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Friday, September 16, 2016

Libby's Pumpkin is not what it seems, or so Joe Sevier would like us to believe

Y'all, I'm a self professed expert in pumpkins and I base this on my experience in growing them and using them exclusively for all pumpkin related baking since 2012.  So today, when I read this article saying that Libby's is not using 100% pumpkin, I started out feeling a little smug, but by the end I was just plain annoyed with the author because the article is peppered with inaccuracies.

The article starts by saying your Starbucks Pumpkin Latte is in fact a Squash Spice Latte because you've been conditioned by Libby's pumpkin cans to actually eat squash.  Hang on a second, isn't pumpkin actually a squash?  Also, the bulk of pumpkin flavor in ANY pumpkin recipe comes from a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger - or sometimes a combination of all in what is called a pumpkin pie spice - at most you might say Starbucks drink is a Spice Latte but it's called marketing to add pumpkin in the name!    

The next point this author tries to make is that when we think of pumpkins, we think of Jack-O-Lanterns at Halloween, he then says "which, while edible, isn't good for cooking".  Now this is simply not true!  In 2012, when I first started cooking with pumpkins, I cooked a big ol' pumpkin before I even knew about those small darling sugar pumpkins.  The taste was fine!  Once you add all those spices, it taste like the pumpkin I used to buy for years from Libby's!  I've since bought many sugar pumpkins and I've found some have a brighter orange flesh which is closer to what I see in the Libby's brand and probably have been conditioned to believe is more authentically pumpkin.  I recently cooked a big pumpkin from my mom's garden that had pale yellow flesh but I think it hadn't quite finished ripening because the flesh was more textured, less dense.  I can tell you the resulting pumpkin muffins turned out awesome and were gone in 24 hours!

Next the author tells us Libby's is using Dickson Squash:

"Libby's Pure Pumpkin—the quintessential American canned pumpkin brand—is responsible for 85% of canned pumpkin sold in the world. When we think of a pumpkin, we usually imagine either the rotund, bright orange specimen that we buy up at Halloween to carve into a jack-o-lantern—which, while edible, isn't good for cooking—or its smaller, tastier cousin, the sugar pumpkin. But instead of those pumpkin varieties, Libby's grows a proprietary strain of tan-skinned Dickinson squash. "
Again, pumpkin is in the squash family, eye roll,  and I believe that this version is in fact considered a pumpkin!  Check out this page that calls the Dickson Pumpkin incredible!  So does this mean the author's only claim lies in what he believes to be the consumer's assumed belief that Libby's is using Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins when in fact they are using a Dickson Pumpkin?  This is just ridiculous.  

I personally love working with real pumpkins and I will always advocate for working with whole foods when it's a dietary staple to save money but if you're not big into pumpkin and it's a once a fall thing to make a pie then buy the dang Libby's can! 

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