The Story of Pumpkin Spice
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
It’s Pumpkin Spice season, but why? Where? When did this phenomenon come into existence?!
Pumpkin Spice is an organic blend of Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, and Cloves or all the spices that traditionally go into a pumpkin pie. Pumpkins are from the Americas and all these spices are from the area of Southeast Asia. So, when did they come together into the flavor combination that has become a beloved American fall tradition?!
It turns out it didn’t take long for the American colonists to figure out the earthy sweet pumpkin paired especially well with the warm spices Europeans had been importing from Asia. In 1798 Amelia Simmons published a cookbook titled, American Cookery, which featured “pompkin” pie recipes featuring nutmeg and ginger. Recipes for pumpkin pie evolved from that point and additional spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and cloves were added.
Then in the 1930’s, Thompson & Taylor Spice Company and McCormick & Company started offering a brand-new product--a spice blend. This blend called Pumpkin Pie Spice was marketed as a cost saving measure for housewives cooking pumpkin pies for the holiday season. Instead of having to buy many different containers of spices, they could buy just one blend. These blends contained up to 9 different spices and varied from year to year until the standard version we now know came about in the 1950s. In the 1960’s the name changed from Pumpkin Pie Spice to just Pumpkin Spice.
So how did it make the jump from pumpkin pies to lattes?
That interestingly enough starts in 1995 with a candle company that released a pumpkin spice candle as part of their fall scents. Then several independent coffee shops started adding the spice blend to their beans while brewing coffee. Starbucks employee, Peter Dukes, brought up the idea of using this brand-new flavor trend as part of a new line of lattes. Starbuck’s development team got right on it. It is said, they started their recipe testing by pouring espresso right over slices of pumpkin pie and tasting away.
And since the meteoric rise of the popularity of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, the flavor has spread everywhere! Would you like a pumpkin spice yogurt? How about a pumpkin spiced cold cereal? Want to munch away on a bag of pumpkin spice potato chips? Is your dog hungry for pumpkin spice dog treats?
And who can blame us? The warming blend of spices found in pumpkin spice and the cooler weather of fall just seem to come together in the most comforting way!
At SpiceTopia, we celebrate Pumpkin Spice all year round! We call it baking spice until fall rolls around, and then we get to change its name back to pumpkin spice!
Join us in celebrating this ultimate fall tradition with our Pumpkin Spice Hygge Drink!
Hygge is a Danish concept of spending time inside being as cozy as possible. This drink encapsulates that feeling 100%. It’s the perfect fall drink.
Pumpkin Spice Hygge Drink
2 cups milk (oat is a great alternative to dairy milk in this recipe)
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice
Whipped Cream for topping (coconut whipped cream is a great plant-based alternative to dairy)
Over medium low heat in a small saucepan, heat the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin spice until steaming. Stir often while warming.
Pour into 3 mugs and top with whipped cream.
Sprinkle on just a bit more Pumpkin Spice.
Enjoy while sipping slowly and thinking about the Story of Pumpkin Spice!
Read more about Pumpkin Spice at our sources:
The History Of Pumpkin Spice (And Our Obsession With Putting It On Everything)
The Surprising History of Pumpkin Spice | Food & Wine
Family Tree Magazine
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