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The Best Pumpkins for Baking and Cooking - Ingredient Intelligence

The Best Pumpkins for Baking and Cooking - Ingredient Intelligence
From The Kitchn - October 28, 2017

While baking with pumpkin can be as easy as going to the grocery store and buying a can of pumpkin pure, what if you were feeling ambitious and wanted to do the whole process yourself, starting with a whole pumpkin? Not all pumpkins are created equal and work well in cooking and baking, so here is a guide to help you pick and purchase the right ones.

What makes a good cooking and baking pumpkin?

Those big pumpkins you see at the pumpkin patch for carving into jack-o'-lanterns look appealing, but they are the worst for cooking and baking. While yes, they are edible and you can cook with them, they are very stringy, bland, and watery.

The best pumpkins for baking and cooking with are sweet, flavorful, and have smooth-textured flesh. In fact, pumpkin pure manufacturer Libby's breeds their own Select Dickinson pumpkins for their extremely smooth texture.

Read more: What's Really in Your Canned Pumpkin?

Which pumpkins do I choose?

When shopping for pumpkins, look for the ones usually generically labeled "sugar pumpkins" or "pie pumpkins." Some specific names are Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, New England Pie Pumpkin, Lumina (which are white), Cinderella, and Fairy Tale. Cinderella and Fairy Tale pumpkins have hard, thick skins but still have delicious flesh inside.

Choose pumpkins between four to eight pounds, and do not worry if the outside looks a little dullas long as you do not see any big bruises or soft spots, it's fine. Pumpkins have a long shelf life and can keep for months at cool room temperature.

And if only the big carving pumpkins are available, choose a winter squash like butternut squash instead for the best results.

Read more: The Best Squash for Pumpkin Pie Is ... (Hint: It's Not Pumpkin)

Preparing Whole Pumpkins

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