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Support group for those unexcited by pumpkin-related seasonal products.

I can't be alone in this. It's partly the fact that the smell of clove or allspice makes me feel sick. I also am not a huge nutmeg fan. I see people raving over pumpkin cookies, lattes, ice cream - pretty much everything you could cram pumpkin flavoring into, someone will cram pumpkin flavoring into it. It seems like everything is pumpkin this type of year - I'm surprised that there's no Pumpkin Spice Coke or Drunken Punkin Chardonnay or anything (obviously there are dozens of pumpkin beers). Does anyone else automatically stifle a gag reflex when the Great Pumpkin Invasion begins?

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  1. I can relate somewhat, even though I love nutmeg and do not mind the pumpkin pie spice mix... as long as it does not invade all the places I go to.

    The "pumpkin flavouring" that one sees everywhere now, lattes, ice-cream etc. - it has absolutely nothing to do with the taste of the pumpkin itself, just the spice mix. You can probably throw the spices into a latte and call it pumpkin pie latte even though there is not even a slightest hint of "pumpkin" anywhere.

    When you start smelling the same strong mix of spices everywhere, it can get tiring. I have a free room freshener pack, sitting around for years, that has the "Christmas" smell which is essentially the same. I have absolutely no clue how and where I want to use it.

    If only they focus on other types of squash products, that would be more refreshing. How about pumpkin fries? But seasoned with something spicy and salty, please.

    1. While I adore pumpkins and squash in all forms, nutmeg, cinnamon and what we attribute to pumpkin spice, this time of year in NJ and everything Fall has to offer, seeing the laundry list of "jump on the band wagon pumpkin spiced products" is not great news. It represents just one more food thing I love that's gone the way of popularity. One more thing I love that gets watered down by hundreds of brand wannabees.

      So, be my guest get unexcited but for those of us who actually enjoy the real thing-understand the fake thing sucks.

      1. I like pumpkin seeds, but pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie-esque products are not for me.

        1. Whatever you don't, don't go to Trader Joe's this year if you hate pumpkin. I just came back from there and they have pumpkin everything--waffles, biscotti, croissants, oatmeal, ... I love pumpkin so I'll back out of this thread.

          16 Replies
            1. re: Kholvaitar

              I sure hope you got over there before the last jar was gone! I did :)

              1. re: HillJ

                I'm not a fan of nearly anything pumpkin but I'm pondering trying this, maybe it'll make me a convert. Is it really sweet?

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  It is on the sweet side which is why I like it swirled in tart Greek plain yogurt. It cuts the sweetness but goes really well in combination.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I'm getting sick of my usual yogurt combinations so perhaps I'll give this a try.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      I'll be curious to hear what you think.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        I'll be sure to report back if I "risk" it. I'm not much for sweet things but the combination might be nice.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          If it's any help, I don't care for sweet things either. Less the older I get. I bake sweets all the time but I'm rather fussy about what I consume in the sweets dept.

                          I started out trying the pumpkin butter as a gift idea because it was cheaper to buy it than make it for gift baskets. TJ's with the plain Greek yogurt turned out to be something I really liked. An unexpected surprise.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Great, thanks. I'm a Fage fan but have also have the TJs Greek yogurt on my list every week and yet never walk out with it so maybe I'll just pair the two. I just wish it came in smaller containers although I guess yogurt lasts a while.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              I have six full fat individual serving size Fage Greek's in my frig right now. I use those.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                That's my go to. For some reason I pondered trying the 2% and 0% this week...hmm, strange. I've only ever had the full fat. I think I have one or two left so was planning to stock up this week but maybe I'll mix and match and add TJs to the bunch. Have you tried the lower fat versions of Fage?

