Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin shortage -- and solution!

I'd like to say it isn't true, but the pumpkin shortage I mentioned in early autumn appears to have returned. Hungry Girl reported it in this morning's broadcast e-mail and backed it up with a press release from Libby's. So if you can find canned pumpkin, buy it. Stock up because it could be another year before you see it again.

There is another answer to the shortage: substitute any other winter squash. How to substitute other squash for pumpkin: 1) Bake the squash til it's soft (bake it whole at 350F for about an hour, randomly puncturing it with a knife to allow air to escape), 2) Cut in half and scrape out the seeds, 3) Puree the pulp in a food processor. 4) Proceed with your recipe as usual, substituting your pureed squash for pumpkin. Your guests probably won't notice the difference and they may actually prefer the change. One of the best 'pumpkin' pies I've had was made with kabocha squash.

For a Southern twist, bake up a sweet potato pie. There's a terrific recipe for it in Oprah's circa-1990s book, In the Kitchen with Rosie. If that book isn't on your shelf, just Google "sweet potato pie" and you'll find more versions than you could eat in a lifetime. I also found -- but haven't yet tried -- a neat-looking sweet potato pie with coconut crust on Gary Alinder's blog, macrochef.

BTW, my favorite sweet potato is the garnet yam. Is there a difference between sweet potatoes and yams? I don't know and truthfully, I don't care. All I know is that I use garnet yams and ONLY garnet yams and I'm always happy with the results.

So not to worry. Either you'll get to the grocery store before the pumpkin is depleted or you'll try something new, be it a different winter squash or garnet yams.

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