Why Your Pumpkin Pie May Have No Pumpkin

Woman preparing pumpkin pie for holidays
Photo by Lordn / Shutterstock.com

The piece of pumpkin pie that looks so delectable every Thanksgiving might not have so much pumpkin in it after all.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, such news can actually be a good thing.

Consumer Reports notes that even if your favorite brand of canned pumpkin promises it is “100% pumpkin,” such assurances might stretch the truth.

The Food and Drug Administration allows producers of canned pumpkin to use field pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) or certain varieties of firm-shelled, golden-fleshed, sweet squash (Cucurbita maxima) — or mixtures — without mentioning the other squash on the can label.

But before bemoaning this culinary bait-and-switch, it’s important to know the facts. The FDA notes that there is nothing nefarious about using squash in canned pumpkin products. For example, sometimes producers mix field pumpkin with other golden-fleshed sweet squash so the finished product has a better consistency. CR also notes that other golden-fleshed squash are sweeter than pumpkin.

And according to CR, canned pumpkin can offer unexpected advantages:

“Nutritionally, you might be better off with canned pumpkin than with fresh cooked: One cup of canned has more carotenoids and fiber (7 grams), plus about a fifth of your daily iron needs.”

So, this is a case where a canned food might beat its fresh counterpart. But not necessarily.

Writing at the Mayo Clinic website, registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky reminds readers that while canned and fresh pumpkin are both rich in nutrients, fresh foods generally have more nutrients. And as a bonus, the fresh foods are free of salt and other additives that you might find in some types of canned pumpkin.

Either way, whether you choose fresh pumpkin or a canned variety, you likely are getting some important nutrients in each forkful of your pastry.

Just steer clear of “pumpkin pie mix.” CR notes that it often is packed with added sugars — up to 48 grams per cup. And that does not count the sugar that many people add when making pies at home.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, some people are modifying their Thanksgiving plans. But one thing has not changed — the opportunity to save a little cash if you do some advanced planning. For more, check out “7 Ways to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Most Popular
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages

With bipartisan support, this bill could help millions of workers and retirees boost or conserve their retirement savings.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.