Unfortunately, there's risk of ANOTHER canned pumpkin shortage this year. At first blush, this may seem like it spells disaster for all of your holiday desserts.
But, don't fret -- there are still plenty of ways to skirt canned pumpkin no matter what part of the country you call home. Tip number one: Grab as many cans as you can right now! It's September after all. Take advantage of the fact that most people are too busy and disorganized this time of year to be planning THAT far ahead.
But failing that, here are some other suggestions for getting enough gourd:
1. Use real pumpkins
If your grocery store doesn't have any Libby's on the shelves, see if it has real pumpkins. Sure, it'll involve a bit more work than the canned stuff -- you'll have to buy a sugar pumpkin and then perform a combination of peeling, scooping, cutting, boiling, and blending (believe it or not, it's not as bad as it sounds). But pies are one of those things you can make ahead of time anyway so it shouldn't add TOO much stress to your pre-Thanksgiving prep schedule. And -- you never know -- it may be a happy accident and you'll discover you prefer real pumpkin and never go back to the canned stuff again.
2. Consider an alternative brand
While parent Nestle has done a heck of a marketing job and I've inadvertently only ever had eyes for Libby, there ARE other brands of canned pumpkin out there, like Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin.
3. Let someone else make it
Make things easy for yourself and buy a ready-made pie from a grocery store or a local baker. Or simply pick up a frozen pie and throw it in the oven after the turkey's done. What your family doesn't know won't hurt them. (And if you find that you're heartbroken you didn't get to make it yourself this year, make a mental note to buy pumpkin long before the holiday season NEXT year so you'll have a can in your pantry ready to go.)
4. Go online
If you can't imagine Thanksgiving without Libby's, you can try to purchase canned pumpkin online from sites like Amazon, eBay, Cajun Supermarket, and BuytheCase.net. (Although you may have to buy in bulk. But that also means you won't have any trouble finding canned pumpkin NEXT year.) You may also want to do a quick Google Shopping or Bing Shopping search to make sure you get the best price.
5. Just don't make a pumpkin pie
I know. It sounds immoral. But don't be afraid to venture outside your safety zone. Try apple, pecan, or sweet potato -- all autumn-ish and holiday-ish choices that will leave your family saying, "What pumpkin pie?"
Image via the_girl/Flickr