Pumpkin puree

That Canned Pumpkin You Buy Isn’t Actually Pumpkin at All

You’re actually baking a squash pie this Thanksgiving

Ahh, fall is finally here. Now that the temperatures have cooled down a little bit it’s time to break out your flour, spices, and condensed milk, turn your oven up, and bake a pumpkin pie. The final ingredient is just that creamy, pure 100 percent pumpkin purée. Except for one thing: That purée isn’t really pumpkin at all. And it certainly isn’t the perfectly round, orange gourd that you know and love as fall décor.

Yes, 100 percent pumpkin purée is a lie. According to Epicurious, Libby’s Pure Pumpkin (the brand that makes up 85 to 90 percent of canned pumpkin sales worldwide) is actually a squash. While we know that jack-o’-lantern pumpkins aren’t edible, we thought perhaps Libby’s was the more commonly edible sugar pie pumpkin. But it’s not. Instead, it’s a specially-developed strain of squash called Dickinson. It’s more similar to butternut squash than it is to your average pumpkin.

So, how can they call a squash purée “pumpkin”? According to The Kitchn, it’s because the USDA is fairly lax on what it calls pumpkin and what it calls squash, since the two are so closely related. Like, technically a pumpkin is a type of squash.

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. Whether it’s a pumpkin pie or a squash pie you’re baking, it’s sure to be delicious. Especially if you follow one of these six classic and creative pumpkin pie recipes.