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Oh sure, 2% for baking and 0% for smoothies. Full fat I like w/breakfast fruit or puree. I haven't had the TJ's Greek in quite some time. I can't recall if I like it. My backup to Fage is Costco's Kirkland Greek.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I see, thanks. I often will make dips with yogurt and I'm wondering if 0% would taste similar to full fat, probably should stick to 2% for that though. I'm very new to Greek yogurt but loving it. Have you tried the Icelandic Skyr?

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      Yes, I have. Skyr, the Siggi's brand is lighter, thinner much less sweet. WF and A&P carry it around my area. The orange ginger is the one I usually go for.

                                      For a dip I'd go Fage 2% for the body it will give the dip. Full fat would of course be fine. 0% is thin. I only use 0% in smoothies because I add a banana and an egg which give full body to the smoothie thickness.

                                      No right or wrong, just preference.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        I love Siggi's vanilla yogurt - it's more tart than the Fage but delicious especially mixed with berries.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          Next time I see the brand I'll give the vanilla a try,

          1. every year. its a squash. its an oversized squash at that. and as you point out, its mostly a delivery vehicle for spices that have been sitting in the back of the drawer or cabinet since last fall. If you want cinnamon, but some cinnamon flavored cereal. most 'pumpkin' flavor pie fillings are actually made from butternut squash - because it's easier to deal with than 'real' pumpkin. and with all the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice you could probably make it from zucchini and never know the difference.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              My grandmother always made her pumpkin pie from Hubbard squash. It was better "pumpkin" than pumpkin.

              1. re: cayjohan

                In central PA my fiancée's family uses long next pumpkin for pumpkin pie. I prefer it. Plus they only use cinnamon which I also like better than the other spices.

            2. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

              If pumpkin beer is so great, the Belgians would have done it centuries ago.

              I love squash, which means some types of pumpkin. But I do not want it in my coffee, ice cream, or cough medicine. Now I am going to the market just to count how many seasonal pumpkin products I can find.

              2 Replies
              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                I don't mind the experimentation aspect of any of it, it's just that not every one is a winner.

                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                  COUGH medicine? Jeez. That I have not yet seen. :/

                2. I have never understood the fascination, never have probably never will. At least it's predictable that this time every year the world will be "pumpkin"-flavored.

                  1. To me it smells like Impending Doom. I am one of Those who stresses, rightly or wrongly, about Thanksgiving, and the arrival of the pumpkin-spiced stuffs just starts the stressing off early. Plus, I'm not really a fan of pumpkin pie - it's a nice enough flavor at one small slice a year, but it doesn't appeal to me otherwise. And doesn't really appeal to me as flavor for other things.

                    I prefer my pumpkin dishes to be savory.

                    I think I also experience a little seasonal dissonance with what is considered pumpkin season for cooking. We always bought the large pumpkins for carving when the kids were growing up, but I never cooked with them after, in "season." At the same time, we could buy other varieties of pumpkins to keep around the house as, well, decorations - but with a purpose. Around March, as a sort of herald of spring, we always start roasting and eating our various "decor" pumpkins. Assuming they remain intact (a ding in the flesh can rot them), they are so delicious at that point. So, pumpkin always seems to me like a springtime dish (although I do associate other hard squashes with fall).

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: cayjohan

                      I guess the seasonality of the fad always struck me. I understand why it's seasonal but no one seems to care bout pumpkin any other time of the year. I like many foods but I usually like them throughout the year and will attempt to make them if I can. I mean pumpkin pie can be made with caned pumpkin all year and Starbucks can make fake pumpkin syrup all year so I just never understood why if it's so great it's limited to a few months. Clearly, availability is an issue, but it's not completely unavailable other times of the year.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Was a time (only five years back) I could only find pure canned pumpkin from end of Sept to end of November. In recent years, there were shortages affecting canned pumpkin not appearing on shelves in diff parts of the country. Fresh squash, including pumpkin varieties, pretty much the same thing seasonal growing reasons but also the quality or lack in crops. Pumpkin products "galore" is a fairly new wrinkle. And there's a decent number of losers in that category!

