Seasonal Foods To Cook In Your Instant Pot In December

When it comes to nutritious food, you can’t beat seasonal produce. Every month of the year brings with it a new offering of nutrient-dense veggies and fruits, as well as meat and seafood. Find out what seasonal foods to cook with your Instant Pot in December to lock in the most flavor and nutrients. 


What To Cook In Your Instant Pot In December

We have a series of posts featuring seasonal recipes with your Instant Pot for each month of the year. We’re covering the most common seasonal ingredients in the northern hemisphere and how they can be used in pressure cooking. Of course, not all seasonal foods are fit for this cooking method, so we’re choosing those that are great to prepare with your Instant Pot pressure cooker.

 

What’s In Season In December


Cranberries

Instant Pot Cranberries

Cranberries originate in America and come in various shades of faintly pink to red. There are white cranberries that have been picked a few weeks earlier before the pigments have a chance to deepen. Did you know that Wisconsin produced 60 per cent of the nation’s 8-million-barrel-strong cranberries, followed by Massachusetts? The cranberry harvest process is done by intentionally flooding the bogs or marshes. The dislodged berries float to the top of the bog and are gathered using big scoops.

When purchasing, the color should be bright and opaque versus pale or translucent. Spoiled cranberries will be soft and will not bounce. Cranberries do not like too much moisture, therefore, store fresh cranberries in the refrigerator in the bag they were purchased in or in a well-ventilated bowl. Since fresh cranberries only come once a year for a few weeks, you can stash extra bags in the freezer for later in the year.

Cranberries are packed with anthocyanins, Vitamin C, and more than two grams of fiber. One-half cup of raw cranberries has 25 calories. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits, helps with warding off (but not treat) urinary tract infections, and helps with kidney stones. (Check with your medical provider for more information.)



Pumpkin & WINTER SQUASH

instant pot chili pumpkin chickpea vegan

When you see people drinking pumpkin lattes, you know the seasons are changing. Pumpkins vary tremendously in size in shape. But don’t waste a huge pumpkin on your porch, make good use of it in your kitchen as they make great purées. Choose pumpkins that feel heavy for their weight, indicating denser flesh. Pass on pumpkins with black or mushy spots.

Most pumpkins can be stored for a long time in cool, dry conditions up to a month. Pumpkins and winter squashes are so versatile from sweet to savory dishes. Italian cuisine has tortellini and ravioli stuffed with pumpkin purée. They are great in vegetarian Thai curries or in a chili. Of course, we can’t forget to mention a traditional pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin has 245 per cent of your daily needs. Pumpkin is also high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C and potassium. It even has decent amounts of iron, calcium and protein. Pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) are super high in iron, manganese and a number of other key minerals; they also contain large amounts of Vitamin K and protein.

INSTANT POT Pumpkin & SQUASH Recipes


Beets

What To Cook In Your Instant Pot In June

Many people get their first taste of beets via canned or pickled variety but they are fantastic when cooked from raw. Note, fresh undercooked beets can be tough, fibrous, and taste earthy.

Seek out beets that feel heavy for their size, with no mushy or black areas. If sold with their greens attached, the leaves should be sprightly (not wilted) with no yellow spots. Every single part of the beet is edible — roots, stems, and leaves.

Beets play a huge part in Russian and Eastern European cuisine, the most famous dish is borscht (a beet-based soup). Beets are also used in baking, as both a food coloring and to add moistness. Beetroot can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, sautéed, and even made into chips.

They are can be paired with salty or creamy cheese (think feta, goat, ricotta), nuts and citrus. Beet leaves are excellent raw, boiled, steamed, and sautéed. Add the leaves to any recipe calling for spinach or chard. Beet stems are also delicious and can be cooked the same way you’d cook chard stems or bok choy; either boil in salted water until tender or sauté.

Beetroot can be stored loose in your fridge’s veggie drawer for at least two to three weeks, or longer.  Beet greens are delicate and should be cooked within two or three days of purchase; cut greens from the roots and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Beetroot is high in fiber, folate, and manganese, and is a decent source of Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. The greens, though, are really the nutritional powerhouse of the plant. They are super high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, riboflavin, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese. 

