The true signal of fall has arrived, the time of year is unmistakable. Pumpkin Spice. There might not be anything as ubiquitous as the fragrant spice blend during the fall season. Despite what you may think, the spice wasn't invented by a popular coffee chain.
Early American settlers in the 1600's used a similar blend of spices when they cooked pumpkin. One of the most common methods then was stewing the pumpkin with a blend of spices, milk, and honey; its own thick skin acting as a cooking vessel in hot ashes. In 1936, the Washington Post published a recipe for “Pumpkin Spice Cakes,” One of the first recorded uses of the name.
Pumpkin Spice is often referred to as smelling and tasting like Pumpkin Pie, but most uses of it now-a-days contain no pumpkin. The blend has become so associated with the big orange gourd that our brains make the connection without a thought. Pumpkin Spice is actually just a blend of 5 spices; Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves, and Allspice.
Around the 1950's some spice companies began selling “Pumpkin Pie Spice,” as convenience for the fall season. Later that was shortened to Pumpkin Spice. As the spice had been around for so long, many American cooks began experimenting with it which led to a variety of dishes we know now. From Lattes to cream cheese, potatoes chips to dog treats; if you can name it, there's probably a Pumpkin Spice version.