What Is Pumpkin Spice?

As soon as the calendar rolls over to September 1, it officially becomes Pumpkin Spice season. Its popularity is so huge that some places have rolled back the start date to August. I’ll admit that makes me twitch, because to me, pumpkin spice is for fall, and August is still summer. But the kickoff used to be later, in October. In fact, October 1 is actually considered to be National Pumpkin Spice Day. Did you know that?

So what exactly is pumpkin spice? It’s a mixture of traditional seasonal spices that you can either put together on your own or purchase premade at the store. Sometimes it is labeled as “Pumpkin Spice,” and other times it is labeled as “Pumpkin Pie Spice.” There’s no official recipe or ratio of the spices to one another, so each brand is going to vary. Its usual components are a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and sometimes allspice.

If you’re going to make it yourself, start with about equal portions of the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Note that cloves and allspice are stronger, so you will probably only want about half a portion of those. But then, you can adjust it any way that you want to fit your own personal tastes. I like cinnamon the best out of all of these, so I tend to use a bit more cinnamon than the others. Or depending on what I’m making, I may use a bit more ginger. Experiment with it and see what you prefer!

What can you add pumpkin spice to? I remember coming across a jar of it back about 20 years ago when I was on vacation. I started experimenting with it when making pumpkin desserts. Instead of using the various combinations that the recipes called for, I would just total up the amount requested for all of the spices and then used about that much of my pumpkin pie spice. I even experimented with using it in cookie recipes, for example, in place of the cinnamon or ginger or nutmeg that the recipe called for. It definitely gave my baked goods a fun upgrade! (In most cases, anyway.) It even adds unique flavor to fall soups and pasta dishes!

Of course, you can always make your coffee with it. Pour some on top of your coffee grounds before brewing to have the taste infused right into the coffee. Mix it into your favorite creamer or stir it right into the coffee. Sift some over the whipped cream or foam on your latte.

What do you like to add your pumpkin spice to? Do you make your own or buy it premixed?

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