Pumpkin puree shortage?

Cloud Swift

Are you seeing a shortage of pumpkin puree? I've been trying to buy it for weeks at my store and another store I tried didn't have it either. I haven't yet done an all out search for it.

Frozen butternut squash cubes are available. Would that just pureed in a food processor be a suitable substitute or would it need to be cooked down a bit.

I do see it from some sellers on Amazon for absurd prices like $11 a 15 ounce can and higher.

I may have to make it from scratch if I want it.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

Trader Joe's here had a huge display of organic pumpkin puree last week...

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annie1992

Yes, I tried to buy it for the past month or so and there was none to be found anywhere. Suddenly, this week, there are pallets of the stuff in the grocery store.

The Libby company says that the wet spring delayed the planting, making this year's harvest a little late, but that there was plenty of pumpkin and it's just starting to hit the marketplace.

Annie

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Lars

I never shop for pumpkin this early. I had not even thought of making a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I might consider it this year. We'll be in Cathedral City at that time, and so I'll have to make sure that I have a pie pan there. I have several in L.A., and so I should probably take at least one with me when we go this week-end and leave it there.

I checked, and I noticed that I have two 9" Pyrex pie pans here, and so I can take one with me. I might have already taken a pie pan there, but I can always bring it back. I should take a muffin pan also.

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Marilyn_Sue

Yes, there has been a shortage of it in stores all summer here, or rather expensive if you find it. Aldi here now has it back in the stores for $.85 a can. I buy it by the case because that is part of Izzi's diabetic diet.

Sue

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agmss15

FWIW I make squash purée and freeze it. It works fine - I think the reverse would work fine. Depending on variety I sometimes let the purée drain a bit.


Squash except for the tiniest ones are more food than I want to make all at once. I also like to have it on hand for when my dog gets a gurgley belly (and lets me know by curling around my sleeping head).


One year I grew a for me bumper crop of squash. Although I had given away some I had a bunch on my porch curing. I underestimated a very cold night and woke up to a pile of rock hard frozen squash. They needed to be processed immediately or tossed. I chopped peeled steamed riced and froze maybe 30 or more squashes. A few got baked. The rest got composted. Despite my disappointment and then emergency work it was nice to have that winter.

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lovemycorgi z5b SE michigan

Yes, difficult to find here in Michigan, too! I was finally able to buy three cans at Busch's, but Kroger is still out. One of the workers told me to expect it at the very end of the month.

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foodonastump

Haven’t noticed it here on Long Island. My mom frequently bakes pumpkin bread for my kids and I’ve not had a hard time finding it any time she’s asked, since I started shopping for her.

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chloebud

As Carol mentioned, Trader Joe's has plenty. It seems for the past several years I've heard about a shortage but never noticed a problem. Always seemed to be plenty of Libby's on the shelves. I haven't looked for it lately since I have a couple cans in the pantry from last year.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

It is available in NY. The Libby's brand and the organic is on sale. I'm guessing it is now being stocked heavily everywhere.

One thing I've read recently, just speculation I believe, is to plan a bit more ahead than normal. Especially shelf stable/frozen items on your holiday grocery list. No shortages or crop failures that I've heard of. Just the fact that no one wants to go through the runaround of multiple store shopping. Even in a normal year I found if I hesitated, certain things may run out on the shelf and needs re-stocking but the employees are so busy keeping up it's frustrating to wait around. More single family meals, less travel, not as many large gatherings. That would be an up-tick in Thanksgiving meals rather than shared.

That is if you have a couple family favorite recipes that would break tradition and be missed. Crazy thing missing last year was frozen baby limas. I was fine without but did look when shopping throughout the holidays. (a childhood memory favorite)

We are more prepared than ever without really trying. Covid related obviously. Lots of bread bits and ends for stuffing/dressing in the freezer. Even a big batch of mirepoix frozen when I had three celery bunches, carrots, onions, and leeks last month. Lots of stocks, mushroom ragu, 3 pounds of butter, pecans...

All I really need is a bag of cranberries and a main. Turkey, duck, or rack of lamb? Not picky about that one. Seafood for Christmas/NewYears should be no issue.

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bcskye

The stores around here have been out for a couple of months. I use a tablespoon a day in the dog's food per the vet recommendation. Luckily, I had bought quite a few cans on sale last year. Used the last one for a pumpkin spice cake for our station's workers at the fish fry last Saturday. Like Sleevendog, I've been pretty well stocked on most everything even before Covid. If I can't find canned pumpkin, I'll buy fresh ones off a farm market stand and make my own to freeze.

Madonna

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

FWIW, I understand most, if not all of the canned 'pumpkin' we buy is actually Hubbard squash...

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plllog

OMG! Last year, I went to the fancy store on the other side of a major freeway to get frozen baby limas on the day before Thanksgiving because I couldn't find them near me, and it took me 2 hours to get home (not 20 minutes, or 30 with normal rush hour gridlock).

