While talking to a professional produce grower I was surprised to find out that canned pumpkin is not necessarily pumpkin. He lives in an area of the country where there is a large amount of the pumpkins and other squashes grown for major canning companies.
I envisioned fields of pumpkins all plump and orange ready to be picked and taken to a factory. Instead many pumpkin cans are filled with other winter squashes.
the kitchen Canned Pumpkin: what is it really made of?
It’s not illegal for companies to add and mix winter squashes to create canned “pumpkin”. What lesson can we learn from this? That there are better home garden options available for us if our goal is growing for preserving purposes.
One of the best pumpkin alternatives is a cushaw.
Cushaws are wanders. They have long vines but easy to adjust as they grow. The skin is much easier to cut into compared to a pumpkin or some of the the other thick skinned winter squashes. There is also a large amount of sweet meat. You can find heirloom seeds for cushaws and they are easy seeds to keep for the next year!
Have you noticed that recently you can’t find canned pumpkins in your local store? The stockpile of cans is very little. The last few years there has been some harsh weather that has destroyed the stockpile of canned pumpkin.
Amid pumpkin shortage, growers hope for a dryer summer From June 2010
That was last year. I had hoped that this year would be better. Until I noticed in January my local store was out of pumpkin again. So it’s up to us to grow and preserve our own.
Libby’s is not even available on Amazon!
This year I have bought butternut and buttercup squashes. They both have a lot of meat and a high sugar content. If I can get my second squash area up and running I will be adding some pumpkins for the kids and some cushaws.