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FYI, Your Canned Pumpkin Is Probably Butternut Squash And IDK How You Feel About That

All pumpkins are squash, but not all squash are pumpkins.

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It's that stuff you buy because you promised to bake the pie for Thanksgiving, but don't wanna go through the million-hour process of skinning, baking, mashing, pureé-ing, and spicing an actual pumpkin.*

*Or doing whatever you do to make pumpkin pie filling. I wouldn't know, I buy the goddamn canned stuff like everyone else.


And the USDA is 100% and totally okay with squash invading your canned pumpkin. It's even written in their super fascinating doc (from 1957!) about canned pumpkin and squash regulations.

USDA / Via

The text says, ""Canned pumpkin and canned squash is the canned product prepared from clean, sound, properly matured, golden fleshed, firm shelled, sweet varieties of either pumpkins or squashes by washing, stemming, cutting, steaming and reducing to a pulp."

BuzzFeed reached out to the USDA to see if the doc has changed at all since 1957, but other than a new grading system for canned veggies that was introduced this year, not much has changed.

Well ... technically pumpkins ~are~ a kind of squash. Pumpkins and squash varieties can be so closely related that they're interchangeable, to your taste buds, at least.

Pumpkins are part of the ~herbacious vine~ squash/gourd "Cucurbita" genus, which is part of the bigger squash/gourd "Cucurbitaceae" family which also includes watermelons (!!!), cucumbers (???), and loofahs. (?!?!?!?!?!) (There’s also something called a squirting cucumber but I would leave your safe search on for that one).

Basically, all pumpkins are squash, but not all squash are pumpkins.


Still, if squashes and pumpkins are basically the same thing, why not just use pumpkins?

I asked Wendy Lopez, MS, RD, and Co- Author of 28 Day Plant Powered Healthy Eating Cookbook this question, and she said that "... people use butternut squash and other types for pies because the usual pumpkin isn't very tasty, sweet, or easy to handle in the kitchen." So basically, your traditional Halloween pumpkin is great for carving, but not the best for cooking.