TJ's stocks canned pumpkin puree (good quality) year round so it's no surprise that they have it before other stores. People feed it to their dogs, and it's a big player in some popular vegan dishes. They always have a large amount on the shelves, usually on an end cap.

Fresh pumpkins are another story. I don't care about jack o'lanterns, but I like cooking fresh pumpkins. Ordering a "good" pumpkin is going to be difficult. I've had decent luck with avocados, but I think my standards for those are similar to everybody's.

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lisaam

My business uses a lot of canned pumpkin for our daily pumpkin muffins and it's not unusual for pumpkin to be in short supply right before the current crop is processed. We've had to shop high and low in some seasons past.

We've found that not all canned pumpkin is as good as Libby's.

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beesneeds

I don't really use tinned pumpkin stuff. That's in the baking area with pie filling stuff, yes? I'll have to keep an eye out for what's on the shelf and report back on that. I have noticed that in the baking area, flour is back, and good yeast, and there's sugar sales going on.

I'm a fresh user, and early squash, pie pumpkins, carving pumpkins and "seasonal color" squashes are coming in. Seasonal color squashes are almost always tasty huge squashes mixed with a few white or orange typical pumpkin meh.

Something a lot of folks don't know is that a majority of pumpkin puree and other tinned pumpkin products isn't really all pumpkin. Other curcurbit family squashes are commonly used in the mix too. Butternuts and to a lesser extent those huge seasonal color squashes make up a goodly about of the product.

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suzyqtexas

I had the same problem in Texas. I found some at Costco 6 cans for $7. Check the Aldi pumpkin, I found it has seaweed in it and is a weird consistency.

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plllog

I use fresh pumpkin for pies and lasagna, but canned for cake. TJ's is supposed to be actually orange pumpkins ("Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin, a proprietary variety of Cucurbita pepo, comes from a family-owned farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley"), but I read the Wikipedia article and the designation of cucurbita pepo does not actually preclude other varieties, and there's a disclaimer that says it could be other stuff if bad things happen.

IME, the flesh of a lot of similar fresh squashes taste just like pumpkin, whereas pie pumpkin is different from jack o'lantern pumpkin.

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arkansas girl

My friend gives it to his dog, a little each day. He has not been able to find it here in NE Ohio.

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colleenoz

We don’t have canned pumpkin in Australia ever but I substitute either butternut squash or kabocha (sp.?) squash, cubed, baked until soft then attacked with the stick blender.

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lovemycorgi z5b SE michigan

Target has it online for $1.99 a can and free shipping if you have a $35 order.

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chloebud

I find canned pumpkin puree to be just as good as fresh and more convenient. Not 100% sure but have always heard canned pumpkin is full of nutrients. IMO pie/sugar pumpkins are better than field or jack-o'-lantern pumpkins for cooking/baking since they're not as watery and have more flavor.



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plllog

Chloebud, it depends on the pumpkins. I use both. Pie pumpkins are for sure less watery if both are the same time out of the patch. If you have them sitting around awhile, both get drier, and at different rates. As to flavor, it also depends on the pumpkins. I'm really picky, though, and perhaps the whole field of jack o'lantern pumpkins is less flavorful, and I'm just better at picking the tasty ones. This is especially important for lasagna, which takes whole pieces of roasted flesh, rather than puree. For pie, it depends on the recipe. Some pumpkin pies I've eaten taste like spiced custard, rather than pumpkin. I've only made one from canned. I remember that it was fine, as pies go, but that we liked fresh better. I prefer jack o'lantern pumpkins for pie, though pie pumpkins are good in lasagna.

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chloebud

plllog, to be fair, it was long ago that I used jack-o'-lantern pumpkins, and it was only for baking. The results weren't good so I've just stuck with them as decor. Actually, the only time I've used jack-o'-lantern pumpkins for something savory was as soup tureens for parties on occasion.

Just thinking...the last time I used sugar pumpkin was to make these cute little pumpkin tarts (from Martha Stewart) for a Halloween party. These are tasty but equally so with canned pumpkin puree. There was really no notable difference. Must just be one of those preference things.

BTW, these tarts are so easy to make. I make and bake the tops way in advance to park in the freezer.

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plllog

Y'know, I'm not sure that the difference between sugar pumpkin and canned is that much different. The fresh might be sweeter, but that would disappear in baked treats that have sugar. And I do use the cans for pumpkin cake. It's great for that. Especially TJ's (compared to other organics).

You've brought to mind another thing that big orange pumpkins are good: Soup! I love pumpkin soup.

The trick to savory pumpkin dishes is to leave the pie spices in the pies. Sage, yes. Good pairing and classic. But not too often. Other flavors pair well with pumpkin, including red ones like mesquite, paprika and crush red pepper, and woody herbs like rosemary. I think tarragon (soft) is good too. Not basil. Oh, and black pepper and funky cheese. Other squashes are fine, but I like the heft and texture of big orange pumpkins. :)

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I prefer the sweetness and smoothness of winter squashes to pumpkin anyway. As I said above, the stuff in the cans isn't just the big orange pumpkins, but usually Hubbard or other winter squash. They're all related, of course.

This might explain why Libby's is so good, in some people's opinion:

https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-actually-in-your-canned-pumpkin-puree-ingredient-intelligence-69123

FWIW, I like to make lentil soup with red lentils, a little barley, chunks of winter squash, celery, onions and lots of curry powder. The celery & onion has to be cooked a long time so it's melting, and the squash needs to remain a little bit chunky.

And I like to bake winter squash with just butter and fresh rosemary - perfect flavor match, IMO.

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bcskye

Stopped at the JayC on my way home today and they had both Libby's and Kroger's pumpkin. Bought two of the Kroger's on sale for .79 each. If it's any good, I'll get more.

Madonna

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annie1992

As others have said, butternut squash can be substituted. I have lots of butternut squash in the freezer, but no pumpkin. I've made pies and bread with the squash and it's good, but Mother can tell the difference, LOL, go figure. She'll eat the pie, but she will remind me that it doesn't "taste right", and that I should go back to using pumpkin!

Annie

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Marilyn_Sue

I looked at my pumpkin from Aldi and it only lists pumpkin as the only ingredient and it is made in the USA. A product of the USA

Sue

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plllog

Sue, the issue is that there are a bunch of squashes with the same latin designation but which we call different names, that can all be labeled as pumpkin even if we say things like "hubbard" and "butternut". It can say "pumpkin" and still legally be any of those. Even TJ's website is coy and says that silly bit about the one kind of pumpkin from one farm with a ridiculous disclaimer wink wink that it could be other things.

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Marilyn_Sue

I was checking my Aldi can of pumpkin because someone said it may contain seaweed. It does not matter to me if it is pumpkin or some other squash. All it says on my can is pumpkin, no salt even.

Sue

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plllog

OH! Seaweed is a whole different story! I've never heard of that. I thought you were referring to the discussion above about which particular versions of the pumpkiny class of squash were in the can under the pumpkin label. The TJ's that I like just says "pumpkin" too. Seaweed? Is that a way of adding salt? I would think it would have too much of a seaweed flavor. Unless it's the agar (food gum used for stabilization) that comes from seaweed? Agar is tasteless and useful. I'd rather stir in or pour off separated out water, but in small quantities, there's nothing wrong with agar. I have some in my cupboard. Too much can monkey with your guts, being gum. Carrageenan (another gum) also comes from seaweed. But I'd think either would be listed by their right names or as "food gum". Come to think of it, if there is gum in the pumpkin, there may not be enough of it to meet labelling requirements.

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bcskye

Stopped at JayC again yesterday and they were again cleaned out of canned pumpkin. Panic buying?


Madonna

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Marilyn_Sue

I got another case of it from Aldi today.

Sue

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beesneeds

While out and about today I paid some attention, lol.

Meijer had a whole endocarp packed full of the stuff- name and store brand. I didn't see a spot for it on the shelf with the other pie fillings- don't know if that's not where it normally lives, or if all the store has got put out onto the endocarp.

Aldi had it too, and the only ingredient listed on the can was pumpkin.

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chloebud

Target didn't have a single can of Libby's but our regular grocery store was well stocked.

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cooper8828

My local store is out. I'll try again next week.

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annie1992

I was also at Meijer yesterday, a huge center aisle display of pumpkin in 16 ounce cans, lots of the big cans in the aisle with the pie fillings, both Libby and Meijer's store brand.

Annie

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bcskye

Saw today that one of the bloggers I subscribe to, Melissa Norris puts 1 1/2 cups of water in her instant pot, pops in a pumpkin, cooks it for, I think she said 13 minutes then lets it do a slow release. She said it practically falls apart when she takes it out. I think she said she removes the rind, seeds and strings then you could use a blender or immersion blender on it.

Madonna

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Cloud Swift

It seems to be coming back into stock here. My local Raley's let me order Libby and the store brand so they probably had both in stock at that point, but when we picked up our order, Libby was out of stock. I find the Libby has better flavor, but they only stock the big can in Libby and sometimes I just want a 15 oz can. At least I have something now.

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

I still can't get it (as of last Tuesday). Maybe this week.

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cloudy_christine

Giant had the small cans of Libby's yesterday but not the big ones. There was limit of four.

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bcskye

Stopped at Kroger yesterday to pick up more cranberries and they had pie pumpkins ten for ten dollars. I got two and they rang up at .68 each. Going to try Milissa Norris' Instant Pot method within the next couple of days.

Madonna

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lovemycorgi z5b SE michigan

Both of my local grocery stores - Kroger and Busch's - had the small cans of Libby's in stock this week. Not huge quantities, but a shelf-full at each store.

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Martha Scott

The shortage is OVER -- WM today had about 5 flats of pumpkin -- a couple of weeks ago they had none. It's as the industry said -- it just had to catch up with itself because of a wet cool spring.

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