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Holidays / Humor / Recipes

The Canned Pumpkin Shortage & Recipes to Thrill Any Pumpkin Lover

With Halloween upon us, my family is in the throes of Everything Pumpkin. While my husband Jamie may be obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin, I am consumed with eating it. My pumpkin craving began when I was six months pregnant with my firstborn and, six years later, has not abated.

But a nearly year-long shortage of canned pumpkin has put a dark cloud over the pumpkin lovers of the world. However, it was recently announced the shortage is over and USA Today reported:

“That means an end to the hoarding, rationing and even pumpkin profiteering that have been going on since heavy rain ruined last year’s harvest and caused a shortfall.”

In my defense, I only have about 20 cans of pumpkin stashed in my basement. And no, I’m not kidding.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I watched Seinfeld for the first time in years. The episode “The Sponge” centered around how Elaine, in a fit of hysteria, bought up every contraceptive sponge she could find when she learned they were being discontinued. I chastised her wayward moral compass as she tried to determine which of her suitors was “sponge-worthy.”

Until the next day.

It was the height of the canned pumpkin shortage and I was throwing a pumpkin party. One of my requests was for guests to bring their favorite pumpkin treat. In a panic, my friend Kristen called and told me she had been to several area grocery stores and could not find canned pumpkin anywhere. But then came the clincher:

“Amber, do you have any canned pumpkin I can use?”

I have to admit I hesitated. And then even worse, the thought crossed my mind:

“Is she pumpkin-worthy?”

And yes, she was.

It may have had something to do with the pumpkin cobbler she brought to my party the next day.


Do you have any favorite pumpkin dishes? My favorites include:

Pumpkin won tons
Pumpkin fudge
Pumpkin gingerbread trifle
Pumpkin pie bars
Old-fashioned pumpkin pie
Pumpkin risotto,
Homemade pumpkin yogurt
Pumpkin fritters dessert
pumpkin gingerbread with caramel sauce
Pumpkin pie pancakes
Curried pumpkin soup

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. You are funny, “Just so long as I am in charge of refreshments.”

    You have to want to help yourself, Amber. It has to come from withing you.

    Oh, I guess the point is that you don’t want help.

    You and Jaime are TRULY made for each other. He grows ’em you devour ’em.

  2. Yum!!! I make an awesome maple pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving every year. I would make it more often, but then I’d end up eating most of it myself, so it’s a once a year thing.

  3. A match made in pumpkin heaven, for sure. 🙂

  4. Ohhhh, pumpkin and maple–a combination I’ve never tried!

  5. I am also a pumpkin fiend. For two decades it has been pumpkin season and peach season, the two best times of the year!

    Lately I am loving pumpkin and black bean combos like in casseroles. I am also playing with a pumpkin ravioli in sage brown butter. For simple desserts this month it has been a slice of baked pumpkin with maple syrup or agave nectar, spices, and nuts. So simple and yummy. I am interested in trying your savory pumpkin sauce you used on the chicken enchiladas.

  6. I can’t remember for the life of me where I found my pumpkin enchilada recipe online. This is similar.

    I had to tweak the sauce a lot each time to ensure it was *just* right. Just do a google search for chicken enchiladas with pumpkin sauce. There are a lot of recipes you can find that fit your preference.

  7. Looks like I’m really missing out! I have a cake that I like to make from time to time… but that’s about the extent of my pumpkin-ness.

  8. I was never crazy for pumpkin until recently. I’ve been surprised at its versatility. It’s like the chicken of gourds.

  9. My favorite pumpkin recipe is for super-simple pumpkin cake. (And I mean SIMPLE.) I borrowed the recipe from The Noble Pig: I dare you to click on that link and NOT lick your monitor.

  10. Thanks for the ideas! I too LOVE pumpkin!!!

  11. I should not have read this so close to lunch:

    “I have made pumpkin gnocchi, chicken enchiladas with pumpkin sauce, pumpkin fritters, doughnuts, pancakes, cookies, bread, scones, pie, shakes, soup, risotto”

    Drooling on the keyboard!

  12. Mmmm … I love pumpkin too! I made my first ever pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year. I used a no roll crust it was easy and delicious!

  13. Thanks for the links! Laughing over Gretchen’s comment re: versatility. Pumpkin truly is the chicken of the gourds. 🙂

  14. Sounds like you and your hubby are perfect for each other as long as he doesn’t have an issue with you eating his hard work.

    May try some of those for the pumpkin fans around here-

  15. I recently saw a recipe for pumpkin fudge. I cannot WAIT to try it!

  16. If that pumpkin fudge recipe turns out, let me know. I have tried various recipes and have failed every time!

  17. I’m about to go to bed early for once, but I just got done reading this. Honestly how am I supposed to sleep now. My stomach is going to be growling and the little voice telling me to go consume something with pumpkin! I will definately be trying some of these recipes! yum! I have the worst sweet tooth-it’s seriously a problem!

  18. I had a delicious pumpkin-ginger soup last week. Wish I had the recipe to share–it was WONDERFUL.

  19. Oh, I love pumpkin. Love it! I think I drive my hubby crazy with the frequency I cook with pumpkin in the fall. I even had a pumpkin recipe week at last fall. Reading this makes me want to roast up the pumpkin that is sitting on my counter and make something delicious.

  20. And pumpkin can be prepared in so many different ways, both in sweet and salty dishes. Love it as well! Rgds.

  21. LOL, you are crazy! I too am a pumpkin freak and can go on and on like Bubba from Forrest Gump in regards to all the ways I love pumpkin. I have not done canned pumpkin in about a decade though. I prefer to get the sugar pie pumpkins and bake them myself for recipes. Even when I lived in Miami and they do not grow there so were like $8 a piece I still used them. No shortage for me. I actually even rejoiced to move to Colorado where they grow here. Glad to be living in a place where I can find them locally again!

  22. LOL! Oh my…. that is hilarious!

    I did the exact same thing… bought up pumpkin everytime the store stocked it. I have a pantry full….. and now that fall is here we’ve been loving the pumpkin treats 🙂
    But I have got to try your pumpkin gingerbread trifle! Thanks for the recipe – that sounds utterly divine~

  23. Whoa, this post has my comment from over a year ago…wild…

    A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…it is the job of every self respecting pumpkin hoarder to make sure that any rations go to a truly, “pumpkin worthy” recipient.

  24. Too funny! I love pumpkins too!

  25. I have to say I’m a bit amazed that you used canned pumpkin with the abundance of fresh pumpkin you have at your disposal! Just imagine how much you could have harvested out of that 800 pounder. Cut it, boil it, puree it into measurable amounts and freeze it. You won’t believe the taste difference and you can have REAL pumpkin pie year round. I can’t stand the canned stuff.

  26. I’m so happy the shortage is over! I’ll admit I had 3 cans left from a little hoarding I did last year when I heard there was going to be a shortage. But since it’s showed back up in stores I’ve made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and a pumpkin roll w/cream cheese frosting. So good…so not healthy! 😉

  27. I made those pumpkin wontons and they were fabulous! Loved them. Keep the pumpkin recipes coming.

  28. Oh thank you for all the pumpkin recipes. I don’t know how you feel about Rachel Ray, but this [url=[url=]]Pumpkin-Sausage Pasta[/url] is divine. In fact when looking for this recipe I saw she now has a Pumpkin-Sausage Lasagne and about died. I know what I’m cooking for dinner tonight!

  29. I haven’t had pumpkin in AGES!! Hmmmmmm…..

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