                        This year, pumpkin started appearing in August for .89/can. .99 a lb. Merchants tell me pumpkin is so popular now canned is avail year round now ('cept shortages).

                        I use it year round but since my recipes tend to be savory to holiday fare, other than a pumpkin mousse I make year round, most of my pumpkin cooking/baking is during the most popular months.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I remember how hard it was to find canned pumpkin "out of season!" For years we had a digestively-challenged dog who needed canned pumpkin mixed into his food to keep digestive things friendly. I has some serious challenges finding canned all year and would stock up to the point of hoarding, just for the dog!

                          1. re: cayjohan

                            As posted above, I don't like pumpkin. BUT way back in the 70s when I first started in the bakery business as a purchasing agent, I was instructed to buy 200 cases of canned pumkin on December 1st. No it wasn't cheaper after Thanksgiving. The owner and chief cake/pastry baker (other opartner was in charge of breads) explained to me that canned pumpkin needed to age at least one year before being good enough to use in his baked goods.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              I heard that from a pastry chef friend many years ago.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                That's really interesting; I had no idea. (Likely since I was hoarding it as dog food, I guess, and not for baking.) Still, I've noticed a wonderful richness and sweetness to the various pumpkins I overwinter as decor around the house and then roast in the spring. I thought it might have just been in my head.

                          2. re: fldhkybnva

                            Seasonality is the whole point. The modern world sorta sucks because fewer and fewer experiences are seasonal. When my wife and I got married (30 years or so ago) there were still seasons for fruit and if you found a rare spot that had some unusual imports, you paid through the nose (kiwis and starfruit were rare delicacies -- and very expensive).

                            So I at least appreciate the charade of seasonality to pumpkin, gingerbread, egg nog, maple flavored-whatever.

                            1. re: ferret

                              Ok, ferret, you have a point :) It is nice but perhaps not the fanaticism. I too look forward to certain seasons of particular fruits and veggies, you won't catch me eating raspberries anymore in winter but I load up when their in season in warmer months but there doesn't seem to be the same obsession with these other seasonal things despite being darn tasty.

                          3. re: cayjohan

                            I'm with you on savory pumpkin dishes. Braising pork belly and adding kabocha for the last 15-20 minutes...

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              Not being a particular fan of pumpkin, I have never tried it, but there is an Afghan restaurant in Baltimore and everyone raves about the savory pumpkin appetizer, it seems to be the destination dish. I really should try it given that I've learned repeatedly that an ingredient is not always what you think it is when prepared in a different way.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                Pumpkin adds a natural subtle sweetness to savory dishes that I find appealing.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Pumpkin is a staple in middle-eastern cuisine. I've never had an Afghan savory pumpkin dish but they sound appealing. At a harvest fair a few years ago, a woman from Egypt (I think - she was an immigrant from the middle east) was selling little bags of candied pumpkin, which was delicious. It did not have much spicing. She explained a lengthy process of cooking/steeping in syrup and drying; if memory serves, this was done over and over.

                              2. re: cayjohan

                                On Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor has remarked that the best pumpkin pie you've ever tasted isn't that much different than the worst pumpkin pie you've ever tasted. There's a kernel of truth there. People like a slice or two when the year winds down, but if it they thought it's all that great, it'd be more popular year round.

                                I made the mistake one year of buying Costco's gargantuan model, because it's always raved over and costs only $6. But I live alone. It monopolized a whole shelf in the fridge until I threw the remainder out after a week. I'd tried freezing and thawing a piece, with poor results, so even though I hate wasting food, I gave it to the squirrels.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  I once by accident made an amazing pumpkin pie. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I ran across a recipe for pumpkin mousse pie. I ran out to the store and got the ingredients. I was just starting to make it when a few old friends stopped by with a bottle of really good whiskey. We ended up killing the bottle, then I made the pie. I know I didn't follow the directions correctly, and I think some rum or whiskey made it into the pie. But it was so light and fluffy and damn tasty.

