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Which is Better: Fresh or Canned?

As I’ve been testing the recipes for my pumpkin cook book, I’ve been trying each recipe with both canned and fresh pumpkin. Some recipes, such as Baked Stuffed Pumpkin or Pumpkin Curry, require fresh pumpkin because the shell or chunks of pumpkin meat are used. However, a vast majority of pumpkin recipes use pumpkin puree, for which you can use canned.

Brooke Dojny writes in her cookbook, “Dishing up Maine,” that after much trial and error, she has found that “it’s really not worth the trouble” to use fresh pumpkin. “in fact, canned pumpkin is superior in some ways because the puree has been cooked down to a properly thick consistency.”

I have to agree with her. I’ve found no difference in flavor. And because fresh pumpkin puree often has a higher water content, I find I have to cook or bake recipes longer to account for it.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Libby’s pumpkin is far superior to the generic canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin isn’t that expensive, so splurge on the Libby’s*. And before you leave the grocery store isle, check to make sure you have the pumpkin, and not the pumpkin pie mix. The latter has the spices and sugar already added in.

* Libby’s is not paying me to say this. They probably don’t even know I exist!

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