Pumpkin Spice - The History of the Iconic Symbol of Fall

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Pumpkin spice has become the iconic symbol of fall. Check out these details about the history of the iconic autumn flavor, from holiday pie to lattes and even dog treats.

Pumpkin spice is a combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and sometimes actual pumpkin.

Early settlers may have made pumpkin pies that contained similar spices  as early as 1620, by making stewed pumpkins or by filling a hollowed out shell with milk, honey and spices, and then baking it in hot ashes. But it isn’t until 1936 that we find the earliest popular mention on record for anyone using the term “pumpkin spice” for this blend of flavors.
(Washington Post)

It wasn’t until the 1950’s that spice companies actually began selling blends labeled “pumpkin pie spice”, which was then simplified to “pumpkin spice” in the 1960’s. While these flavors had been frequent companions in pumpkin pie for some time, cooks soon began to get more comfortable using the blend in a variety of other dishes, often those containing other squashes or sweet potatoes.(Wikipedia)

While everyone may assume that Starbucks was the first company to begin the modern pumpkin spice craze, it actually appears that a candle company in New Mexico beat them to it, releasing a pumpkin spice candle in 1995.( Fact from Wikipedia)

Soon after that, small coffee shops around the country began to become interested in the spice blend, and pumpkin spice coffee started showing up everywhere. By the early 2000’s, someone had realized the flavors were even more delicious if you added milk and sugar, creating the latte. And, well, you know the rest.

Food manufacturers and grocery stores bet heavily that pumpkin products will help sales during the fall. At Trader Joe’s, the amount of pumpkin products has steadily increased since the grocery chain began offering them in the mid-1990s, according to a company spokesperson. This year, Trader Joe’s shelves will be stocked with more than 70 pumpkin items, up from around 60 items in 2015.

Today, pumpkin spice products generate $500 million in annual sales – most of which happens in a single season.

How to make your own pumpkin spice at home:
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
2 teaspoons ground ginger.
1 teaspoon ground cloves.
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe | Taste of Home