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Sep 22, 2009 07:15 AM

Canned pumpkin shortage [moved from Boston board]

Does anyone know why the shelves where the canned pumpkin is supposed to be are dead empty in every grocery store I've been trying lately? It's Fall. I'm ready for some pumpkin bread, or pie, or anything, but I can't find canned pumpkin anywhere, and the clerk said he hadn't been able to get it for months. Does anyone know what's causing it, and will it reappear before Thanksgiving? Because that would be just tragic if it weren't.

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  1. I'm down here in SWFL and saw your thread title...too weird because we had a breakfast gathering here at our office today and the person who baked muffins said she wanted to make pumpkin muffins but could not find any canned pumpkin at 2 different stores she tried!!! She made blueberry instead (fabulous with lemon zest!)...but wonder what the deal is...?

    1. There is a canned pumpkin shortage this year. Bad weather from last year is the cause. You should see more on the shelf before Thanksgiving.

      1. Canned pumpkin may be in short supply but piles and piles of those big orange globes are showing up around here. Preparing pumpkin for baking is dead easy and tastes much better than canned.
        Wash the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cube. Bake at 350 degrees until fork tender. Scoop the flesh off the rind. Cool, drain if necessary. Puree and pack in heavy duty plastic bags or in plastic containers and freeze. Sometimes after I puree it, if it seems too runny, I'll pour it into a triple cheese cloth lined colander and allow it to drip for awhile before packing.

        10 Replies
        1. re: morwen

          Those huge Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins are not meant to be cooked -- they yield a watery, stringy mess. Even the little pie (or "sugar") pumpkins produce results that very few people can pick out from good canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling).

          1. re: pikawicca

            YMMV, every year I make pumpkin butter and pumpkin puree from orange pumpkins. No problems here.

            1. re: morwen

              I've used the large jack-o-lantern pumpkins for cooking. I just roast and then puree in the food processor. Roasting uncovered allows the juice to evaporate and I haven't had any issues using my puree in recipes. I do prefer the pie pumpkins for roasting and now have 8 of them sitting around the living room waiting for me to get busy in the kitchen. I'll buy the pie pumpkins but occasionally, I can get the others for free so I'll make use of them!

              I walked past the canned shelves in Walmart this morning and their shelves were full. I didn't think to look at the other two stores I have been in this weekend.

              I am in northeastern Indiana.

              1. re: alliedawn_98

                I'm in north central Ohio and the local WalMart SuperCenter had a decent amount stocked up today when my husband did our shopping. I'm going to take a deep breath and try to cook and puree pumpkin for some of my pumpkin baked goods this year. I haven't tried anything like that before, but I've cooked plenty of other squash in a variety of ways, so I'm hoping it won't be too different.

                1. re: tonina_mdc

                  I'm just east of your area and i have to visit 3 different stores before I found a store with 4 cans of pumpkin. I bought two.

                  1. re: Kelli2006

                    Really! Where? There was plenty of pumpkin at the Walmart and the Kroger in Mount Vernon, OH, again today.

                    1. re: tonina_mdc

                      I live in the Wooster area and the Wal-Mart was bare. I bought mine at Buehlers.

                      1. re: Kelli2006

                        Ah! My husband used to work in that neck of the woods. Buehlers always seemed to be reasonably well-stocked when he would pick up things for us.

                        1. re: tonina_mdc

                          I was in another Walmart with a friend yesterday and she bought canned pumpkin. They had full shelves of both the pumpkin and the pie mix. The pie mix was $2.08 for a 15 oz can and the pumpkin was $2.28.

                          I roasted 8 pie pumpkins yesterday and ended up with 10- 2 cup freezer bags of goodness. I paid 2/3 for 6 of the pumpkins and .78 per pound for two.

          2. re: morwen

            I wouldn't call it dead easy. "Drain if necessary" "if it seems too runny" - these are the sticking points for people who haven't done this before. It is easy to end up with a runny puree that might work okay for muffins etc, but will not set up as a pie. BTDT. I have attempted it again with more success, but for a once a year holiday pie, I'd rather stick with a standard product - especially since I don't find much taste difference.

          3. I live in MA, where a recent TV news report said that wet, cool weather we had until August was bad for pumpkins, and that they will have to be "imported" (I assume this means, loosely, other regions rather than countries) to meet the fall decoration/jack o'lantern demand. Those are different varieties than canning pumpkins but surely the weather affected the latter as well.

            7 Replies
            1. I can only speak for France, as I was there for Halloween two years ago. No jack o'lanterns, but lots of pumpkins for decor, often sprayed with a little silver or gold paint to vaguely suggest frost. Quite handsome, surprisingly. But what I really like is the French pumpkin soup.

              1. I thought Jack-O'Laterns originated in Ireland or England? Guess I should look it up now.

                OK more than you wanted to know

                PS I'll be checking out my stores later today, didn't realize I was going to have to plan ahead. I think I have one can in the pantry from last year.......I mostly use for pumpkin soup though. Wanted to try that pumpkin "crack" recipe I saw here too.

                1. re: coll

                  I'm glad carved turnips didn't become our tradition, that's for sure :)

                2. I can speak for the middle eastern countries I lived in, and no, we eat our pumpkins mostly in a stew or soup, tagine or make jam!

                  1. re: greygarious

                    A very high percentage of canned pumpkin comes from a small area near Morton, IL. The crop of canning pumpkins was low in 2008 but is expected to be good but not outstanding this year. New England weather is irrelevant.

                    1. re: Eldon Kreider

                      You are correct, Eldon Kreider. And this year's pumpkins grown in/around the Morton area are just now being harvested. It will take a while before they are processed, canned, and shipped to markets. I live less than 30 miles from Morton, and canned pumpkin is even hard to find here!

                      1. re: Eldon Kreider

                        New England weather is irrelevant.

                        I'm a little late reading this thread, but greygarious's post had to do with decorative pumpkins for carving; not for canning. As it relates to the pumpkin supplies for New Englanders to carve and put on their doorstep, yes, the weather was relevant.

                    2. I live in Portland, OR and I cannot find canned pumpkin anywhere. The shelves are bare for that product in every store I check - has there been a recall? I use it for my dieting.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jollijov

                        Dieting? Is canned pumpkin low cal? Fill me in please!

                        1. re: newfoodie

                          Yes, it IS good for you and's more information...

                          1. re: newfoodie

                            High fiber and lots of vitamins.