“Where’s the canned pumpkin?!” News of pumpkin shortage has bakers running scared.

Remember The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2009?

Just as fall baking season kicked into gear, shoppers found supermarket shelves devoid of canned pumpkin. A disastrous crop year in the Midwest, the country’s prime pumpkin-growing region, spelled doom for many a Thanksgiving pie-baker that year.

And this year, you may think we’re in for more of the same.

But we’re not.

While the Northeast has had a very tough pumpkin year (due to a wet spring, an outbreak of fungus, and flooding from Hurricane Irene), the rest of the country is doing OK, thanks very much.

Libby’s, the chief supplier of canned pumpkin to America’s bakers, had this to say in an August press release:

“While much of the country has been suffering from unusually high temperatures this summer, the weather seems to be perfect for growing pumpkin! That’s right, thanks to Mother Nature and the hard work of the dedicated pumpkin farmers in Morton, Illinois – the pumpkin capital of the world! – Libby’s Pumpkin is happy to report that consumers will be able to find a bountiful supply of their beloved pumpkin on grocer’s shelves in plenty of time for the 2011 holiday season.”

So, it may be difficult to find your favorite brand of canned pumpkin at the moment.

Especially in the Northeast, where local manufacturers – e.g., One-Pie – may be having trouble with their supply.

But hold tight; the new crop should be hitting your supermarket shortly.

Just in time for Harvest Pumpkin Scones, my all-time favorite pumpkin recipe!

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. nancpratt

    I’m glad I bought a few extra cans of One-Pie squash and pumpkin last year. It disappeared from the shelves after the holidays. I look and see an empty space and a sign at the store so I’m hopeful it will return because they are leaving the space for One-Pie. It has the best recipe and products ever anywhere. They are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I love fall baking.


    There’s lots of canned pumpkin here in MO as well. If worse comes to worse, you can use boiled, mashed, drained, food processed and spiced butternut squash for a substitute. In fact we may use the squash this year in lieu of pumpkin for our Thanksgiving pumpkin (squash) double praline pie.

  3. harwoods

    “Seasonal item”? Since when?? You have been able to get canned pumpkin year round…granted, you may not be tripping over it in the aisles. That was just an answer they gave because they didn’t have any and had no explanation otherwise. Seasonal items don’t have a permanent place on the shelf.

    But I was relieved to read this blog entry. I was concerned here in NC. I’ve looked at 4-5 different stores (Lowes, Food Lion, Walmart, Target, etc)…they did not have canned pumpkin- especially in the smaller cans. I did manage to find TONS of it at Harris Teeter last week finally…so I bought 6 cans to hold me over till this apparent dry-spell clears up around here.

  4. gpyrocat

    I’ve been cooking my own pumpkin, when available, for years. I’ve found that blending it in my stand mixer and then straining it for several hours or even overnight does the trick. No weepy pumpkin pie!

  5. Tracy W

    I was in Kroger on Sunday night and they were out of canned pumpkin! I was shocked-didn’t know they ever ran out. My 5 year old has been asking for something with pumpkin for a week. I will have to check back-so glad to know it was not a sign of things to come!

  6. Bookworm1860

    Try roasting your own, you may well never go back to canned. I just mash it, I don’t puree. Sugar pumpkins are fairly easy to find, Long Island Cheese pumpkins are good if you can find them, and the white (Lumina, IIRC) have a really nice flesh for baking (don’t bother with the seeds though). Any of the winter squashes can be subbed, historically squash pies were almost as common as pumpkin.

  7. dstrickland

    I’ve checked a few stores here in RI – they seem to have the One Pie and the organic pumpkin (shown in photo above) as well as the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie FILLING, but I haven’t seen any cans of just plain pumpkin. Going to launch a full-scale search this weekend. Also tempted to try roasting a fresh pumpkin to see how it comes out. Cross your fingers! =)

  8. skeptic7

    What type of pumpkins do you have in New England? I was at a farmstand and a couple of farmer’s markets here and saw crook-neck pumpkins, white pumpkins, blue pumpkins, cushaw pumpkins and a pink banana squash. There were also bronze pumpkins and Fairytale pumkins and warty pumpkins at Trader Joe’s. There were normal jack oh lantern pumkins and orange pie pumkins everywhere. This is in Virginia near Washington DC.
    I plan to make pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup and pumpkin scones and pumpkin muffins. I was startled to find that the white pumpkins are actually raised to cook as oppose to a Halloween decoration.

    For cooking/baking, we mainly have the classic New England Sugar Pie pumpkin, Skeptic – they’re pretty small (about 5 pounds), but wonderfully sweet. There are other varieties grown mainly for show – PJH

  9. crimsicle

    I ran into the “sorry…that’s a seasonal item” at my local Kroger a couple of weeks ago. My cat has digestive issues, and pumpkin is one of the approaches to helping her. The guy at Kroger said I had been the second person in less than an hour looking for pumpkin. Hellllooooo!!! Found plenty at Walmart! I think I need to stock up!


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