This is the time of year when pumpkins have their day in the spotlight, so it was a surprise to learn that some Americans are experiencing the effects of a pumpkin shortage.
The news from Starbucks is that some of their locations are running out of the ingredient that makes their pumpkin spice latte popular with many of their customers. The special pumpkin-flavored syrup that gives the lattes their flavor is in short supply.
One doesn’t know whether the ingredient contains actual pumpkin, or whether flavor meisters have merely concocted something that tastes like pumpkin, and they just didn’t make enough of it this year. Let’s hope it has at least a whiff of real pumpkin in it, because real pumpkin is good for you.
A well made pumpkin pie is a delight this time of year — or any time of year, for that matter. I happen to enjoy pumpkin pie on the 4th of July if it is available. Which is appropriate, because pumpkins are native to North America. We eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, a holiday also native to North America.
The native Americans would dry pumpkins by cutting them crossways into rings. They would clean the seeds and other pulpy stuff from the center of the rings, then would hang the rings up to dry. When dried, they were somewhat shriveled, and sweet as candy.
Other pumpkin recipes include everything from muffins to scones to bread. You can make pumpkin cake, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin soup. You can fry it, stew it, bake it or saute it.
And, you can carve it, as many will for Halloween. If you make a Jack-o-lantern, and you light it with a low candle, it will smell good as the candle slowly heats the pumpkin flesh.
So, if you can’t get your pumpkin latte, you needn’t panic. As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy America’s national gourd.