Pumpkin psyched out?

It’s that time of year again when we participate in an abundance of over-hyped activities because “fall.” These activities may include hayrides, carving pumpkins, or attending a fall festivals. If you have done any of those things, there is a good chance you’ve had a pumpkin-spiced latte in hand.

The pumpkin spice hype originated back in 2014 when Starbucks released the famous (or infamous depending on who you are) pumpkin-spiced latte. Since then, the drink has became a trademark symbol of fall and has since inspired a culture-defining growth of pumpkin-spiced flavored products that grows in scope and variety every year. Check out our article from last year discussing the launch and industry of pumpkin spice in our article “Pumpkin Spiced Out.”

This year, our team wanted to try new (to us) pumpkin-spiced flavored products that seemingly should not ever have the dominating flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or an orange squash to ask the question: will it pumpkin spice?

Any dessert, bakery, coffee product or items that would obviously incorporate those ingredients well were excluded. Additionally, any non food products such as soaps, candles, cleaning products, or pet foods/treats were also excluded, though surprisingly abundant as well. These would also be products we could easily find in a local grocery store and not have to be special ordered.

Will it pumpkin spice?

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Alfredo

Yes, alfredo sauce with not only pumpkin spice seasoning, but actual incorporation of fall squashes.

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Alfredo available at Aldi [Photo Source: Alek Pace]
Journalism class getting ready to try the Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Alfredo

The taste is familiar, but the texture isn’t.

Freshman, Claire Green

I can see how it would be good with pasta.

Freshman, Makenzie Bird

When you think of pasta sauce, spaghetti and alfredo probably come to your mind. However in spite of fall, Mrs. Teasley provided us with a monstrosity of a seasonal product. The best way I can describe the sauce: normal butternut squash soup that was poured and eaten out of a pumpkin gourd. Granted we should have eaten it with pasta instead of drinking it from mini solo cups, and perhaps we may have let it get too cold. Regardless no one in our journalism class found the sauce appetizing, and it was rated 2.5 stars.

Will it pumpkin spice? Maybe.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts

Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts available at most grocery stores [Photo Source: Alek Pace]
Kayla Pimpleton about to try the fall flavored Pop-Tart.

It just takes like pumpkin pie.

Project Manager, Ava Lees

Its way better, just like a normal pumpkin.

Freshman, William

This is a product that was almost guaranteed not to fail, and to be fair, it could fall under the bakery items that should have been excluded, though it seems this wouldn’t be the first choice for a Pop-Tart from a company known to incorporate almost any flavor for sales. Luckily, Pop-Tart did not let us down. The classic Pop-Tart design and texture were still present, and the pumpkin pie filling was unmissable. Rated four stars, the Pop-Tart was definitely a class favorite, and a super sweet snack.

Will it pumpkin spice? Yes!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pumpkin-Spiced Almonds

Pumpkin-Spiced Almonds available from Aldi [Photo Source: Alek Pace]
Office staff Mrs. Grubbs and Mrs. Dale try the pumpkin almonds

It smells like it should be a candle

Freshman, Makenzie Bird

Why is it spicy?

Editor in Chief, Alek Pace

The pumpkin-spiced almonds were precisely just almonds coated with cinnamon and pumpkin spices. They quickly became a class debate as half the class enjoyed the flavor and the other was quick to the trashcan with the criticism that the sweetness was overwhelming. However, office staff Mrs. Grubbs and Mrs. Dale both enjoyed the snack and even grabbed another! The indecisive thoughts produced a rating of 3.2 stars.

Will it pumpkin spice? For most.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips

Simply Nature Pumpkin Seed tortilla chips available at Aldi [Photo Source: Alek Pace]
Mrs. T questioning why her class enjoyed the strange chip.

It’s good, but it’s not amazing.

Freshman, Claire Green

Its very um… chip.

Editor in Chief, Alek Pace

A tortilla chip should not be such a juxtaposition between sweet and salty. It’s coated in sweetness, though the salt powers through. It’s having an identity crisis. Pick a lane.

Ms. T, Journalism teacher

Despite Ms. Teasley’s concerned face in the photo above, the Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips were the highest ranked product we tried. Eating this chip having no idea of the assigned flavor, you may have thought it was just a normal chip. The flavor was both sweet and salty with a very subtle pumpkin taste. However, there was something appealing about the seasoning and it was rated a perfect score of 5 stars. Ms. T wasn’t voting.

