Story at a glance
- Pumpkin spice flavor does not contain any pumpkin.
- This seasoning blend, meant to flavor pumpkin pie, usually consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
- The spice blend can be traced back to the 1930s.
(WHTM) — Fall is almost here and that means chillier weather, leaves changing, nights getting longer, and football season. It also means another thing, that pumpkin spice has made its grand return.
But is pumpkin spice actually made of pumpkin? Well, you may be surprised that there is no pumpkin in the pumpkin spice flavor.
According to Food and Wine, pumpkin spice is the seasoning that can flavor pumpkin pie. This seasoning blend usually consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
This spice blend has been around for a very long time. Food and Wine says the spice can be traced back to the 1930s when Thompson & Taylor Spice Co. and McCormick & Company came out with pumpkin pie spice. Instead of buying five or six different spices, they could buy these premixed blends.
Today, McCormick's blend includes four spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, plus sulfating agents, according to Food and Wine.
Allrecipes.com says that pumpkin spice really came into prominence with the Pumpkin Spice Latte created by Starbucks. The seasonal drink made its debut in 100 stores in 2003 and was then given to all stores the next year.
Nowadays, we see everything come out with pumpkin spice, from cookies to trash bags and everything in between. Allrecipes believes that pumpkin spice is loved by many due to its smell and because it is nostalgic.
Our love for the smell hasn't gone unnoticed by marketers, either.
J.P. Shand, a psychiatrist at WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, tells Nexstar's WHTM that there is a strong link we develop in our brains between our senses like taste and experiences we have at the same time.
"This is the way that we associate our environment to our memories," he says. "And when we have the opportunity to have a really potent flavor scent introduced to us, we can exhibit all of these memories and feelings associated with that. And people love fall.”
And, because it's only available for a limited time (though as you've seen, you could make a pumpkin spice blend at home), the value of the fall flavor does increase.
So next time you eat that pumpkin spice cookie or drink that latte, you can thank those who made the famous blend way back in the 1930s.