Pumpkin spice has become one of those flavors that you either love or hate. By breaking it down into individual spices it may help to work out which parts you do love, and which you can remove completely!
Pumpkin spice is made up of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cloves. Ratios may vary between spice mixes, and any of these ingredients can be increased, decreased or removed completely. Allergies or a general taste preference can lead you to want to change it up a bit.
At certain times of year it seems almost impossible to avoid pumpkin spice mix, but just break it down and use the individual parts to still get into the seasonal mood!
Substitutes For Pumpkin Spice Mix
If you wanted an authentic pumpkin spice mix than try this recipe of 4tsps Ground Cinnamon, 1tsp Ground Nutmeg, 1tsp Ground Ginger and 1/2tsp Ground Clove is a great combination.
This is perfect for those of you not wanting to buy a ready made mix, but what about those who want to avoid the individual ingredients of pumpkin spice mix?
Sometimes the reasons we don’t like a particular flavor can be down to more than just taste. Things like allergies can often mean we have to remove certain spices altogether. By breaking down the pumpkin spice mix into each part you can make all the family happy all year round!
Individual Flavors In Pumpkin Spice
- Cinnamon is ground using the dried and treated bark of the stem of the cinnamon tree. If you were to ask what does cinnamon taste like then I would liken it to a softer version of clove, with a sweet warmth and citrus notes. There are lots of reasons to include cinnamon in your diet, from it’s powerful antioxidants to it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
There are two types of cinnamon; Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. It is the compound cinnamaldehyde that gives it the flavor and health properties. However some people find these flavors too potent and even have severe allergies. For those who are allergic possible side effects include; nausea, rashes, inflammations, skin break outs, difficulty breathing. All in all a spice to be avoided if you have an allergy. Therefore you can miss this ingredient out and increase the quantity of clove to still give a warming spice.
- Nutmeg is the spice derived from the seed of the nutmeg tree, not to be confused with mace which comes from the red covering of the same seed. You can but the seed whole and grate it over sauces and dishes to add an extra hint of flavor. So what does nutmeg taste like? Well nutmeg is pungent and warming, with woody tones and a sweetness to finish the flavor.
You can be allergic to nutmeg and not have a nut allergy. If you have a seed allergy then the chances are you will need to avoid pumpkin spice as nutmeg is a seed. Although rare a sensitivity to nutmeg is not to be overlooked as it can cause a wide range of symptoms from skin irritation to difficulties in breathing.
- Ginger is grown from seed or rhizomes and then dug up and it it those tubers or rhizomes that are then eaten. We love to grow our own, so would recommend using fresh ginger if possible, recipe depending. But what does ginger taste like? It is a hot peppery flavor with sweet notes and when used fresh it can cause eyes to water. The ground variety used in pumpkin spice is much more mild and will have a lighter note of pepper. The warmth will still be there to heat you up in Autumn, so it is a big one to include in your pumpkin spiced latte!
If you intend to replace the ground ginger with fresh, then make sure to be aware of that intensity of flavor. You will need far less fresh ginger than ground, but when you cook it off it will sweeten further. There are numerous health benefits to including ginger in your diet so you may like to be a bit more liberal in your own recipes! However people can be allergic to ginger as well and this should then be considered and removed.
- Cloves are actually dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree. Native to Indonesia and pungent in aroma and flavor. So pungent in fact that clove is used to ward off moths and other bugs in our homes. Known for the strength of their bitter, pungent flavor they even have a numbing effect in the mouth which can be really off putting.
Although rare some people do suffer from allergies associated with clove oil and the symptoms can be serious enough to mean an ambulance is called. Ranging from skin irritation to inflammation and a difficulty in breathing.
We love to use seasonal spices to create a warm feeling in our home through our cooking. So if you fancy trying some great fall recipes The Spruce Eats has some to use up the pumpkin spice mix that you can make for yourself!