Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. From pies to spiced lattes to fun fragrances, pumpkin has been the theme for all fall festivities. But when did it start? When did pumpkins become so popular for fall? And why on earth is pumpkin spice so popular? Keep reading to find out.
Oddly enough, the beloved squash was a last-resort food. When other vegetables did not grow bountifully, pumpkin was substituted, as it grew quickly. This started years ago. Pumpkin was introduced to English colonists upon their arrival to North America in the 17th century. The Native Americans had been cultivating this vegetable for many years already. Did you know that pumpkin was actually cultivated by Native Americans before corn was? Fast forward to today, pumpkins continue to live up to their reputation of abundance, as they continue to grow in popularity with pumpkin farms and pumpkin-themed products all fall long.
If you and your loved ones would like to visit a pumpkin farm this year, Mississippi has an incredible selection of them. Here are some places you should visit:
- Sandy Run Farm (Purvis)
- Cedar Hill Farm (Hernando)
- Mitchell Farms (Hattiesburg)
In addition to the traditional fall aesthetic with pumpkins everywhere, pumpkins are used in a variety of dishes that we adore today. Here is a list of America’s favorite ways to use the beloved pumpkin:
- Pumpkin pies
- Pumpkin spice lattes*
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkin soup
- Pumpkin bread
- Pumpkin printed clothing
Now that we’ve gotten the history out of the way, let’s talk about the star of the show: pumpkin spice. We all know one person who loves pumpkin spice. Every fall, this seasonal scent makes its way onto menus and stores, flying off the shelves and selling out almost as quickly as it arrived.
And there may be a reason for the cultural rave about this scent. Research shows that Americans love pumpkin spice because it is a reminder of coziness and warmth— both of which are associated with the fall season. Others believe it subconsciously makes us think about when America was in its colonial era and pumpkins were one of the only crops that could be harvested abundantly. Regardless of the reason, this flavor/scent never fails to do exceptionally well every fall. Here are some local places to get some ingredients to make pumpkin spice-themed foods or to grab it pre-made to go!
- Corner Market. Stop here in Hattiesburg or Jackson to pick up some pumpkin purée, flour, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice seasoning, and nutmeg and let your baking creativity shine!
- T-bones Records and Cafe. This coffee shop has many pumpkin spice drinks, as well as some pumpkin desserts.
- Winn-Dixie. Pick up premade cookies, cupcakes, and other decadent desserts here!
Representing abundance, the pumpkin has been an adored fall symbol for many generations. From exquisite dishes to creative jack-o-lanterns to your favorite variation of the pumpkin spice latte, the imagery of pumpkins (or pumpkin spice) doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. What is your favorite way to incorporate pumpkin spice into your fall food? How do you like to use pumpkins during the fall season? Tell us on the Our Mississippi Home Facebook page.