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Canned Pumpkin is NOT Canned Squash: It’s Called Science
By Heath Shive
Every year, some writer thinks there is a pumpkin-conspiracy and publishes something like this corny article in Mental Floss: "Canned Pumpkin Isn't Actually Canned Pumpkin."
It's a lie.
As exciting as that might be – to attach paranoia to a pumpkin pie – here's the real science!
Pumpkin Pie Isn’t Squash, Jack-o-Lanterns Aren’t Zucchinis
Did you know that the classic orange pumpkin and the zucchini...are the same plant? They're both members of the species Cucurbita pepo!
But we don't call jack-o-lanterns "carved zucchinis," do we?
Canned pumpkin is primarily made with the Dickinson pumpkin. Libby’s brand of canned pumpkin is made exclusively of a variety of Dickinson pumpkin. That’s because the Dickinson pumpkin is the best tasting pumpkin. Pumpkin pies in the United States are overwhelmingly made from this cultivar.
Here’s the Real Science
The Dickinson pumpkin and the butternut squash are both members of the same species, Cucurbita moschata.
But that doesn't mean that they are both squashes!
Here’s another example.
Broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are all members of the same species, Brassica oleracea. But we don't say that sauerkraut is made of broccoli or that cole slaw is made from brussel sprouts!
And we don't say that poodles are Rottweilers (or vice versa), even though they're both from the same species.
The Dickinson pumpkin is a pumpkin! Just because its species has the butternut squash doesn't make the Dickinson pumpkin a squash...anymore than a poodle is really a Rottweiler. Or a jack-o-lantern really a zucchini. Or a cabbage is really a broccoli.
Scientific articles should be left in the hands of science-minded writers. Before blog writers and even trivia-magazines like Mental Floss go to print, they really owe their ethical best to check the facts!
It’s called Science. Science – like making a pumpkin pie – is best when you do it correctly.
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Hello! My name is Heath Shive, content manager at ScholarFox. I'll be the author of most of the blog posts. I'm a former geologist and currently a freelance writer. The world is complex and seemingly crazy. Good! Because when you love to learn, you'll never be bored.