SEATTLE -- Even if the can you used to make it says 100% pure pumpkin, that pie you are serving your loved ones still probably doesn't have an ounce of actual pumpkin in it.
Libby's company makes canned fruits, meats and veggies. It tells The Wall Street Journal it produces 80% of the canned pumpkin filling sold in the US. Canned pumpkin is the number one way American's make pumpkin pie.
However the 'pumpkin' used by Libby's isn't the iconic bright orange field pumpkin carved by millions on Halloween. Instead, Libby's uses Dickinson pumpkins which -despite the name - are squash and not pumpkins.
If you have ever tried to bake a pie from actual field pumpkins you know why they are so rarely used. They are stringy, watery and bland. The yellowish gourd used by Libby's is soft, luscious and rich in flavor.
So how can Libby's claim their canned item is 100% pure pumpkin?
The Food and Drug Administration has been turning a blind eye since the 1930s. The FDA tells the Journal anything with golden-flesh, sweet squash or a mixture of the two can be called pumpkin on a label.
To be clear there are a few hardy purists out there who use real field pumpkins for real pumpkin pie. However those folks are rare because it's such a big risk and it's so much work.