The Inescapable (and Mostly Pretty Awful) Pumpkin Spice Trend

Perhaps due to the popularity of Starbucks' seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, we are inundated with pumpkin spice products this fall. From pumpkin spice Oreos to pumpkin spice beer and everything in between (air freshener!), we cannot escape this seasonal taste sensation. What do you think? Are you scarfing it all up while you can or is it getting a little old?

And what about the quality? Are all those pumpkin spice versions of your favorite packaged foods worth it?

The other day while I was at the market, I saw pumpkin spice versions of trail mix and bars, Hershey's kisses, various forms of tea and chai, ice cream, coffee creamer, instant coffee, instant and prepackaged pudding, candles and room fresheners, beer, cake mix, marshmallows, pancake mix, Oreos, Eggos. I could go on. And on.

It's true that we're not totally free of the pumpkin spice craze here in the Kitchn. Our hack of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte has been consistently one of our most popular posts since it went up in 2009. And a quick search of our archives reveals that we've also dabbled in some pumpkin spice-ifying here and there. So we get the appeal of this spice blend, which is simply a mix of cinnamon, ginger nutmeg and allspice (with an occasional a dash of clove.)

However, we do recommend that if you do want more pumpkin spice in your life, that you make a homemade version so that you can control the quality and quantity of the spice mix. Just take a few minutes to watch Chow's Supertaster (above) for a cautionary tale on what can happen when you start imbibing commercially produced pumpkin spice products.

In the end, I suspect that pumpkin spice will become for the Fall what peppermint is for the holidays. Like peppermint, there will be a few excellent examples of adding this flavor (Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's!) and an avalanche of poor-to-awful versions. Buyer beware!

Are there any pumpkin spice products that you can recommend?

Related: 7 Ways to Use Pumpkin Pie Spice

(Image: McCormick)

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Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.