                              3. I enjoy pumpkin pie but that's about it. I don't want spicy, pumpkin flavors in my coffee or anything else. Pumpkin goes in pie and that's it as far as I'm concerned.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Njchicaa

                                  Pumpkin pie always baffles me. I actually had never associated an orange colored pie with pumpkin until college. In our quite Southern family an orange pie = a sweet potato pie. I visited a friend's family in college and sliced up the orange pie super excited for one of the few desserts that I can't get enough of and alas I was stunned to learn it was pumpkin and my taste buds weren't too much of a fan. My grandmother is still shocked by this pumpkin pie thing, it's hilarious. However, now if I bring any friends home for Thanksgiving, she always asks if they like pumpkin pie and if so she will make special pies for them using a recipe that she acquired from a friend in her cards club.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    You should try making a pie with kabocha squash (also called butterCUP). It tastes like a mixture of acorn squash and sweet potato. As a vegetable, I bake it. It is so good as is that it doesn't need any embellishment.

                                2. I like pumpkin in baked goods, and in ice cream, but not necessarily with the spices that go in pie. Some Mexican spices would be good with it.

                                  I usually roast a pumpkin or two in the fall, and use them in chili or some dessert. I have some in the freezer, and wanted to make some pumpkin cream cheese frozen yogurt this simmer, but thought that our guests would think it odd that time of year.

                                  1. Depends on what it is, but the idea of pumpkin coffee made me throw up a little in my mouth...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      CH, it's not the pumpkin in the coffee, its the spices!
                                      It does sound misleading, but for some of these seasonal products, it's just the pie spices they are using - nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves...

                                    2. I love pumpkin and use it fairly regularly throughout the year. I like those spices, too, though they are certainly not the only spices I use with pumpkin.

                                      I loathe pumpkin product season. It annoys the hell out of me. And while I absolutely love my neighborhood coffee shop, I will never try the pumpkin latte. Ick.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: debbiel

                                        Basically how I feel. I like pumpkin bread and other baked goods, and I use it when it's in season. But I get really tired of seeing "Oh, I need a pumpkin spice latte right now!" pop up on my news feed.

                                        I guess I feel that way about everything faddish, though. I've always been a bit of a hipster in denial.

                                      2. I really don't care for these pumpkin products either. The whole pumpkin beer thing. I know it was a colonial era product, and George Washington used to make it, but I have yelled at a friend of mine because he was the first one to bring it back. In 1985 he found GW's recipe and notes and had a big pumpkin growing in his garden, and the rest was history. Gag! (Although his first pumpkin beer had pumpkin in it, after that he just used pumpkin pie spices, and there was actually no pumpkin in it.)

                                        Last night I was at my bi-weekly spirits tasting panel for a distillery trade magazine. We had several pumpkin flavored products to gag on, I mean try. Pumpkin & spice vodka, pumpkin & spice bourbon, pumpkin & spice cream liqueur, pumpkin & spice coffee liqueur.

                                        1. Unspiced canned pumpkin is a good dinner additive for dogs with indigestion. Otherwise, I am with you. Perhaps because I once went to school with a guy who smoked clove cigarettes, and he was later arrested for a horrible crime.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: mwhitmore

                                            do beware of how much pumpkin you give your dog...it acts as a laxative, so just a spoonful or two (depending on size) is plenty.

                                            Dogs *love* pumpkin -- mine dug mine up out of the compost pile a few years ago and ate it....yeah...Drano for Dogs.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              The canned pumpkin seems to swing both ways in that "fixin' what ails ya" way vis-a-vis dog digestion. Our dog's issue was wateriness in the gut; a couple of heaping tablespoons of canned pumpkin in his food every day firmed things right up.

                                              1. re: cayjohan

                                                The fiber brings consistancy to a more normal range.

