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Food We Tested Canned Pumpkin Against the Fresh Stuff. Here's the Winner.

19:45  08 november  2019
19:45  08 november  2019 Source:   tasteofhome.com

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Making pumpkin pie for the holidays? You're faced with two primary options: canned pumpkin or fresh. If you're like me, you opt for the canned variety every time. It's simple, comes in exactly the right proportion for so many pumpkin recipes and saves a lot of work. But on the other hand, scratch-made everything always seems to taste so much better.

a woman sitting at a table with a cake on a plate© Brianna Griepentrog/Taste of Home

It was finally time to settle the debate I have with myself every November: Is canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin better, and which makes a better pie?

What's the Difference Between Canned Pumpkin and Fresh Pumpkin

a bowl of food on a plate© Brianna Griepentrog/Taste of Home

Before I dive into how fresh and canned options taste, let's sort out what the difference is between them. While both options are made from 100% pure pumpkin (yep, even the canned stuff only has one ingredient on the label), there are key differences.

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Fresh pumpkin is made with a sugar pie or baking pumpkin—not the kind of pumpkin you'd use for a jack-o-lantern. These pumpkins are smaller with sweeter flesh. To make pumpkin puree, the foundation for most pumpkin recipes, you roast the pumpkin and then puree it in a blender or food processor. With this method, you control the texture of the pumpkin. Also, bear in mind that fresh pumpkin can create varying results depending on the pumpkin you choose; there can be different water and sugar content in every pumpkin, which can affect the flavor and texture.

Canned pumpkin is made of steamed, pureed pumpkin or a blend of pumpkin and other squashes. Because it's produced en masse, the texture, consistency and flavor tend to be universal.

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Testing Pumpkin Pie Made with Two Kinds of Pumpkin

To test fresh pumpkin puree against canned pumpkin, the Taste of Home Test Kitchen whipped up two pies using this highly-rated classic pumpkin pie recipe. I had a handful of pumpkin enthusiasts join me for a tasting of the two pies.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

a slice of cake on a plate© Brianna Griepentrog/Taste of Home

The fresh pumpkin pie definitely looked different than the pumpkin pies you usually see on the Thanksgiving treat table. It had a duller hue than the average pie and wasn't quite as visually appealing.

Slicing into this pie, though, was a real dream. I was able to pull out a perfect slice on the first try (a real feat). But the true test, of course, was the flavor. A bite of this pie was noticeably different than your standard holiday dessert. First off, the texture was much different. While the pumpkin was pureed, it did still retain some squash texture. A few of my colleagues likened it to apple sauce, and they weren't wrong. For some, this extra bite was a pro; for others, a distraction.

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As for the flavor, it was distinctively different. The spices really popped against the fresh pumpkin. The spice fans on the testing panel really appreciated this extra oomph of warmth. This being said, the pumpkin flavor itself wasn't very pronounced. This option is likely better for folks that prefer more pumpkin spice to pumpkin.

Score: 8.5/10

Canned Pumpkin Pie

a slice of cake on a plate next to a cup of coffee© Brianna Griepentrog/Taste of Home

This is what a classic pumpkin pie looks like: a gorgeous deep orange. Compared side by side with its fresh counterpart, everyone preferred the appearance of this pie.

But how did it taste? Just right. This pie was absolutely silky. It was creamier and sweeter—and no, no extra cream or sugar was added. The canned pumpkin also provided a more pronounced pumpkin flavor. The spices—cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and clove—all came through but were much more balanced in this version of the pie. This perfect balance between pumpkin and spice as well as the smooth texture made this a winner in the side-by-side test.

Score: 9.5/10

What's Better: Fresh or Canned Pumpkin?

a slice of cake on a plate© Brianna Griepentrog/Taste of Home

While the two pies both got good marks, the canned pumpkin did win out. The canned option had a more powerful pumpkin flavor and a silkier texture. While some of my colleagues preferred the apple sauce-like texture of the fresh, I can't say all that extra work of cleaning, roasting and pureeing a whole pumpkin is worth it, especially during a busy holiday season.

If you're a serious baker or really love pumpkin, trying your hand at a fresh version of this classic pie is a fun challenge, though I'd recommend sticking with the canned stuff in the long run.

And if you really love a good baking challenge, join our new baking community, Bakeable, where we release new baking challenges every month.

The post Is Canned Pumpkin or Fresh Better for Pies? appeared first on Taste of Home.

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