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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.
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
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.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.
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. I had a handful of pumpkin enthusiasts join me for a tasting of the two pies.
Fresh Pumpkin Pie
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(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.
Canned Pumpkin Pie
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——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.
What's Better: Fresh or Canned Pumpkin?
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 atis 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,.
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Is Canned Pumpkin Better Than Homemade? Here's What the Pioneer Woman Says. .
In a recent interview, Ree Drummond—aka The Pioneer Woman—said she prefers canned pumpkin over homemade. Here's the scoop. The ingredients the Pioneer Woman can't live without.