I've heard that canned pumpkin is healthier than fresh pumpkin. Is that true?

Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Not necessarily. Fresh foods generally have a higher nutrient content than do cooked or canned foods. But in this case, both fresh pumpkin and canned pumpkin are packed with nutrients, such as potassium, vitamin A and iron.

If you want to use fresh pumpkin, look for pumpkins without blemishes that are firm and heavy for their size. Whole pumpkins can be stored in a cool dark place for up to two months. If you use fresh pumpkin for bread, soup, pie or other recipes, don't throw away the seeds. You can bake them for a wholesome, crispy snack.

If you're looking for convenience, canned pumpkin without salt is a healthy alternative. Just check the Nutrition Facts label on the can so that you know what you're getting. Canned pumpkin products may be labeled as "pumpkin," "100% pumpkin" or "pumpkin pie mix." Canned pumpkin pie mix — which some recipes call for — can be much higher in calories than regular canned pumpkin.

Oct. 18, 2011 See more Expert Answers