                                          2. I think pumpkin is great, but products with the artificial taste of pumpkin are undesirable. Jamba Juice at one point was on my college's meal plan (many years ago), and I did like the pumpkin shake on offer. However, I stopped ordering it when I naively realized that it merely contained pumpkin pie mix, among other unnecessary ingredients.

                                            That said, if Japanese and Korean restaurants started employing the orange squash in their fall menus, that's a victory.

                                            1. You are alone on this, as far as I am concerned.

                                              I relish the flavors and the aromas of Autumn, and can barely contain my enthusiasm, as it approaches.



                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                I think you're in the minority on this thread.

                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                  It certainly looks like it, but I am not worried, as I am used to being in the minority.


                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    Never fear - there is an alternate thread for pumpkin lovers out there somewhere. The internet is amazing that way. You can hang out with us until you find a group that works for you. :)

                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  Autumn is my favorite season. The farmers market in autumn is an absolute joy for me. I do more cooking in autumn than in other seasons. I love everything autumn. Except for pumpkin lattes and pumpkin beers and other inappropriately pumpkined foods.

                                                3. I love winter squashes - and pumpkin is one of many - but IMHO they stand up well on their own. This whole "pumpkin pie spice" mania puzzles me: it ignores the whole range of savory pumpkin recipes and thinks "pumpkin spice" just refers to pies. Not that there's anything wrong with pumpkin pie, but why assume everyone uses the same spices?

                                                  1. Oh, so little do you know my young friends. I am living in Germany, and for your amazement I present the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin festival! Not only pumpkin wine, pumpkin beer, and every possible pumpkin-based version of food, but a gigantic T-Rex made of pumpkins. They race the pumpkins on the river! Pumpkin popcorn, pumpkin burgers, pumpkin strudel... This is the most awesome, over the top, most probably obsessive-compulsive event I have ever had the chance to witness.


                                                    1. I actively dislike the combo of spices known as "pumpkin pie spice". I believe this dislike stems from frequenting a now-defunct high end shopping complex where the competing aromas from a tea shop that had a perpetual pot of spiced tea brewing in the doorway and those emanating from a (very bad) adjacent seafood restaurant combined to create a spectacularly nauseating miasma (and I am not very scent-sensitive). The complex is long gone but I am scarred for life.

                                                      I love all winter squash varieties and I love brown sugar, honey, Grade B maple syrup and molasses, but not together. Butter, salt and maybe some herbs on my squash, please.

                                                      You are definitely NOT alone in your lack of enthusiam for pumpkin season.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Pwmfan

                                                        I also am not smell-averse as a rule, but I hear you. My late father's assisted living apartments seemed to pump a fragrance of sweet spices/pumpkin/apple into the hallways and it was overwhelming. While I could see the "smells from home" mindset they were pursuing, it was rather cloying.

                                                        I think we are in the same market, so I'll say there is a restaurant group here that has a couple of outlets that serve, for the most part, nice food, but the overwhelming smell of sweet-spiced tea keeps me away. I am realizing how much the sweet spice smell puts me off.

                                                        Bring on the thyme and garlic for winter squashes and pumpkins!

                                                      2. One more anti-pumpkin Chowhound here. I have never even tasted pumpkin pie and I still know that I don't like it.

                                                        We are going to buy pumpkins for the outside of our house this weekend (those are okay!) but my husband is fully in charge of carving one with my daughter. The smell of pumpkin is nasty.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                          I'm with you on the smell of raw pumpkin - ditto winter squash - but cooked, they are a different animal. When I was a kid, I wouldn't try parmesan because it smells like feet. It's not very chow-ish, IMO, to claim you know you don't like something you haven't tasted. I won't taste grubs because the idea repels me, but I won't claim I know I don't like the taste. I don't *adore* pumpkin pie, but enjoy an occasional slice. Pumpkin mousse pie and pumpkin cheesecake are better, IMO.

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            It's all semantics. The idea of pumpkin pie repels me. But thank you for the lecture.

