Pumpkins for Pumpkin Pie

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With the holidays fast approaching, there are folks out there who are making plans for pumpkin pies. Canned pumpkin is readily available but for a real treat, try a fresh pumpkin for your holiday pies.

But there are some rules to follow. Not all pumpkins are suitable for pies. If you end up with the wrong type of pumpkin your pie could turn out to be a watery mess! Pie pumpkins should be relatively small- 4 to 8 pounds. They have dense flesh and a high sugar content. You should ask for a pie pumpkin or a sugar pumpkin. Pie pumpkins tend to have a thicker skin and more flesh on the inside than a carving pumpkin. The flesh is less stringy and the color is generally darker but not always.

There are many pie pumpkins that are available for your baking needs. Names such as New England Pie Pumpkin, Baby Pam, Fairytale, Cinderella and Autumn Gold are just a few of the great pie pumpkins. Some pumpkins are suitable for both carving and eating such as Connecticut Field which is a very popular pumpkin and the only variety  used by Libby for their canned pumpkin. Spirit and Winter Luxury are also other popular varieties for both carving and pies. If you shop at a pumpkin patch or a farmers market you should be able to ask for a pie pumpkin. Most growers can tell you which pumpkins are best for cooking.

In my family, growing up my Grandma didn’t use all of the spices that are common in pumpkin pies today. Vanilla was her only flavoring and I can’t eat a standard pumpkin pie. In our family it’s homemade or do without!

So, if pumpkin pie is your thing, take a leap! Go out and buy a pumpkin for your pies. A real homemade-from-scratch pumpkin pie is truly something to be grateful for!