Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

Calabaza Pura Pie, Anyone?

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A very pedantic gentleman next to me at the bar at The Senate a few weeks ago stated that commercially canned pumpkin isn’t actually pumpkin. My bullshit meter gave a mild blip, mostly due to what I know about food labeling laws. I asked how they could still label it pumpkin, when the can did not, in fact, contain pumpkin. He didn’t respond to my question, which made my bullshit meter whoop wildly. I dropped the topic.

This prompted me to dig through my cabinets for commercially canned pumpkin. This turned up. It’s 100% Calabaza pura. But what is Calabaza? It’s what’s going into your pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving. It is a gourd, but it is decidedly not pumpkin. This might explain why my home canned pumpkin is significantly different in color and taste from commercially canned pumpkin.

What is in the can? Not pumpkin.

Even on this Wikipedia page it states that most commercially canned pumpkin isn’t actually, pumpkin, but a mix of winter squashes. So, what gives with this labeling? Why is it acceptable to label this as pumpkin? I suppose the food processors are banking on people failing to notice the difference. What I don’t understand is how they are getting around the labeling laws.

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