Beets RECIPES IN INSTANT POT

 

Bok Choy

STEAMED TOFU & BOK CHOY WITH GINGER GARLIC SAUCE 

Bok choy is a popular mainstay of Chinese-American takeout. A fully grown bunch, with white stalks and dark green leaves, is 8 to 11 inches tall. It is tougher and stringier than baby bok choy. Miniature size bok choy has dark ruffled leaves or they can also have pale green leaves. When purchasing, stalks should be firm, leaves should be perky and free of blemishes. Avoid anything bruised. Brown or yellow spot are signs of age.

Bok choy is a cool-weather crop that can’t take the heat. Miniature sizes should be used within three days while the larger ones can be used in about five days. Storing in mesh bags or in damp kitchen towels in the refrigerator will preserve its life longer. The stalks of bok choy take longer to cook than the leaves. It’s best to separate the bok choy and cook stalks first and then add the leaves.

Bok choy is a good source of  Vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. It’s great for people who can’t eat meat or dairy since it has Vitamin A, which can boost the immune system and has vision-strengthening beta-carotene. 

INSTANT POT RECIPES WITH BOK CHOY


 

Broccoli

Instant Pot Broccoli Steamed with Lemon Garlic

As a kid, didn’t you think broccoli looked like little trees? While they didn’t seem apetizing after they were cook, they were still fun to play with. Most people toss the stems and only eat the pretty tree-like part. But don’t toss the stems. Roasting softens and sweetens the stems.

Florets of the broccoli should be tightly closed and deep green. Avoid limp or yellowing broccoli. Keep moisture to a minimum in the refrigerator by loosely wrapping them in a plastic bag or dish towel, and then use within a few days. You can preserve them by separating the stalks from florets and parboil for three minutes, then shock them in an ice-water bath. After drying you can store in freezer bags. 

Broccoli is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. One cup of cooked broccoli has five grams of fiber, nearly four grams of protein, plus  Vitamins A and C, all at just 55 calories. It contains folate, iron, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids. It has a unique combination of phytonutrients doing anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and detoxifying work. It’s been studied for its potential in treating various degenerative conditions, skin damage, stomach ulcers, and adult blindness.

Broccoli RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


Brussels sprouts

Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Bacon & Garlic

Brussels sprouts resemble baby cabbages and are so versatility in recipes with their soft, sweet and earthy taste. When purchasing, look for compact heads and bright green. Avoid any with pinholes, that can be a sign of pests. Brussels sprouts are sold on and off the stalk.

Brussels sprouts will last in the refrigerator for about two weeks when stored on the stalk and about half that if separated from it. To freeze sprouts, blanch by dipping briefly in a pot of boiling water, shock in cold water, pat dry and freeze for up to a year. They are great raw thinly sliced in a salad or roasted. Be careful not to overcook Brussels sprouts. Too long on the stove and the sprouts will release a sulfur smell.

Brussels sprouts are high in Vitamin C and Vitamin K, which is valued for its anti-inflammatory properties. They are a good source of folate, manganese, Vitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, Vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Brussels Sprouts RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


 

Cabbage

What To Cook In Your Instant Pot In May: Cabbage

Cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K amongst other nutrients. It’s another vegetable high in fiber, which is why raw cabbage can sometimes cause a bit of flatulence. Nevertheless, it has many health benefits and research suggests that cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, may have protective effects against cancer.  

Cabbage is prepared and consumed in many ways from raw salads such as coleslaw to braised dishes such as cabbage rolls and cabbage soup. Pickling is one of the most popular ways of preserving the cabbage, creating dishes such as sauerkraut and kimchi. Cabbage is great for pressure cooking as it can withstand high temperatures quite well and for many dishes, it requires longer cooking times. Braised cabbage dishes, stews, and soups with cabbage are best suited to the Instant Pot, however, you can also use the Sauteé function to stir-fry thinly sliced cabbage in some butter and garlic for a simple side dish.

Cabbage RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


cauliflower

INSTANT POT WHOLE CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower is technically an edible flower. The head of cauliflower is known as the curd. Look for an even color and a tightly packed head. Cauliflower comes in purple, orange and green varieties, while white is the most common. Cauliflower will keep for a few weeks if kept dry and covered in the refrigerator. But if it is left uncovered it will start to wilt in a few days.

Roasting, boiling and braising are some of the ways to prepare cauliflower. It’s gained popularity due to providing alternatives to certain dietary restrictions. It’s a great option for vegan dishes or dairy-free dishes to make creamy soups. It’s a perfect substitute for rice for those with gluten intolerance. Cauliflower freezes well if you break the head into individual florets. One cup of raw cauliflower provides 85 per cent of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. It is also high in folates, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B-6.

Cauliflower RECIPES IN INSTANT POT

 

celery

INSTANT POT RISOTTO WITH CELERY & PEAS

Celery is such an essential base ingredient in for so many soups, stews, and sauces. When eating raw it’s tall, light green crisp stalks are perfect for dipping in sauces or with peanut butter. Celery seeds are also harvested and used as seasoning such as part of pickling spices. When purchasing look for unblemished, firm celery and keep it refrigerated until use. If celery becomes limp, trim its base and place it in a glass of water in the refrigerator until it is crisp again.

Celery has numerous health benefits. The stalks are a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins, and phytochemicals while Vitamin A can be found in its leaves. It is a popular ingredient for juicing raw since it has so many vitamins and minerals. 

INSTANT POT CELERY RECIPES

 

Greens: Collards, mustard, turnip

What To Cook In Your Instant Pot In May Collard Greens

It’s no news that leafy greens are good for you. Naturally gluten-free, all leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrates yet can be quite satiating when consumed with a little added fat, which helps with vitamin absorption. 

Collard greens contain substantial amounts of vitamin K and are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, and moderate sources of calcium and vitamin B6. Leafy greens are also high in iron and provide dietary fiber. Being low in calories and sugar, leafy greens are great for weight loss and healthy eating. 

Depending on the hardiness of the leaves, greens can be cooked in a variety of ways. Spinach and other thin-leaf green veggies are great raw, while tougher kale and collards are best cooked.  Instant Pot is great for cooking collard greens and kale as a side dish and you can add leafy greens to any stew, soup, curry, pasta or risotto you make in the pressure cooker. 

Collard Green RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


kale

INSTANT POT KALE & QUINOA PILAF (GLUTEN-FREE, VEGETARIAN)

It’s no news that leafy greens are good for you. We’re talking kale, spinach, and collards here. Naturally gluten-free, all leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrates yet can be quite satiating when consumed with a little added fat, which helps with vitamin absorption. 

Both kale and collard greens contain substantial amounts of vitamin K and are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, and moderate sources of calcium and vitamin B6. Leafy greens are also high in iron and provide dietary fiber. Being low in calories and sugar, leafy greens are great for weight loss and healthy eating. 

Depending on the hardiness of the leaves, greens can be cooked in a variety of ways. Spinach and other thin-leaf green veggies are great raw, while tougher kale and collards are best cooked.  Instant Pot is great for cooking collard greens and kale as a side dish and you can add leafy greens to any stew, soup, curry, pasta or risotto you make in the pressure cooker. 

KALE RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


 

Pomegranate

Instant Pot Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate Chicken)

The pomegranate is an ancient fruit and its cultivation quickly spread throughout the world. It grows on a small tree or shrub with beautiful red flowers. Pomegranates are usually about the size of a large orange or grapefruit, with thick, leathery skin. The US has dark red to reddish-brown skin, however, there are orange, yellow, pink, and cream-colored rind varieties. The inside of the fruit contains hundreds of arils containing the plant’s seeds that are red-colored, enclosed by a yellow or cream-colored astringent and inedible pulp.

When purchasing, look for pomegranates that feel very heavy for their size, with no black or bruised spots on the rind. They can be stored in the refrigerator for anywhere between one and six months. Storing them on the counter tends to dry them out. If they do dry out they can be used as decoration.

There are two basic ways to get to extract those juicy red seeds.  It can get messy and pomegranate juice stains everything.

  1. Whack-with-a-spoon method: Put a large bowl in the sink. Halve pomegranate horizontally through the blossom end. Holding one half of the pomegranate, cut side down, over the bowl, whack the rind with the back of a large wooden spoon. The seeds will fall out into the bowl. 
  2. Underwater method: Fill a large bowl with water. Cut the pomegranate into quarters. Submersing pomegranate quarters in the bowl, pull the seeds out with your fingers. The tannic pulp will float to the top, while the heavier seeds will sink.

