As the leaves start to change color and cheery pumpkins show up on doorsteps, summer seems like a distant memory and we're smack-dab in the middle of fall. And while pumpkin spice-flavored treats make their appearance just about, well, everywhere, do you even know what it contains? Here's what it is and why you should make it at home. (Hint: It's as easy as it gets!)
Guess What? There's No Pumpkin in Pumpkin Spice!
For years, I thought pumpkin pie spice actually had pumpkin in it. Silly me. How on earth would you get pumpkin in there? Dehydrate and powder it? In any case, pumpkin pie spice is simply a blend of the traditional spices that go into a good ol' fashioned pumpkin pie.
What's in Pumpkin Pie Spice?
If you go the store-bought route, pumpkin pie spice blends can vary by manufacturer, but typically contain the more sweet-smelling spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger. Allspice and mace are also common ingredients.
Why Should I Make My Own?
Making your own spice blend costs less than buying a big jar of something pre-made, especially if you already have most of the spices. It's also better to make smaller batches so you use up the blend before it starts to go stale and loses its flavor. Finally, you can tinker the formula to what you like: Go for some extra cinnamon, or skip the cloves if you can't stand the flavor. Trust me, once you've made your own, you'll never want to buy a commercial blend again.
How Do I Use Pumpkin Pie Spice?
While you can use it to flavor your morning latte, pies, and other baked goods, you can also sprinkle it over hard squash and roast, spice up some whipped cream, or mix it into some yogurt or ice cream base — it's quite a versatile spice blend.
Ways to Use Pumpkin Pie Spice
How To Make Pumpkin Pie Spice
Makes 2 1/3 tablespoons
Adapted from The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices by Tony Hill
What You Need
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Measuring spoons, bowl, whisk, or spoon
Measure: Measure out all ingredients in the order listed (to ensure you don't double up or leave one out) into a small bowl.
Mix: Whisk or stir to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 year.
(Image credits: Christine Gallary; Faith Durand; Faith Durand)