Pumpkins may be in shorter supply, but we're making the most of it

Plan to pay a bit more for your fall pumpkins this year.

Local supplies are somewhat limited due to the harsh summer growing season.

Growers like Mike Roegge with Mill Creek Farms says there are pumpkins, but most are not as big as they normally would be.

That's because they were planted late due to a wet spring.

Then the hot and dry summer took it's toll.

Not only will pumpkins be smaller, but prices may go up.

That's because many stores have to pay to haul them in...instead of buying locally.that their size may be smaller than normal.

You may not know it but pumpkins are a gold mine of nutrition. They're high in beta carotene for one - an important anti-oxident.

Here are some recipes straight from the folks at Mill Creek Farms:

Squash Pie: 4 cups of squash (cooked and sieved or blended in blender)1 3/4 cups of sugar1 tsp. salt2 tsp cinnamon1 can Eagle Brand Milk4 eggs1 tsp vanillaMix together and pour into two 9 inch pie shells (unbaked). bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees and 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

According to 'All About Pumpkins':

Boiling pumpkins: In large pot with approximately an inch of water, add two pounds of chopped pumpkin pieces (the larger the chunks, the longer it takes to cook); bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer. Stir occasionally. Larger pieces take between 20 - 25 minutes to cook; cubing the pumpkin into half-inch cubes results in a quicker cooking time of 10 - 15 minutes. Cook until you can pierce the flesh easily with a fork. When cubing pumpkin, it's easiest to remove the skin first with a potato peeler; when using larger chunks, just peel the flesh from the skin after it's been cooked. Drain and let cool.Steaming pumpkins:Fill large covered pot with 1 inch water; place a steaming rack inside. Add pumpkin pieces/chunks, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and steam for 30 minutes (or until tender). Remove flesh from skin once pumpkin has been drained and cooled.Oven baking pumpkins:Cut pumpkin in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds and stringy material. If the flesh looks fairly dry, cover the cut side of each pumpkin half with a piece of foil. If it is moist leave it uncovered. Place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet and bake, foil side up in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 1-1/2 hours or until the flesh is very tender when pierced with a fork. Don't worry if the edges are browned. The natural sugars actually caramelize and give it a richer more complex flavor. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.

Finishing the Process: Once the flesh has been removed using any of the above methods, mash with a fork or potato masher, or puree with a food processor or blender until smooth; then simply measure out the amount you need.

- In general a 5 lb. pumpkin will yield approximately 4 cups of mashed, cooked pumpkin pulp.

- If you're using a recipe that calls for canned pumpkin, figure one 29 oz. can is equal to about 3-1/4 cups fresh, cooked, and pureed pumpkin. A 16 oz. can of pumpkin is the equivalent of approximately 2 cups of mashed pulp.

- If your pumpkin pulp is too watery you may drain it in cheesecloth or a sieve. Alternatively you can cook it down to a thicker consistency in a sauce pan.

Use fresh pumpkin for all your recipes! You'll be amazed at the taste!

Time Saving Tip:

Depending upon your favorite recipe, place one cup (or 1/2 cup if that is what most of your recipes call for) into a freezer ziploc. Flatten like a slice of bread. Mark the date with a Sharpie and place in your freezer.

Click here for more recipes.