                                                        2. It's much worse for me, NOT only do I loathe anything Pumpkin, but I despise cranberry and eggnog.

                                                          Now that native sweetcorn season is about finished, talk to me in time to drink the champagne on New Year's Eve.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                            Bagel, come back to Florida for some mango-key lime pie!

                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                              gah!!! the hate for eggnog deserves its own thread. it's like what a baby spits up.

                                                              pumpkin this and that, and as mentioned it's not pumpkin-flavored anything, it's the pie spice mixture that is pervasive this time of year.

                                                              i do not care for winter squashes of any sort, in any form. ever. why ruin perfectly good butter and sugar with squash as pie? blech.

                                                              fwiw, i did see this in a store recently:


                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                Home made egg nog with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a shot of rum can taste pretty good, but few make it from scratch any more. The Hood brand in your area is passable. Elsewhere, I once bought a quart carton that was SOOO bad I had to go read the label. There was not a single ingredient that had ever been inside a chicken or a cow. I think it was manufactured in Bayonne.

                                                                1. re: Veggo


                                                                  the texture is so off-putting i cannot bear the thought of ingesting the stuff. ever.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    How do you feel about creme anglais? It seems similar enough to eggnog. FWIW, I don't drink eggnog but one of my favorite trifles is an eggnog trifle. It doesn't use eggnog but uses egg yolks/cream/alcohol which is essentially a custard.

                                                                    This is the type of home made eggnog I would drink:


                                                                    Beaten egg whites aside, it's very similar to a creme anglais.

                                                                    This is the eggnog trifle I made. Disputably, it's a tiramisu. I think the whole dessert is misnamed but it's good.


                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      not a fan and i do not like ice cream either.

                                                                  2. re: Veggo

                                                                    *I* make egg nog from scratch. Can't stand the storebought stuff.

                                                                    Rebel that I am, I make it with raw egg yolks.

                                                                    Veggo, sent you a mail...check your inbox

                                                              2. I like pumpkin, like pumpkin pie spices, and have been known to have a pumpkin-pie latte on occasion.

                                                                We've just returned from France, where pumpkin pie could only be made if you bought and roasted the potiron, because canned pumpkin doesn't exist anywhere except the overpriced expat shops. (Not entirely a bad thing - roasted potiron makes a pie with stellar flavor, but the labor involved means you get pretty picky about what recipes you make)

                                                                So this year I was pretty excited to see pumpkin flavored goodies on the shelf...and after I tried a couple, have backed away in horror....the overwhelming notes of industrial food flavorings is gag-inducing, and I threw away an entire package of pumpkin cookies with white-chocolate chips. It sounded good, but tasted awful.

                                                                So I'll stay on the side of pumpkin lovers, but I'll also leave a wide berth from the bandwagon because of industrial yuck.

                                                                1. While I like pumpkin pie and many spices have their places in my cooking, this seasonal fad of pumpkin pie lattes, etc. is very, very off putting. Coffee is supposed to taste like coffee, not like pumpkin pie and not like eggnog. Beer is supposed to taste like beer. No, I don't want a slice of your seasonal quick bread, thank you. No, I'll pass on the pumpkin blizzard, the pumpkin ice cream, and the pumpkin pie bars made from the recipe you saved from a thirty year old magazine. Ok, on Thanksgiving I will have a slice of pumpkin pie but only if it has a good home made crust, fresh spices, and no "topping" that comes from a can or a tub!

                                                                  1. I hate all this fake pumpkin flavored crap. But, Drunken Punkin Chardonnay, that is tooooo funny! I would actually pay to try that!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Kat

                                                                      The pumpkin vodka, beer and hard cider was disappointing and waaaaaaaaay to sweet.

                                                                      1. re: HillJ


                                                                        is that one thing? vodka-beer-hard cider all in one? lol.

                                                                    2. I love real pumpkin and all squashes. And I love the spices that go with them. What I don't love is all the fake pumpkin flavored junk, including pumpkin beer.