I guess I missed the memo...
Ok, so its October. I know this because despite my 24/7 access to virtual calendars on my iBook, my work computer, my ipad AND my iPhone (Whhhyyyyy?) I woke up on October 1st with a flood of emails to my inbox bombarding me with recipes for pumpkin flavored everything. EVERYTHING. Not only the typical pumpkin bread and pumpkin cupcakes, but pumpkin pasta, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin waffles. Pump. Kin. Everything. I guess I missed the mandatory pumpkin email I was supposed to send to you guys on Octobereve. Whoops, sorry guys. I’ll work on it for next year.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of pumpkin. Pumpkin season seems to epitomize fall, just as mint chocolate and candy canes summarize the Christmas season. However, as I am in my second fall of following a primal diet, pumpkin spiced foods just don’t have the same allure as they once had. Although delicious, I’ve found that lots of the store bought bases for pumpkin spice either have a lot of added sugars, or, in the liquid form, high fructose corn syrup. Thanks, but no thanks, pumpkin season.
For all of my fellow pumpkin-loving fans, I’ve decided to post the basics of any pumpkin recipe: pumpkin spice. In stores this is usually called “pumpkin pie spice”, but you can easily make it on your own for a fraction of the cost and an unbelievably higher quality.
It is my opinion that, just like buying shoes, the quality of spices is paramount to the integrity and overall product of the dish. (You know how those $400 Frye boots makes your $20 jeans look more expensive and tailored? The same concept applies here.) Just like there is a huge difference between the taste of fresh garlic and garlic powder, the difference between high quality spices and low quality spices has a vast difference in your meal, not to mention a lower probability that your dried spices contain things like mold and insect parts. Seriously.
There are a lot of really great spice stores out there, but one of my favorites, from as far back as the late 90s when I was learning how to cook in the kitchen with my dad, is The Spice House in Old Town, Chicago. Not in the Chicago area? No worries, they ship from their website.
Another one of my favorites is the Spice and Tea Exchange in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Not only are the spices fantastic smelling, but their teas are excellent, and after you buy something from them, you can head straight to a walk on the beach. It’s a win-win.
Of course, high quality everything is the best for making this pumpkin spice blend, but if you had to choose, its best to go with high quality cinnamon and allspice. Cinnamon because it is the bulk of this blend, and allspice because it has a lot of dynamic flavors; I think these flavors of this ground berry that are lost within the cheaper varieties of the spice. (Bet you didn’t know that allspice was a berry, huh?) Anyway, once you have all your fabulous spices, this pumpkin spice blend is easy to put together. It will take under 5 minutes, will last a good while, and takes any plain pumpkin dish to a pumpkin spiced dish. You. Are. Welcome.
primal-friendly pumpkin spice blend
- 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp. ground ginger
- ¾ tsp. ground cloves
- ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¾ tsp. ground allspice
- Combine all spices into a glass container or old, clean spice jar and shake. Spices should be well mixed.
- Store in in a cool, dry, place.