Pumpkin spice and everything nice. That’s what fall is made of. Or is it? A viral article titled “I Just Found Out Canned Pumpkin Isn’t Pumpkin at All, And My Whole Life is Basically a Lie” shocked pumpkin lovers when it claimed canned pumpkin was actually squash, not pumpkin.
Naturally, pumpkin lovers were caught off gourd with the news. This didn’t seem logical, as they imagined troves of pumpkins basking in the sun in the pumpkin patch at the farm. It only made sense that pumpkin puree would come from pumpkin patches as magical as the ones where you walk every fall to find your jack o’ lantern.
It seems, however, that the viral news about pumpkin gate is only partially true. Even though canned pumpkin is pumpkin, it’s probably not the kind that comes to mind when you think of your fall bucket list.
Canned Pumpkin Is Actually Pumpkin
Despite what many people believe, canned pumpkin puree is actually pumpkin. However, it’s not your typical bright orange jack-o’-lantern type, also known as field pumpkins.
Instead, canned pumpkin is usually made from Dickinson pumpkins or Dickinson squash. There’s a saying that beauty is in the pie of the beholder, and the Dickinson squash is no exception. A pie pumpkin heirloom and the go-to pumpkin for many bakers and chefs, this quirky gourd boasts some serious squash goals.
In contrast to field pumpkins, Dickinson pumpkins are uniformly smooth and tan (think like a butternut squash, but rounder). As well as looking different, the taste also differs, which is a good attribute. Contrary to field pumpkins, Dickinsons are among the most beloved varieties for pumpkin pie-making due to their delicious, dense flesh.
Furthermore, they are luscious, creamy, and naturally sweet, similar to butternut squash (they are in the same family, after all). In addition to their rich taste, Dickinson pumpkins have a low water content, making them an ideal baking ingredient.
Despite its unofficial mascot of the fall season status, field pumpkins are watery, stringy, and flavorless. As the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.