October is the month of shorter days, longer scarves and of course, pumpkin spice everything! But what exactly is pumpkin spice and why do we crave it as the weather turns cold? It turns out, there’s a very good reason…
A spicy history…
Pumpkin spice has become a big trend and you can now find it in everything from vodka to breakfast cereal! But pumpkin spice existed long before even the iconic pumpkin spice latte. But where did it come from?
It’s actually a blend of spices that are commonly added to pumpkin pie, a popular American comfort food. The mix usually includes ginger, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. In the 1950s, well known spice companies like McCormick started bundling together common spices used in the pumpkin pie recipe, as they discovered that consumers preferred a ready-made concoction to measuring out their own baking mix. Originally labelled “pumpkin pie spice”, from the 1960s onwards it was shortened to “pumpkin spice”. Although this spice mix doesn’t contain any actual pumpkin, the association between the two has remained. That’s right, there’s no actual pumpkin in ‘pumpkin spice’! (we are just as outraged as you are!)
But this spice mix is not really an American invention at all, the same spice mix has been used by lots of different cultures through out history, including in Indian Masala Chai and Middle Eastern baklava. Cut out the artificial ingredients and pumpkin spice is actually an ancient, culinary combination that’s existed for millennia! The reason this may be such a popular combination is that together these ingredients are great at warding off a cold. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it the perfect mix to boost your immune system. Ginger is also a well-known stimulant which improves circulation and blood flow to keep you warm.
So there’s the reason for your pumpkin spice latte cravings, it’s your bodies way of preparing for flu season (just hold off on the whipped cream!)
You can feed your #PSL cravings the healthy way with our Pumpkin Spice Chai:
real pumpkin pieces, whole leaf Sumatran tea and a mix of whole spices including cinnamon, aniseed, ginger, black peppercorns and chicory.
Try is as an unsweetened latte with almond milk for a healthy, cold destroying, Autumn treat!