Canned pumpkin probably isn’t what you think it is.

So, why not just call it like it is?

Nothing says autumn like the sight of golden leaves, oversized sweaters, and hefty orange pumpkins. We set them on our doorsteps to woo fall, carve them up for Halloween decor, toast their seeds, and puree their insides into the quintessential pie of Thanksgiving. Would a pumpkin by any other name taste as sweet? Yes, it turns out.

Your can of 100 percent pumpkin puree is lying to you. According to FDA labeling laws, food producers are not required to distinguish between varieties of squash and field pumpkins in their products. This is because members of the cucurbits family—aka gourds, squash, pumpkin, and zucchini—are very similar in taste and texture, so differentiating between squash and pumpkin pulp is basically impossible.

Who among us hasn’t felt the pangs of betrayal when we found out that our pumpkin-spice lattes were actually pumpkinless? While the deceptive flavor of pumpkin spice is uncanny—it’s an almighty blend of ground ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg—the taste and appearance of squash proves to be the best doppelgänger. It mimics pumpkin so closely that you can’t tell the difference when looking right at it in the can. Though some pumpkin products contain a mixture of the two gourds blended together, others are pure squash.

So, why not just call it like it is? For starters, there are countless types of squash that vary dramatically in size, shape, and color—making it difficult to choose one to represent them all—while pumpkins are more easily standardized. Then there’s the history and folklore behind pumpkins that squash cannot compete with. Pumpkins are symbols of harvest, Halloween, and pure magic. If Cinderella’s enchanted pumpkin coach had been crafted from a squash, things might be a lot different today.

Beyond aesthetics, does the pumpkin even matter? This time of year, you can get practically anything you want made with the spirit of pumpkin spice, including body lotion, vodka, chips, candles, and dog treats, with nary an actual pumpkin to be found. We discover that after Starbucks went to all that trouble to ensure your latte has real pumpkin in it, surprise—it’s actually squash.

The proverbial #PSL rug has been pulled out from under us yet again, but now at least we know our pumpkin-themed fantasies were never rooted in reality. The emperor has no clothes; the pumpkin puree has no pumpkin. The great and powerful Oz was just a man behind a curtain, and the true leader of the pumpkin cult is actually a squash. If authenticity is what you’re after, order yourself a sweet, steaming squash-spice latte and take comfort that at last you’ve found the real thing.


McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

Keep Reading Show less

For over 20 years, our country has perceived itself as more divided than united, and it's not getting better. Right after the 2016 election, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 77% of Americans felt the country was divided on the most important values, a record high.

The percentage of Americans who agree that we disagree got higher. During the 2018 mid-term elections, a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 80% of Americans felt the nation was "mainly" or "totally" divided.

We head into the 2020 presidential election more divided than ever. A new poll from USA Today found that nine out of ten respondents felt it was important to do something about the conflict in our country. We can't keep on living like this forever.

Keep Reading Show less
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less