up the bread pudding and poured it into the pumpkin (of course removing the stringy stuff and seeds first) and cooked it until the bread pudding was set. So you’d get some cooked pumpkin with every bite of bread pudding! I used to eat that for breakfast.
It was a lot of work, not gonna lie. Luckily pumpkins keep quite well in the fridge for quite some time; I think we had them in there at least three weeks. I put it off until a time I knew I had the energy and the time to deal with it.
Will I get pie pumpkins next year if they’re offered? Not sure! I don’t think it actually saved us money, although maybe a little bit. My guess is I will though — home made is almost always better.
Have you ever tried to cook a pie pumpkin?
What is your favorite Winter squash?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.