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Oct 16, 2007 09:11 AM

Pumpkin puree in a can vs homemade puree

Is there a significant difference in taste?
I am trying to make a pumpkin pie.

If I do make a real pumpkin puree using a real pumpkin , is there a specific type of pumpkin I should use?

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  1. There are actually pumpkins called "pie pumpkins" that give you sweeter, softer flesh. It's been my experience that if you cook your own pumpkin puree it has more water than canned puree, which could affect a pie recipe. There is a definite difference in taste, but it's a matter of personal preference whether the extra work is worth it to you.

    I'm all for cooking fresh pumpkins and winter squash for eating or as a pureed side dish, but for pumpkin pie I just go with the canned Libby's stuff (canned pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling). It's easy and there's a recipe right there on the can. It's not "from scratch" like going with a fresh pumpkin, but at least it's also not a storebought pie.

    1. Most canned 'pumpkin' is actually squash, for what it's worth... there's not much difference in taste between pie pumpkins and butternut or other winter squash.

      It can be kind of a pain preparing fresh pumpkin or squash, and I've had a problem getting all the lumps out - probably not cooking it enough - but I think it tastes much fresher than the canned product.

      1 Reply
      1. I think it really depends on what kind of committment you are willing to make.

        It takes a bit more than an hour to roast a pumkin. After that its a scrape into the blender or food processor and its done.

        I've made a lot of pumkin pies from the can and few people notice that it isn't fresh pumkin. Some people even prefer canned pumkin to fresh. I think when working with pumkin pie, fresh spices make the big difference.

        I am using fresh more because I want to reduce my carbon footprint and support my local farmers, but I wouldn't hesitate picking up a can of pumkin to make a pie.

        1 Reply
        1. re: adventuresinbaking

          It's not quite that simple, in my experience. I find that I've had to drain the water out of the pumpkin after roasting, which takes ages. Otherwise, the puree is too watery. I did this a few times because I can't easily find canned pumpkin where I live. Luckily, I finally did find a shop that sells it and I'm going there soon to stock up!

          Good for you supporting local farmers! That's one good reason to make your own.

        2. I've made both ways. I think that canned is just fine. I do enjoy the fresh too. I have never done a blind taste test, so i don't know which I truly prefer.

          For the fresh, I use a sugar pumpkin, roast halves upside down until very soft (needs to be super soft), scoop into a food processor and puree it until it is very smooth - it takes awhile. Then scoop into a cheescloth lined colander and let drain for a few hours.

          I personally prefer other uses for pumpkin, so if it is pie and I don't have a pumpkin I need to use, I'd go for canned.

          1. Libby's canned is 100% pumpkin...nothing else. It's one of the handful of products (like canned tomatoes when fresh are out of season) that I think is better canned than fresh (for puree). I tried the homemade route once...and found that it just wasn't worth the time and there really wasn't a lot, if any, difference in flavor.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ccbweb

              I totally agree with this. I just don't think you can get a puree from a pie pumpkin that is as smooth, as flavorful, and as dry as it is from a can....meaning a can of pure, solid-pack pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. Canned pumpkin is one of the few foods that is actually better than the fresh product, IMHO anyway.

              1. re: cookingschool

                so you buy a pumpkin in a can and not a pumpkin puree to make a pie?

                1. re: Monica

                  Sorry I wasn't clear. The canned product I'm referring to is pure solid-pack pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and may contain other additives. It is the canned pumpkin pie puree that is superior to making a pumpkin puree from a fresh pumpkin.

                  1. re: Monica

                    No, it's puree in the can. It's also referred to as "solid pack pumpkin" because there's nothing else added, so it's just a "solid" can of pumpkin.

                2. re: ccbweb

                  I think there is a lot of difference in flavor, but fresh is more subtle than canned.