Will it pumpkin spice? Yes!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus from Aldi [Photo Source: Alex Pace]
Freshman Claire and Ava have confused expressions while tasting the humus.

It tastes like bad pumpkin pie filling.

Freshman, Makenzie Bird

It’s fine, just pumpkin pie.

Project Manager, Ava Lees

Humus is usually a mild tasting spread made from ground chickpeas or other similar ingredients that you dip cold vegetables, crackers, or chips in; however, the pumpkin-spiced humus we tried was purely sweet and intended to be eaten with fruits…or sweet pumpkin tortilla chips in this case.

Dessert hummuses, such as chocolate flavors that mask the traditional flavor with sweetness, have started trending in the market in recent years as more people seek healthier alternatives to classic desserts. However, one begs to ask why add pumpkin spices to mushed chickpeas. My classmates described the texture to be extremely mushy, and the flavor was overbearingly sweet. Needless to say, no one overly enjoyed the Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus, so it was rated 2 stars.

Will it pumpkin spice? No.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Pumpkin Spiced Fig Bar

Nature’s Bakery Pumpkin Spice Fig Bar from Target [Photo Source: Alek Pace]
Makenzie Bird and Samantha Dodd enjoying the Pumpkin Spice Fig Bar.

Imma put it away now…

Editor in Chief, Alek Pace

It’s literally just a fig bar.

Project Manager, Ava Lees

If you’ve ever eaten and enjoyed a Fig Newton, you would probably like the taste of the Pumpkin-Spiced Fig Bar by Nature’s Bakery. Unlike traditional fig snacks, this brand produces something more like a healthy, hearty granola bar. This particular product had a 4.6 rating at Target and 4.7 on Amazon, though something about pumpkin and fig didn’t seem compatible.

The pumpkin flavor was not noticeable within the snack, and the class consecutively decided that without the fall flavor a second bite was not necessary. It is no surprise that the class ranked the disappointing Fig Bar two stars.

Will it pumpkin spice? No.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Pumpkin Spelt Risotto

Pumpkin Spelt Risotto from Aldi [Photo Source: Alek Pace]
Journalism class had mixed emotions on the risotto.

Tastes like garlic rice. There is no pumpkin flavor in there.

Kayla Pimpleton

Look at how soupy it is!

Mrs. Teasley

Risotto is usually a rice dish with a creamy consistency and an appearance that favors oatmeal. However, ours had a chunky texture, and as Mrs. T stated it was rather “soupy.” To be fair, it was prepared straight from frozen in a microwave, which is not how it was supposed to be prepared.

Absolutely nothing about the risotto was pumpkin-spiced flavor, but almost everyone agreed that they enjoyed the taste. Though it did have pumpkin spices included, garlic was the overpowering flavor. Maybe it’s for the better that pumpkin was missing from this dish because it was ranked an average 3.5 stars.

Will it pumpkin spice? Yes!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kombucha Pumpkin Chai

Kombucha Pumpkin Chai [Photo Source: Alek Pace]
Ava Lees holding her nose because of the Kombucha stench. Ms. T refused.
Mr. Stringfellow was also unimpressed with the smell.

It smells like soy sauce and vinegar.

Freshman, Makenzie Bird

The juice wasn’t bad, it was just the smell.

Editor in Chief, Alek Pace

Kombucha is a tea that is commonly drank for its many health benefits including aiding digestion and strengthening immune system. Kombucha is often described as having a vinegar smell and taste because of the fermentation process.

Despite being filled with helpful probiotics the drink itself was dreadful. Holding the cup to your mouth was almost impossible due to the strong smell of vinegar. The taste was close to green tea, but with a slight tang. There was no pumpkin flavor present at all. Only one person in our journalism class has claimed to have liked the drink, so it was rated two stars.

Will it pumpkin spice? Question is: should anything kombucha?

Rating: 2 out of 5.

After bravely taste testing these suspicious snacks we have been led to think that, perhaps these products were taken to an extreme, and maybe the pumpkin spice fad has been taken to far. Contrary to our article last year when the products were understandably pumpkin flavored. This year we were pumpkin spiced psyched out.

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