Don't worry, canned pumpkin is on the way. Here's when to expect it and how to make it yourself if you just can't wait.

By Sheena Chihak
September 24, 2020
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If you've been to the grocery store lately (or ordered your groceries online), you may have noticed the lack of canned pumpkin available. I've looked for it a couple of times and each time, I found the canned pumpkin shelves at my local grocery store empty or stocked with other canned baking goods like sweetened condensed milk and dulce de leche. I’ve even heard stories from co-workers about relatives driving across state lines to secure the fall baking staple. And while there’s no denying 2020 has been tumultuous, I have a glimmer of hope to offer. According to some pumpkin pros, there is not, I repeat not a canned pumpkin shortage this year. And while it’s been hard to find recently, here’s what’s going on with canned pumpkin and how you can make your own pumpkin puree for all your pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookie needs.

Credit: Scott Little

Why Is Canned Pumpkin So Hard to Find?

In a nutshell, there are two reasons: weather and demand. “Due to wet, cold weather conditions during planting, we started harvesting a little later than usual this year,” says Noelle Perillo, manager of brand public relations at Nestle (where Libby’s pumpkin is made). “We pick the pumpkins when they’re ready to ensure maximum flavor,” Perillo continues. Like all of us this year, even pumpkins needed a little time to deal with what 2020 was throwing at them.

It's probably no real surprise that all the quarantine baking that’s been going on over the last few months is another part of the issue.

“With people spending more time at home, many ingredients used in baking have been in high demand throughout the pandemic, which is having a similar effect on canned pumpkin,” says Thomas Regan, category manager for baking and breakfast at Stop & Shop supermarkets.

When Will Canned Pumpkin Be Back on Shelves?

Thankfully, it won’t be long before you can get your hands on a few cans of pumpkin. “Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin is a seasonal product and the team in Illinois is currently working hard harvesting our pumpkins and canning for the upcoming bake season,” says Justin Corrado, Libby’s brand manager. “You can expect to see pumpkin back on shelves over the next few weeks,” he assures us.

Regan seconds this optimism, “…the 2020 crop yield is strong and is being canned now, which will lead to some tightness in supply into mid-October,” he says. Check the calendar, because believe it or not, mid-October is not very far away.

What if I Can’t Wait to Make Canned Pumpkin Recipes?

I truly understand the sentiment. It’s late September and while apple desserts are great, I really just want a pumpkin bar! If you need pumpkin puree stat, you can make your own using one of those smaller pie pumpkins. That's literally the only ingredient! Check out our pumpkin puree recipe for the step-by-step directions.

Just hold on a little longer. I know many of us are ready to bring 2020 to a close so we’re diving into all things fall (and even winter!), but it won’t bring 2021 any faster. There seem to be plenty of pumpkins available, so give the DIY pumpkin puree a try to get you through until the cans are restocked.

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