Pomegranates work great in both sweet and savory dishes due to its balance of sweet and tart taste. Many Middle Eastern cuisines use them in dishes for that depth of flavor. The seeds are also beautiful for garnishing a plate. You can preserve pomegranates as jelly, molasses, syrup, or butter. 

This fruit is very high in Vitamins C and K and is a good source of folate, potassium, copper, and even iron. The antioxidant properties of pomegranate juice are so beneficial, specifically, polyphenols.

Instant Pot Recipes with Pomegranate


spinach

INSTANT POT CHICKEN & CORN SOUP WITH SPINACH

Raw spinach is 91% water, 4% carbohydrates, and 3% protein. A 100-gram (3.5 oz) serving provides only 23 calories, and spinach has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh, frozen, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, iron, B vitamins, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and dietary fibre.

Fresh spinach is sold loose, bunched, or packaged fresh in bags. Fresh spinach is packaged in air, or in nitrogen gas to extend shelf life but loses much of its nutritional value. While refrigeration slows this effect to about eight days, fresh spinach loses most of its folate and carotenoid content over this period of time. For longer storage, it is canned or blanched or cooked and frozen. Frozen spinach can be stored for up to eight months. 

Spinach doesn’t need much cooking but it works well both raw and well-cooked. It can be added to soups at the last minute or you can cook it longer in a stew so it incorporates into the sauce. We love it in Instant Pot risottos and pasta dishes, and it’s a great addition to vegan and vegetarian dishes.

SPINACH INSTANT POT RECIPES

 

Leeks

What To Cook In Your Instant Pot In June

Common leeks kind of look like a giant scallion. They have a straight, white stem that gradually becomes lighter green, making way to the dark, almost blue-green of the top leaves. Seek out leeks on the smaller side, one to two inches in stem diameter, three inches tops. Larger leeks tend to get woody and a bit tough. Leek greens should be very dark green with no yellowing or wilted spots. The white stem should be very white and firm with no black, mushy or discolored areas.

Leeks have a mild onion, sweet flavor. Most recipes call for only the “white and light green parts” of the vegetable, but the dark green leaves can be saved to use in stock making (veggie, beef, chicken, etc.).

Leek stems can be braised, grilled, roasted, fried, steamed, sautéed and used raw in salads. They also pair well with dairy products. Leeks will keep in your veggie drawer, wrapped in a paper towel, for at least a week. Don’t wash leeks before you refrigerate them, as this accelerates their decline.

The thing about preparing leeks is that they are really dirty, with gritty bits of sand frequently hidden in the layers that make up the stems. They have to be cleaned very thoroughly (good description of how to clean leeks, or here is a great video that shows two different techniques for cleaning the veggie). Leeks are very high in Vitamins A and K and are good sources of Vitamin B-6, folate, iron, calcium and manganese. They are also high in fiber and low in calories. Leeks are toxic to dogs and cats, so keep them (and their Allium relatives) away from your furry friends.

Leek RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


Mushrooms

instant pot mushroom soup

Edible mushrooms vary in size, shape and color. There are so many types around the world and so versatile in use for recipes. From the most common being the white button kind on a pizza to the large portabello kind that can be a vegetarian alternative to a burger. Look for fresh mushrooms without slimy, moldy or black spots. Fresh mushrooms don’t store well.  They can last three to four days.

While different mushroom varieties have slightly different nutritional compositions, most are quite high in riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin (Vitamin B3) pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), and also contain some minerals, like copper, selenium, phosphorous and potassium. They even have a bit of protein and iron. Mushrooms have been used medicinally by cultures all over the world. Shiitakes may be beneficial to the immune system and help lower cholesterol; button mushrooms have potent antioxidant properties; some hallucinogenic mushroom compounds may help alleviate depression. 

Mushroom RECIPES IN INSTANT POT

 

Potatoes 

What To Cook In Your Instant Pot In July

Is there anything better than hot french fries straight from the fryer and handed to you in a red cardboard container? Maybe not the healthiest choice, but definitely a guilty pleasure. Potatoes originated in the highlands of Peru. Then the Spanish were the first Europeans to encounter them in the 16th century in Columbia, and later the British Isles and possibly to India. By the 17th century, potatoes were critical in the Irish diet. But in the 1840s, potato blight struck Ireland, and a devastating famine was triggered which killed about a million Irish, and a million more emigrated to the US and other countries.

