How to Choose the Perfect Pumpkin for Pumpkin Pie
A recipe is only as good as the ingredients used in it, and this especially goes for recipes that not only taste good but also hold memories like the classic pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is made in a pie crust with a pumpkin-based, spiced custard like mixture and is known as a symbol of the fall harvest, most often being made in the fall and winter months.
Although from person to person you may get a different variation of this timeless favorite, pumpkin is the one ingredient you will never see omitted. Although there are easier methods of making pumpkin pies nowadays such as buying canned pumpkin, most will often tell you that using fresh pumpkin is best.
However, you cannot just buy or grow any kind of pumpkin to use for making pies, because the types you see being sold for jack-o-lanterns aren’t meant for making pies because they are stringy, watery, and don’t have much flavor. So how do you know which pumpkin to choose?
Come with us as we take a look at which particular pumpkins you should consider, as well as how to find the best pumpkin for pie making if you want to make the best pumpkin pie ever.
The New England Sugar Pie Pumpkin
The New England Sugar Pie Pumpkin is a smaller pumpkin that usually weighs around two to five pounds and is known for its fine flesh that has a higher sugar content than larger pumpkins, which makes it an excellent choice for a pie.
Baby Pam Pumpkin
The Baby Pam Pumpkin is one of the best pumpkins that you can use to make a pie according to many, and because of this it is one of the most sought after as well, sometimes making it hard to find. This pumpkin variety only gets to around four or five pounds and has that high sugar content perfect for pie.
Baby Bear Pumpkin
Baby Bear Pumpkins are decorative as well as great for making pies. They are a deep orange in color, have large stems, and are half the size of other pie pumpkins at two and a half pounds, and have a more unique shape than its fellow pumpkins. Because of its small size, it yields a higher sugar content.
Dark orange Spookie Pumpkins come in at around six pounds, up to eight inches around, and their rich, fine textured flesh is sweet and extremely flavorful, making them yet another great pumpkin pie choice.
The Triple Treat Pumpkin
The Triple Treat Pumpkin is called such because it can not only be used in pies, but the deep orange flesh can also be used for carving and their seeds are delicious whether eaten raw or cooked This bright orange pumpkin weighs in at up to eight pounds and can get up to nine inches around.
Orange Smoothie Pumpkin
The Orange Smoothie Pumpkin has a smooth, dark orange skin without the ribs you see on other pumpkins that makes it ideal for not only pie making but also for decorative and fun purposes such as pumpkin painting. They weigh in anywhere between five and eight pounds.
The Cinderella Pumpkin
The Cinderella Pumpkin is a French heirloom variety pumpkin that has been cited by many cooks as the gourmet pumpkin with a flesh like custard that tastes sweet yet mild. However, these flat, deeply-ridged pumpkins can get rather large at 25 to 35 pounds.
The Dickinson Pumpkin
The Dickinson Pumpkin isn’t your average pumpkin when it comes to its shape and skin color, as it more resembles a pale, oblong butternut squash with flat ribs and thick, orange flesh that is sweet and of high quality that makes it an amazing choice for pumpkin pie. Named after its original grower, Elijah Dickinson, he brought the seeds to Eureka, Illinois, from his home in Kentucky, not realizing that he had what would be called “million dollar pie” seeds in his pocket.
The Small Sugar Pumpkin
The Small Sugar Pumpkin is regarded as a great choice for making pumpkin pies that gets to about 10 inches around, weighs around five to eight pounds, and has a deep orange-yellow skin and is described as being a fine-grained, sweet, sugary pumpkin.
The Early Sweet Sugar Pie Pumpkin
Last but not least, the cute little dark orange Early Sweet Sugar Pie Pumpkin is another wonderful consideration for making a great pumpkin pie with its sweet, flavorful flesh. It weighs in around six to eight pounds and is great for not only pies but also soups, canning, and even jack-o-lanterns if you’re so inclined.
Finding the Best Pumpkin for Your Pie
Now that we’ve gone over the ten best pumpkins to use when you make a pumpkin pie, what should you look for when it comes to finding the perfect pumpkin to make a pie? In order to choose the best pumpkin for pie making, these qualities are what you should be looking for:
- The pumpkin shouldn’t have any soft spots or bruising
- The pumpkin should be the same color all the way around; avoid pumpkins that look moldy or discolored
- Make sure that the stem is intact, and make sure it’s dark green rather than brown in color
- Look for a pumpkin with smooth-textured flesh
- Look for pumpkins with generic labels such as ‘sugar’ and ‘pie’ if you can’t find specific names like the ones above
- The ideal pie pumpkin usually weighs between four and eight pounds, because when they are smaller, they yield a higher sugar content
It might seem like a lot of work, but when it comes to choosing the perfect pumpkin for the perfect pumpkin pie, the effort you put into looking for and preparing these pumpkins will be well worth the reward when you or your loved ones take that first bite and say, “Wow, that’s the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had!” So if you decide to make your pumpkin pies from scratch this year, keep our tips and this list of the best pie pumpkins on hand for reference.