The season is about to change to fall, but sales of American’s favorite fall flavor are already hot! Products made with pumpkin flavor are already up 10% in dollar growth and up 7% in unit volume.
What’s interesting is the sales of pumpkin pie filling have dropped a bit, by 1%, but still remains the number one pumpkin-related flavor. The rest of the top five categories by sales where pumpkin is used include dog food, liquid coffee creamer, packaged coffee, and ready-to-eat cereal.
And while pumpkin spice seems to be in everything, the sales of pumpkin spice seasoning has not seen any benefit.
Pumpkins offer far more than a door-stop at Halloween. Think safety when planning to preserve pumpkins. Pumpkin is a low acid vegetable and requires special attention to preparation and processing.
Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash. In 1989, the USDA’s Extension Service first published the Complete Guide to Home Canning that remains the basis of Extension recommendations today, found in the 2015 revision. The only directions for canning pumpkin and winter squash are for cubed flesh. In fact, the directions for preparing the product include the statement, “Caution: Do not mash or puree.”
The best way to preserve mashed pumpkin or winter squash is freezing. For more tips on preserving pumpkin, including freezing, drying and pickling, see http://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/fall/pumpkins.html.