History and Significance of Pumpkin Spice

History and Significance of Pumpkin SpiceHistory and Significance of Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin spice remained just another jar on the wall of spices at the supermarket until 2003 when Starbucks released the first pumpkin spice latte or PSL for short. The drink’s nearly instant popularity was the start of what would become one of the biggest trends of the decade. 

One of the biggest points voiced by the curmudgeonly anti-PSL crowd was the fact that the latte with the word pumpkin in its name didn’t actually contain any pumpkin at all. But why would it? 

The flavoring for the pumpkin spice latte is based on McCormick & Company’s Pumpkin Pie Spice, a mix of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices designed specifically to enhance the flavor of pumpkin pie. McCormick’s Pumpkin Pie Spice was released in 1934, but similar homemade spice blends existed long before.

One of the oldest records of a pumpkin spice recipe dates back to 1796 in Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery, though the very first creation of such a spice blend likely came even before that. 

So enjoy your next PSL with pride knowing the long history that has led this blend of spices from modest home kitchens, to the shelves of every grocery store, and even on to become one of the most popular drinks ever created.

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