The Spice Has Arrived!
Author/Editor: Jennifer J. Lacelle
Date : September 23, 2021
It’s that time of year where we explore the great outdoors and the trees’ bright red and orange leaves, pumpkin patches, carve jack-o-lanterns, bake up some pies and treat ourselves to pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin, without added sugar and flours, can actually be pretty healthy for you.
The flesh of the pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A. This cool little nutrient is good for vision, immunity, reproduction, growth, etc. The squash also has minute traces of magnesium, zinc, vitamin b, and phosphorus.
It’s also jam-packed with anti-oxidants that will help your body deal with free radicals.
The seeds can be eaten as well and are just as beneficial, on top of providing you another source of protein. Like the flesh, there are vitamins to be found. But did you know that the seeds also have an amino acid, tryptophan, which is good for sleep!
So, what are some fun and cute ideas for the pumpkin season?
You might be surprised to find new trails and walkways in your own city. It was surprising to wander down the trails of Barrie and find multiple apple trees free to pick. Many people stopped to grab a few on their walk. Autumn is the perfect time to grab these fresh, delicious treats.
Even if you do go out of your way to find a trail away from home, you’ll be sure to discover some stunning paths just alive with colour. In Ontario, you’ll find hundreds of cool spaces that are like walking a fairy tale. Here are some great examples: Grieg’s Caves, Bruce’s Caves, the Cup and Saucer Trail, Bridal Veil Falls, and Eramosa Karst.
While every farm will have unique features for their clients to explore, there are some key ingredients that comprise most patches. Usually, there will also be a corn maze to try and escape — almost like a labyrinth.
Of course, depending on the size of the field and age of participants it could go up or down in difficulty. It’s also the perfect spot for a photo session, either with your kids, significant other or friends. Just think of all the wild fun you’ll have posing for photos in a field filled with colours.
The themes are endless: farmer, witches and wizards, pets, farm animals, mother nature and father time.
You might also find small rides on the back of a trailer where the hay bales are transported. They should have safety features installed should that be the case, but there’s nothing like a ride of the farm to enjoy the fresh air, glistening fall leaves and chat with friends.
Some people may grow out of the phase to carve a pumpkin or two, but some of the artwork out there is now astounding. If you have children, grandchildren, younger cousins, friends with children, teach children, etc. you may inspire their inner artist with this fun little activity. You can get carving tools at the Dollar Store or Dollarama for a few bucks, then you’ll be well on your way to your masterpieces.
Some people use pen or marker to outline their design, shading with the marker can also be helpful if you’re going for intricate. Once you take the top off and scoop out all the gooey goodness inside, you can begin cutting into the skin.
Depending on how much flesh you manage to scoop out, you may be able to make a solid pie or two. But first, spices assemble!
Pumpkin Pie Spice
What are the great signs of a majestic pumpkin pie? Well, first of all, the spices are an integral part of the fall flavourings. What are some of these tasty spices, you ask? Cinnamon Ahhh… the staple of fall flavour. True cinnamon comes from the country of Sri Lanka (which used to be known as Ceylon), South America, West Indies, the Malabar Coast in India and Myanmar (previously Burma).
There are some related plants that you can pass off as cinnamon if you’re seeking alternatives a little less costly. Think cassia or loureiroi, as examples. It is a versatile spice and often used for essential oil, liquors, perfumes, and baking or drink ingredients.
Its history is a little more complex, however, as ancient Egyptians used to seek out this spice for use in embalming and religious ceremonies. Europe, in the Medieval age, used it for religious practices and flavouring.
The nut of the tropical evergreen tree, Myristicaceae, is a warmly sweet flavoured spice that’s found in many delectable treats — especially eggnog and pumpkin pies! Generally harvested from Indonesia, it’s made the trip around the world as a highly desired ingredient.
The Romans used to use the spice as incense, ground down, despite having a slightly pungent aroma. As it became more popular, around 1600, whole seeds were dipped in lime to prevent others from growing their own fields. The trees can get as tall as 65-feet and begin yielding crop about eight years in.
It looks and tastes like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves but the dried-out berry is actually just itself: pimenta diocia (from a tropical evergreen tree).
But the mixture of flavour is how people came up with the name. Originally found in the West Indies and Central America, it made its way to Europe in 1601. There are other plants that have a similar aroma and flavour from various parts of the world though.
There is Japanese allspice, Carolina allspice, and wild allspice (spicebush). These are native to various locations, but seem to be grown in quantity in Europe. Those are just some of the spices commonly used in pumpkin flavouring, you can also find cloves and ginger.
Pumpkin Spice Mixture
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes available to you when it comes to creating your ultimate spice mix. Sure, you could go to the store and buy the box labeled Pumpkin Spice.
But if you create your own concoction that’s the perfect balance for your tastebuds then why not take the five minutes to treat yourself? You wait that long in line for a coffee, on average.
Cinnamon is the top ingredient when it comes to mixing your ingredients. It’s the largest portion of your mixture. From there, use half that amount for cloves and then half the amount from cloves for nutmeg. You can also replace or add in your ginger and allspice.
You can make these in small mason jars (easily found at a dollar store). You simply add, shake, and keep stored airtight.
4 tsp of Cinnamon
2 tsp of Ginger
1 tsp of Cloves
½ tsp of Nutmeg
4 tsp of Cinnamon
2 tsp of Ginger
1 tsp of Allspice
1 tsp of Nutmeg
¼ tsp of Cloves
Give them a whirl and see what your taste buds say. You might find yourself adding this new mixture to your coffee, tea, muffins, cookies, or even chicken!