The sun is shining, flowers are starting to bloom and for some reason it is incredibly windy. Spring is here... unless you live in the northern hemisphere in which case Autumn is there. However, the season itself is irrelevant, but the time of year is not.
If you live in America or Canada Thanksgiving is upon you and all things Pumpkin, Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin Related have been thrust upon you. If you don't live in either of these countries, like myself, but you have access to the internet you also know that anything and everything Pumpkin related exists at this time of year - it's almost as if you can't escape it.
I personally love Pumpkin, some of my friends definitely don't, so I'm happy to put Pumpkin in things - but they're not. I started having a look around the internet and wondering what recipes can be made to include Pumpkin and Pumpkin flavours, and I started to wonder:
"Do any of these things actually include pumpkin in them?"
Short answer: Mostly No.
A lot of "Pumpkin" foods and drinks just include Pumpkin Spice but no actual Pumpkin - unless you're making Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Coffee Creamer or maybe a cake.
My next question was: What is Pumpkin Spice?
It's in absolutely everything that is considered "Pumpkin" at this time of year from coffee to popcorn to waffles - so what is it, and does it contain pumpkin?
Short Answer: Mix of spices, does not contain pumpkin
Pumpkin Spice does not contain pumpkin... at all. Zero pumpkins are harmed in the creation of this spice. This spice is considered a general spice because, you guessed it, it contains a mix of what can be considered general spices (it also does NOT contain any pumpkin flavouring) for this time of year. These spices are traditionally used together at this time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere), mainly in sweeter meals or desserts as together they create a spice that is slightly sweeter than most spices.
Mix up some Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, All Spice and Cloves and you're good to go.
Seriously. That's it.
Now I know what's in it, my next question was where can I get it or how can I make it?
As an Australian... I can't find it anywhere. The only place I haven't checked is Costco - but mainly because I don't really want a 1kg jar of the stuff. If you live in the US or Canada you can pick it up at any grocery story or market in your area, and even amazon. Heck, even UK Amazon sells the spice. But if you can't get it already mixed, you can definitely mix it up yourself.
You might ask me; Why would I want to make it myself if I can buy it myself?
I'm personally a big fan of making things yourself that way you know what's in it. There's fresher ingredients, no (or little) preservatives, and DEFINITELY no chemicals. You can make things as healthy, or not as healthy, as you like, and you can always teak the flavours to your taste. The thing about all the pumpkin spice mixes that are already mixed as creamers, into coffee pods or even in pre-packaged cake mixes, is that you don't know if they've used synthetic flavours and aromas that mimic the flavours you think you're consuming. To me? That's a HUGE no no.
If you are going to make your own Pumpkin Spice Mix, I highly suggest getting yourself some freshly ground spices from a spice market, but if that's too pricey or you're just lazy (or just have the spices in a pre-filled jar from the supermarket already in your pantry) feel free to use the pre-filled spice jars of ground spices you can find in your supermarket. You want to mix yourself up 12 parts of cinnamon, 4 parts of each nutmeg and ginger, 3 parts of allspice, and 1 part of cloves. Some recipes might also call for mace, but I've found it a little hard to come by at the supermarket. Mix your spices and store them in a airtight jar or container.
My personal touch to this combination is to store the mix with a cinnamon stick, a few seeds of nutmeg, and a small knob of fresh or dried ginger. I find that storing the intact versions of some of spices, with the spice mix creates a highly aromatic perfume and really brings out the flavour of the spices that have been ground down.
If you're wondering what you can mix your "Pumpkin" Spice into, give it a google but here's a list to get you started:
- Whipped Cream
- Alcoholic Beverages
There you have it... Pumpkin Spice really does not have any Pumpkin in it - at all. Go forth and use your spice mix as you see fit.
PS: I was super lazy and made a batch of this spice mix without taking photos of the process... so I used stock photos for this post.