If the assault of pumpkin spice everything in coffee houses and grocery stores hasn't made it clear, the almost-yearly canned pumpkin brouhaha will: The holidays are on their way. Last year's issue was a possible canned pumpkin shortage that never seemed to come to fruition. This year the pumpkin drama is even more intense. There's a rumor going around that the pumpkin inside canned pumpkin isn't really pumpkin.
Before we start making our holiday pumpkin pies, bread, cheesecake and more, let's clear up this misinformation.
Last month, a blogger wrote an article with an overly dramatic headline, "I Just Found Out Canned Pumpkin Isn't Pumpkin At All, And My Whole Life is Basically a Lie." She said 85 percent of canned pumpkin sold in the U.S. wasn't pumpkin, it's squash, and that Libby's (the company that makes most of the canned pumpkin) developed "a certain variety of squash that they grow, package and distribute to supermarkets across the country — all the while fooling innocent, trusting consumers into believing they’re eating a pumpkin."
This information spread like wildfire. It was all over my Facebook feed. Food & Wine reprinted the blog post on its website. Snopes, a site devoted to investigating urban myths and rumors, got involved and said this information is misinformation.
Here's why the blogger thought canned pumpkin isn't really pumpkin: The pumpkins that go into canned pumpkin don't look like the pumpkins she's used to seeing, the type of pumpkins we carve into jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween. According to Snopes, the pumpkins that Libby cultivates to use in their canned pumpkins are Dickinson pumpkins, a variety that is more oval shaped than round and has an outside skin color that's closer to the color of butternut squash than the traditional orange pumpkin. Still, they look like pumpkins, just much paler than what we're used to seeing.
Another things Snopes pointed out is that the Food and Drug Administration does allow a mixture of squashes to be used in canned pumpkin, but that Libby's, the producer identified in the blog post, does use pumpkin.
Unfortunately, the incorrect info is out there, being shared over and over on social media. The blogger who started the rumor confessed she was wrong a few days later in another post, but her original post stands without any clarification. Food & Wine still has the reprinted article up on its website, also with no clarification.
Rest assured, your Libby's canned pumpkin is real pumpkin. If you use another brand, and perhaps that brand does use a mixture of squashes, is really that big of a deal? Pumpkins are squash after all.
If you really are adamant that the pumpkin in your dishes comes from round, orange pumpkins, you can make your own. This video shows you how easy it is.