If you’re planning on baking a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year ― which, you really should be ― then we bet you’re going to pick up a can or two of canned pumpkin. While some folks might take the challenge and make their own pumpkin puree, most like to go the Ina Garten route and stick with canned because it usually tastes better. (The fresh stuff can be too watery ― and sometimes just bland.)
But which canned pumpkin is the best buy?
If you think they’re all the same, you couldn’t be more wrong. The folks at Cook’s Illustrated tested three popular brands ― Libby’s, One-Pie and Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin. Each canned pumpkin was tasted plain, baked into a cake, and baked into a pie.
The results were strikingly different.
One canned pumpkin was pale yellow instead of beautiful orange. One was too fibrous. And the other, well, that one was just right. The reason the same product can taste so different is because while they’re all made with pumpkin, they’re actually produced from different varieties ― or in different climates ― which affects not only how fibrous the flesh is, but also how sweet it tastes.
So what should you be buying this year? Libby’s, no question. Libby’s won the taste test because it had the silkiest consistency and a subtle sweetness. It’s made from Dickinson pumpkins, which are praised for their natural sweetness and tender flesh. These qualities make for killer pies and fluffy cakes. It’s no wonder that Libby’s makes 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkins.
Head on over to Cook’s Illustrated for more information on how they conducted their taste test ― and how each canned pumpkin fared when baked into pie and cake.
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