Not long before Thanksgiving, the media started reporting that there was a nationwide shortage of canned pumpkin puree. Some called it a marketing hoax, but yesterday Big Money's Dan Mitchell surveyed the local and national news to confirm the shortage. Apparently, heavy October rains in Morton, Illinois, the "pumpkin capital of the world," wiped out a big chunk of the crop that Nestlé Baking (owner of Libby's) processes. The factory has already shipped its last cans for the year.
While the peak pumpkin baking day of the year has passed, there are still pumpkin spice muffins to bake and pumpkin lattes to froth. What to do?
The simple, if slightly more expensive, answer to this conundrum: DIY. On her blog, Hogwash, friend to Voracious Jess Thomson provides an easy method for sticking a whole kabocha (pumpkin-like) squash in the oven and roasting the hell out of it.
Please note: The brown splotches are from the oven, not a nasty cloth
This Sunday, I roasted the remaining half of a butternut squash (oiled, cut-side down, on a sheet pan at 350° until soft). Then, since roasted squash has more extra liquid than canned pumpkin, I removed the peel and wrapped the squash puree in a cloth napkin -- cheesecloth also works well -- and hung it in the refrigerator overnight. I'm making pumpkin spice bread with the puree. Who'll notice the difference?