Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pumpkin shortage?

I loooove pumpkin and eat it all year round. When I'm not whipping up a pumpkin dessert, muffins, or bread I use it in my oatmeal (recipe follows). It's also terrific tonic for my sweet tooth; when I want something sweet, I microwave a scoop of pumpkin with a splash of maple syrup and a healthy dash of pumpkin pie spice.

Because I'm so enamored of this endearing orange veggie, I have canned pumpkin in my pantry all year long. So I was a little alarmed when I couldn't find it in two different grocery stores recently. Turns out, we have something of a shortage going.

The good news is, it's almost over. Here's the story: Bad weather in 2008 led to a smaller-than-expected pumpkin harvest that year. There was enough pumpkin to get holiday bakers through the season, but not enough to seamlessly carry us through until the 2009 harvest. So if you've been looking for canned pumpkin this summer and come up dry, that's why.

Fortunately, the 2009 pumpkin harvest is underway and appears to be a healthy one. Soon -- hopefully in time for Thanksgiving -- shelves will once again be fully stocked with my favorite source of beta carotene, a substance the body uses to produce Vitamin A.

Oh, and here's my recipe for pumpkin oatmeal. :-)

Pumpkin oats
Serves 1

1/2 c old-fashioned oatmeal
1/4 c canned pumpkin
1/2 c milk of any sort (dairy, soy, almond)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, more to taste
1 T maple syrup or agave nectar, more to taste

Put all ingredients in a large bowl with high walls (I use an eight-cup measuring cup). Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cook for three minutes, watching closely to prevent it from boiling over. Stir, adding more milk if you prefer a thinner consistency. Serve as-is or with applesauce or yogurt.


  1. This is great! I really like pumpkin, too, and never think to put it into interesting things like oatmeal! Sounds like a plan for my next fun breakfast.

  2. I forgot one thing in the recipe: cover the cooking vessel with microwave-safe plastic wrap before putting it in the microwave.