Potatoes are generally classified by color, texture and sometimes by shape. Some examples: russets (aka “baking” potatoes) tend to have a “dry” texture, red potatoes tend to be waxy or creamy, white potatoes tend to be creamy, yukons (aka yellow potatoes) tend to be a bit waxy and rich, purple potatoes tend to have a “dry” or “floury” texture, and fingerlings are finger-shaped or oval. Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with low humidity (a basement is ideal). Kept dry and in a dark place, most potatoes will keep for at least a month and up to three months or you can freeze cooked potatoes.

Potatoes are really one of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen. They can be baked, steamed, fried, pureed, mashed, stuffed, roasted, grilled and boiled. Fried potato dishes include the ubiquitous French fry, but also the classic American hash browns, Spanish patatas bravas, Swiss rösti (hash browns with an umlaut) and tater tots. Italians make potato gnocchi, Indians stuff potatoes into samosas and paratha, the French make potato gratins and pommes dauphine.  

The Irish mix cabbage into them or make potato pancakes. Germans make potato salad with bacon, onion, and vinegar; classic American potato salad has mayo and boiled eggs. Potato flour or mashed potatoes are also used in bread baking, donut making, and pastry dough, too.

Potatoes are actually pretty good for you. They are high in lots of vital nutrients, including Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and folate. Potatoes also have a fair amount of fiber, and even have good amounts of protein and iron.

Potato RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


Sweet Potatoes

Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes & Chicken

Most sweet potatoes are large and football-shaped, with a fat middle and tapering end. But they also come in a rainbow of colors, shapes, and sizes including orange, yellow, creamy white or even purple-magenta. After sweet potatoes are harvested, it can take up to eight weeks of curing and storage after harvest before sweet potatoes sweeten and develop the texture most are accustomed to.

Sweet potatoes can be stored for several weeks in a cool, dry, and away from light. Don’t store them in the refrigerator, as this accelerates their decline — they don’t like to be too cold or too moist. Sweet potatoes that get too warm tend to sprout and become shrivelled and mushy. Sweet potatoes are great because they can play any role in a meal from side dish to the main course to dessert. Since they can be baked, roasted, boiled, fried, grilled, mashed, or pureed.

Sweet potatoes are good for you, especially varieties with orange or purple flesh. They contain Vitamin A, necessary for eyes, immune system, and skin health, and is also a powerful antioxidant. Sweet potatoes also contain fiber, excellent amounts of Vitamins C and B-6, manganese, potassium, and several other vitamins and minerals. They are even good sources of iron and calcium. Sweet potatoes are also thought to be helpful in blood sugar regulation and have been used as a natural treatment against intestinal parasites because of Vitamin A (beta-carotene).

Sweet Potato RECIPES IN INSTANT POT


Zucchini & Other Squashes

Instant Pot Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini is mild which means, it goes nicely with garlic, tomatoes, leafy herbs, olives, roasted peppers, onions, and various cheeses. Zucchini can be sautéed, batter-fried, stuffed, grated, grilled, pureed, and roasted. Zucchini can go into sweet dishes, too for an added healthy appeal. Avoid the dull and bruised zucchini when purchasing.  

The zucchini is part of the extensive Cucurbitaceae family, which includes cucumber, watermelon and winter squash. Before Christopher Columbus brought squash seeds to Europe. Once in Europe, the Italians coined the big-boned relatives as Zucca and its more petite kin as zucchini. Not until the 1920s did Italian immigrants bring back zucchini to America. One cup of raw zucchini is just 18 calories. A rich source of Vitamins B-2, B-6, and C, potassium (great for blood pressure), zucchini also offers decent amounts of fiber and even a little bit of protein. 

Keep zucchini refrigerated until ready to use; wrap in paper instead of plastic, which creates moisture. Zucchini should be used within two or three days of purchase. Otherwise, zucchini gets mushy and moldy. Zucchini goes bad quickly. To keep it around a little longer (about three months), cut it into 1/2-inch pieces, blanch, and freeze. You can also slice it into thin rounds and dehydrate zucchini, or pickle it. 

Zucchini RECIPES IN INSTANT POT

 

SAVE THESE SEASONAL IDEAS TO PINTEREST

What To Cook In Your Instant Pot In December

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

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