When Did Pumpkin Pie Spice Become So Popular?
Over the past three years, Americans have spent over $300 million per year on pumpkin-flavored products. In late September, pumpkin-flavored beer, pumpkin-flavored creamer, pumpkin breads, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin cream cheese, and pumpkin cider fill the shelves of grocery stores around this great country.
Long before pumpkin spice became all the rage, it was a homey and innocent piece of Americana.
One of the earliest references to this type of blend known as “pumpkin spice” was posted in the Washington Post in 1936. Titled “Spice Cake Of Pumpkin Newest Dish: Delicacy Tempting to All Appetites and Easy to Prepare. Ideal Dessert for Family Dinner, Healthful for Children.” Pumpkin sure has come a long way. But even then, a pumpkin spice dessert still seemed to always contain pumpkin.
The popularity probably came when spice companies like McCormick started bundling common spices used in pumpkin pie as “pumpkin pie spice” in the 1950s and then simply as “pumpkin spice” in the 1960s for people who didn’t want to measure out their own “Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Allspice, And Sulfiting Agents.”
It’s a shame that pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice is really only popular for two months out of the year. Besides being great for decorating, and the only vegetable that is carved and lit up, this low-calorie squash is rich in potassium and loaded with beta-carotene (a powerful antioxidant), and its natural sweetness brings flavor to baked goods without any added guilt.
Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. This aids in weight loss as well because a fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds.
Believe it or not, the canned pumpkin retains most of the fiber and nutrients therefore making it almost equally nutritious to the fresh pumpkin. One note to remember is that when making your own fresh pumpkin puree it can be thinner than canned, so you may need to strain.
Give these healthy pumpkin recipes a try.. You may enjoy pumpkin a whole lot longer this season!
Pumpkin Spice Spread
1 container (8 ounces) whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Stir in pecans. Cover.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 14, each serving 2 tablespoons.
Pear and Mixed Green Salad with Pumpkin Pie Vinaigrette
Pumpkin Pie Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
6 cups mixed salad greens
1 pear, cored and cut into 12 slices
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the Pumpkin Pie Vinaigrette, place all ingredients in blender container; cover. Blend on medium speed until well blended.
For the Salad, toss lettuce with vinaigrette in large bowl. Divide among salad plates. Divide pear slices, feta cheese and almonds among each salad.
Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake
Gingersnap Crumb Crust
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (10 graham crackers or 24 small gingersnaps; about 6 oz.)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the Cheesecake
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-ounces can)
For the Crust; Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter pie plate. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
For the Cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Pulse sugar and ginger in a food processor until ginger is finely chopped, then add cream cheese and pulse until smooth. Add eggs, milk, flour, nutmeg, and salt and pulse until just combined.
Reserve 2/3 cup cream cheese mixture in a glass measure. Whisk together remaining 1 1/3 cups cream cheese mixture and pumpkin in a large bowl until combined.
Pour pumpkin mixture into gingersnap crumb crust. Stir reserved cream cheese mixture (in glass measure) and drizzle decoratively over top of pumpkin mixture, then, if desired, swirl with back of a spoon.
Put pie on a baking sheet and bake until center is just set, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then chill, loosely covered with foil, at least 4 hours. If necessary, very gently blot any moisture from surface with paper towels before serving.
Crock Pot Apple Pumpkin Butter
5 lb. apples (about a dozen) cored and chopped into ½-inch dice OR peeled and chopped to avoid blending later
¼ cup apple juice
1 cup maple sugar (or natural cane sugar), divided
2 Tablespoons cinnamon, divided
15 oz. can pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Juice of 1 lemon (1/2 teaspoon)
Place the apples in the slow cooker along with apple juice, ½ cup maple sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook on low for 8 hours until apples are extremely soft (you have apple sauce at this point)
If you did not peel your apples, place cooled apples into your food processor and process until smooth (in two batches). If you did peel your apples, then just mix well in the bowl of your Crock Pot to eliminate chunks At this point the apples can be stored in the fridge for up to a few days.
When ready to turn the applesauce into apple-pumpkin butter, put the applesauce back into the Crock Pot with the rest of your ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated and mixed together.
Cook on high for 4-8 hours, stirring occasionally, until the butter is dark brown and reduced by about a quarter. At this point, taste the butter and if you feel that it needs to be a little sweeter, add up to ¼ cup more sugar until desired sweetness is achieved.
Transfer Apple-Pumpkin Butter to pint size glass jars and store in either fridge or freezer. Apple-Pumpkin Butter can store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, OR in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yogurt
For the Pie Crust Pieces
3/4 C graham crumbs (about 5 sheets)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter, melted
For the Frozen Yogurt
1 C pumpkin, chilled
3/4 C low-fat plain yogurt
1 C low-fat evaporated milk, chilled
1/2 C fat free sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. ginger
Preheat oven to 350.
In a small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and butter until well combined. Press crumb mixture into a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Break graham layer into pieces.
While the graham cracker crust is cooling, stir together pumpkin, yogurt, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
Add yogurt base to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. When frozen yogurt becomes soft-set, remove to a freezer-safe container. Sprinkle graham pieces over the top and swirl into the frozen yogurt using a spoon. Place frozen yogurt in the freezer and freeze one hour or until it has reached desired consistency. Serve.