Canned pumpkin becomes an endangered species this holiday season

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Is this the apocalypse or what? Last week, Eggo devastated Jason Sheehan, school children and bachelors everywhere by reporting that a massive waffle shortage was taking place. And now Libby's and Nestle have put the kibosh on their canned pumpkin production for the rest of the year. That's right. No more pumpkin. Which means no pumpkin pie. If the NFL goes on strike, the United States as we know it might end.

The cause of the crisis? A bad harvest. After heavy rains in the fields, the pumpkins rotted before they could be saved. And while it's unlikely that you'll see canned pumpkin selling on eBay, the shortage has already affected many grocery stores -- and those who aren't sold out are expected to be emptied of canned pumpkin by Friday.

The upshot is that there's always next year if you haven't stocked up. If you've just got to have that custard pie, however, try using pureed butternut squash in place of pumpkin in your recipe. It's a little more work (canned squash is not an option), but you can be proud of the effort and it'll taste nearly the same. Sweet potatoes are a wonderful substitute as well, but you'll need to find a recipe for sweet potato pie.

And if anyone wants to place a bid, I've got a can of pumpkin sitting in my cupboard.

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