It’s October and you know what that means – it’s pumpkin spice season. So, what’s inside this must-have fall flavor and is it really good for us? Used the right way, pumpkin spice is a nutritional powerhouse. Take a look at the benefits of this popular spice and pump-kin yourself up.
This favorite spice is full of antioxidants that help ease inflammation. It’s been suggested it lowers blood sugar, relieves digestive discomfort and reduces blood pressure. This spice comes from the inner bark of a small evergreen tree where the bark is peeled and laid in the sun to dry where it curls up into rolls known as cinnamon sticks – who knew!
Known for its warm nutty flavor, this little seed is loaded with benefits. Commonly found in its ground form, this traditional herbal medicine is used to improve digestion, treat insomnia, relieve joint pain and improves brain activity. Fun fact – mix it with honey and use it as a face scrub for healthy, supple skin.
Best known to help your queasy stomach, this tropical plant is perfect for helping with morning sickness to motion sickness. Its anti-inflammatory assets work to soothe migraine and muscle pain. While a ginger plant can grow up to 4 feet tall, it is the rhizome – the underground stem – that we eat.
If it could be renamed, Allbenefits would be appropriate due to the multitude of health benefits associated with these dried berries. Uses include easing a toothache or headache, settling an upset stomach, reducing inflammation and boosting your immunity. Though it is not a mixture of spices, in the early 17th century it was named allspice due to its combination of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors.
Though the image of the school art project of an orange mercilessly stabbed with these little brown stems comes to mind, cloves have many uses that raise its level of usefulness. It ranks highest in antioxidant levels, relieves congestion, heals minor cuts, and may reduce chronic inflammation. Place crushed cloves on your kitchen counter and the scent will send ants off in another direction.
10 Ways To Pumpkin Spice It Up
1. ROASTED VEGETABLES
Season sweet veggies, like sweet potatoes, carrots or winter squash, then slide the pan into the oven for yummy goodness.
2. COFFEE SWEETNER
Mix in some pumpkin spice with your coffee grounds and brew for just the right sweetness for your morning cup of java.
3. SPICE UP NUTS
Use pumpkin spice instead of other seasonings when making spiced nuts. Most spiced nuts freeze well so place in snack-sized baggies and grab one when your sweet tooth craving calls.
4. DELICIOUS WHIPPED CREAM
Mix into whipped cream and add a dollop to your slice of apple or pecan pie. Want to go further? Spoon onto an English Muffin in the morning and you’ll be smiling all day.
5. PANCAKE BATTER
Nothing says good morning like a stack of steaming fluffy pumpkin pancakes. Just mix in about a half teaspoon pumpkin spice per one cup of pancake batter and yumminess follows.
6. TRY IT IN PASTA
Pumpkin ravioli is the rage so try out this sauce. Whip up some sage butter sauce with pumpkin spice as a mix-in. Are you really eating dinner or is this dessert?
7. POPS ON POPCORN
Lightly mist your popped popcorn with oil spray then sprinkle on pumpkin spice. Skip the salt and opt for this touch of sweetness. Or use both for a sweet/salty treat.
8. SASSY CINNAMON ROLLS
The secret is in the filling in these homemade rolls – mix up one tablespoon butter, a couple tablespoons of canned pumpkin puree, half cup brown sugar and two and a half teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. Want them quick? Grab a tube of cinnamon rolls from the grocer’s refrigerated shelf.
9. HOMEMADE LIQUEUR
Find your favorite pumpkin spice liqueur recipe online and rather than steeping whole spices in aged rum, sprinkle in a few teaspoons of pumpkin spice into the mix. This is the recipe to sip your fall evenings away.
10. PUMPKIN SPICED LATTE
Did you really think we’d skip this one? Mix together a cup of brewed coffee, half cup of warm milk, a touch of vanilla extract, and a smidgen of sugar. Sprinkle with pumpkin spice. Warning, this may become a daily habit!
Mix It Up
Craving some pumpkin spice but no time for a grocery run? Reach into your spice cabinet and whip it up yourself.
- 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 ½ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon