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Pumpkin Becoming the New Bacon

Hot & Cool Food Trends

With the autumn leaves beginning to turn, and a bit of a nip in the air, we know that the pumpkin harvest must be in, and soon they’ll be ubiquitous—showing up in supermarkets, farmers markets and school kids’ artwork.

But this year the seasonal pumpkin seems to be bigger than ever. It’s becoming the new must-have ingredient…the “new bacon.” At least that’s a position taken by Jane Wells, writing for CNBC.

The pumpkin crop is looking strong, in spite of the drought. For consumers, that means the price will be right. The USDA reports that average retail prices are down by more than half compared to a year ago. But many pumpkin growers expect to make up for the lower prices by selling in greater volume.

Remember the pumpkin shortage of a few years ago, when Libby’s canned pumpkin became scarce prior to Thanksgiving? The shortage was caused by excessive summer rain. This summer’s lack of rainfall means there’s plenty of the jack-o-lantern-making material—though the orange-colored orbs may be a bit smaller in size due to the drought. But Nestle Baking director Jim Coyne says this year’s pumpkins are very dense and “just perfect for canning.” (Nestle owns Libby’s.)

According to market research firm Technomic, restaurant demand for pumpkin in menu items has jumped by 38 percent in two years. Wells cites new culinary creations such as the pumpkin seed crepes at Adobo Grill and the Pumpkin Martini at Burton’s Grill as two examples. Another sign pumpkin’s gone mainstream: McDonald’s has been making shakes with it.

Starbucks has been making hay with pumpkin for a while, whipping up a pumpkin spice latte that’s been a big hit. And Seattle’s Best, a division of Starbucks recently announced the winner of a best new coffee contest, a pumpkin-bacon coffee.

How could it not win with those two ingredients in combination?

In the meantime, check below for some other pumpkin recipes you might like to try.

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