What’s Really in Canned Pumpkin, Anyway?

Canned Pumpkin

The debate surrounding the contents of canned pumpkin has caused quite a stir among chefs and food enthusiasts. Some argue that the puree inside these cans is not derived from pumpkin but rather from a different type of squash. So, what’s the reality behind this contentious issue?

What’s Actually Inside?

As the season for Halloween approaches and the air fills with the aroma of fall, many of us delve into carving pumpkins and indulging in pumpkin-flavored treats like pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, and even pumpkin ravioli. Yet, have you ever pondered whether the canned pumpkin you use for these delightful creations is truly pumpkin?

Is Canned Pumpkin Really Pumpkin?

The FDA’s lenient regulations allow a broad interpretation of the term “pumpkin” when it comes to food labeling. If a blend of field pumpkins and their close relative, Cucurbita maxima, is used, the product can be labeled as “pumpkin.” Additionally, some producers combine pumpkin and squash to achieve the desired consistency.

One major producer, Libby’s, has faced criticism for using a unique type of squash, leading to accusations of deceptive advertising about their “100% pure” pumpkin. However, from both a botanical and legal perspective, the distinction between pumpkin and squash is minimal. Ultimately, the taste and culinary use are what truly matter.

For instance, the Dickinson pumpkins used by Libby’s may not have the traditional appearance of a pumpkin, with their elongated shape and beige skin color. However, they undeniably qualify as pumpkins and are used to create a smoother-textured puree. Interestingly, these pumpkins undergo traditional breeding rather than genetic modification to ensure a superior taste and texture.

The Truth about Canned Pumpkin

In the end, the appearance of the squash in your puree doesn’t impact its delicious end result. Instead of getting caught up in the debate, simply savor the delights of pumpkin pie. Now that the mystery of canned pumpkin has been unraveled, perhaps it’s time to explore the secrets of other foods, such as the ingredients in marshmallows or the origins of vanilla flavor. It’s a fascinating culinary journey waiting to be discovered!

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