Each year, families visit the local pumpkin patch to choose the ideal candidate for carving into a jack-o’-lantern. For the purposes of cooking and baking, small “sugar” pumpkins are also selected, with a two-pound pumpkin being about right for making an average size cake, pie or side dish. If you’ve ever used fresh pumpkin for making a recipe, you already know that the seeds and fibers must first be removed from the pumpkin before its flesh can be cooked, cooled and mashed for use. While I do enjoy working with fresh pumpkins most of the time, there are occasions when opting for the convenience of canned pumpkin just seems like a good idea. As long as you choose a pure pumpkin purée product, with no other ingredients listed on its label, canned pumpkin will be virtually indistinguishable from fresh in your recipe. In addition, in recipes calling for pumpkin purée, sweet potato purée may be substituted. Many folks have mistakenly picked up a can of pumpkin pie filling thinking it was the same as pumpkin purée, but the two are neither the same, nor interchangeable, so be sure to know what you are buying when making your selections at the store. Today, you’ll see some of the most popular pumpkin/sweet potato recipes to have run in this column. If you’ve not enjoyed them before, why not make this season the time to give one, or all, of them a try?
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.