Two years ago, farmers were warning of a shortage of canned pumpkin. Those of us charged with preparing Thanksgiving meals rushed to stores to scoop up the offerings. The shortage, caused by too much rain falling on U.S. pumpkin patches, never really materialized, although the scare was enough to leave some grocery shelves bare. This year, we decided to stock up early and had no problem finding plenty of pureed pumpkin. We bought 12 brands of pure pumpkin and asked our judges to weigh in on how they looked and tasted. All were canned with the exception of one brand sold in a small carton. Admittedly, tasting pumpkin without brown sugar or other baked-in flavors was no cakewalk. But judges were intrigued by the varied colors, textures and tastes of the brands.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent