Pumpkin flavored foods and drinks are fall favorites that leave devotees yearning for them long after they are gone. For pumpkin lovers like myself, fall is my Christmas, birthday and Fourth of July wrapped up into one long, chilly season. When autumn rolls around, I grab my coat and head straight to the grocery store where I’ll find pumpkin pies, pumpkin beers and canned pumpkin just in case I want to foray a little deeper into my adoration. Cinderella may have been upset when she saw her carriage had turned into a pumpkin, but if it were stocked with pumpkin lattes, I think she would have been just fine on the way home.
Pumpkins and pumpkin flavored goods aren’t just for pre-Halloween either. Pumpkin pies are a Thanksgiving favorite and pumpkin beer and coffee is sold well into December. That doesn’t mean I have to enjoy my obsession at a moderate pace, however. What started out as a minor novelty has turned into a phenomenon for chefs, crafty cooks at home and brewers alike. The pumpkin craze has gone well beyond desserts, and restaurateurs and grocers are cashing in on the fervor.
About.com’s Southern Food blogger Diana Rattray has a post devoted to 50 pumpkin recipes that span from breakfast to dinner and every moment in between. One of her more interesting recipes is perfect for those days when the cold seems to sneak up on you. Her pumpkin soup recipe features a bevy of highly used soup ingredients such as parsley, black pepper and garlic as well as some more exotic spices like curry and of course, pumpkin. In just 25 minutes cook and preparation time, Rattray’s recipe is ideal for the pumpkin lover to indulge in one of their favorite flavors while staying away from baked goods, where pumpkin flavor tends to take center stage.
For something a little more dinner and diet friendly, there is Crockpot pumpkin chili, a dish which will certainly keep you warm throughout the long, fall night. The recipe comes from Kalyn’s Kitchen, a website dedicated to healthier recipes with low-glycemic flair. The fall season is always a great time to break out the Crockpot or any slow cooker. With temperatures falling and dusk falling earlier and earlier in the day, it often becomes more difficult to be inspired to cook a big dinner at home. This meal takes anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to cook depending upon temperature used, making it an ideal go-to for pumpkin lovers after a long day of work. An abundance of flavors ranging from cilantro to chili peppers makes it a spicy dish for pumpkin fans looking to venture off from conventional pumpkin recipes.
Pumpkin lovers, quite frequently, are also coffee drinkers. There are a multitude of options for fans of both to get a morning jolt with their ideal flavoring at home or on the go. Many Keurig users are already familiar with Green Mountain Coffee’s dozens of flavors. Italian Blend, Dark Magic Extra Bold and Donut House K-Cups are some of the most popular blends Green Mountain Coffee produces, but there is one currently trumping them all in online sales. Pumpkin fans have flooded the company’s website to get their hands on the Pumpkin Spice blend. With 4/5 stars from an astounding 161 customer reviews, the most for any Green Mountain Coffee product, the limited edition coffee’s popularity is just one of many examples of the pumpkin craze reaching new peaks. For those wishing to spice up their Keurig or slow drip coffee cups with some pumpkin flavor at home, both International Delight and Nestle’s Coffee-Mate creamers come in pumpkin flavors. Silk’s Pumpkin Spice soymilk provides an alternative option for non-dairy cream fans.
For traveling pumpkin coffee lovers, national coffee powerhouses in Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have you covered. Both companies feature a pumpkin flavored coffee that is a favorite amongst its customers. Starbucks, one of the first national chains to be a player in the pumpkin flavored phenomenon, unveiled its Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003. McDonald’s, who has upped its coffee lineup in recent years, rolled out its McCafe Pumpkin Spice Latte in September.
Is there ever a wrong season for beer? Probably not, but some are certainly better than others. The fall season welcomes back Oktoberfest Marzen style beer to shelves at liquor and grocery stores throughout the country. The dark, toastier brew is an autumn favorite for many, but once again, pumpkin rules all. Many breweries both big and small in the United States have taken note. As with other pumpkin flavored delicacies such as dessert and coffee, the level of pumpkin influence varies depending upon the maker. Lakewood, New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company has declared itself royalty with its Pumking beer, a brew high in pumpkin aroma and, comparatively speaking, alcoholic content. The 8.6% ABV has a score of 91 on beeradvocate.com, the report card for all things beer. Budweiser’s Shock Top brand has a lighter pumpkin variation of its own in its Pumpkin Wheat. The 5.2% ABV beverage features a lighter, crispier pumpkin taste suited more for the pumpkin novice.
Those with sweet tooths everywhere can certainly get their pumpkin dessert fix anywhere they turn in October and November, but for those looking to shy away from high sugar pumpkin treats, there are certainly many options. Happy holidays, pumpkin loving friends. Enjoy the season while it’s still around.