What Is Pumpkin Spice, Actually?

Folks, you knew it was coming! The surfboards and sunscreen are being put away, the leaves are falling, and the decorative gourds are being placed in every bare spot in the house. It’s pumpkin spice season at last! Depending on your viewpoint, this can be a joyous occasion or insufferable. Wherever you happen to autumn on that spectrum, er, I mean FALL on that spectrum, it’s always good to know the facts! So today, we take a good long look at the seasonal sensation that is pumpkin spice. 

What is pumpkin spice?

Pumpkin spice is an epic melange of fall spices combined to create a flavor meant to evoke pumpkin pie. It typically doesn’t actually taste like pumpkin and usually does not even use pumpkin as an ingredient. The pumpkin is implied, like the taste of “earth” in a fine wine that doesn’t actually include dirt. 

What is in pumpkin pie spice?

There are some variations on homemade mixes, but generally speaking, pumpkin pie spice includes ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes allspice. 

How to make pumpkin spice?

You probably already have all the pumpkin spice ingredients somewhere in your kitchen, just waiting to be combined! To make a single teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, combine ¾ teaspoon cinnamon with ¼ teaspoon each of ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Then sprinkle it on or in whatever you see fit!

Who invented pumpkin spice?

Blended pumpkin pie spice was officially introduced commercially by McCormick & Company in 1934. But we have Starbucks to thank for making it a seasonal classic. The coffee chain debuted the Pumpkin Spice Latte in January 2003, adding it to their menu of seasonal drinks. 

Pumpkin spice has become just as much a fall tradition as raking leaves and complaining that your neighbor’s Halloween decorations have taken it just a bit too far with the fake blood and guts.

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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