Never is the holiday season thriving for me unless I got a steaming cup of pumpkin-spice goodness in my hands. Sure! Anymore it’s a fad. It’s definitely one of the most trendy and highly advertized concoctions of the year. I ain’t mad though.
The Fruits of Fall
The number of pumpkin spice varieties of consumable goods out there seems almost limitless, with the exception of some trademark wholesome ingredients.
The star of the show once October heralds the start of fall festivities, fashion trends and of course cold weather. Pumpkins have been thriving in my so-called “backyard” for millennia it seems like. Well, specifically speaking pumpkins are thought to have shown up in North America first, while related seeds have been in Mexico since the B.C. era. Pumpkins are a part of the gourd family or cucurbit. Kind of seems like the word cucumber, doesn’t it? No surprise. It’s related! The pumpkin also shares roots with squash, luffas, watermelons and just plain melons. Guess what that also means? Pumpkins are fruit! HA!
Amazing. I’ve known all my life that pumpkins have TONS of seeds, but because of how it’s cooked, especially in my family, I just always considered it a veggie. But that also means it has a flower, right? YUP!! They’re appropriately called pumpkin blossoms and they grow on the patch vines. They’re thick too. Another neat thing about them is that they are not asexual flowers-they don’t have male and female parts. So, the male blossoms grow first! They also die first, living only a day before the female flowers bloom and start producing the pumpkins!
A potent spice that’s pretty much my tabletop sugar. I use it for breakfast a LOT! Consuming too much, especially at once, is of course thee worst mistake but if dusted ever to slightly can add kick to many dishes.
This spice is actually tree bark from a type of tree that apparently grows in two varieties: the Chinese cinnamon and the Ceylon cinnamon tree, the rarer of the two. I’ll go out on a limb and figure this being the reason the price on cinnamon is so high? Two types only. Often distributors and marketplaces sell cinnamon often in either a powdered form, grounded or its bark form, as quills.
Throughout history, cinnamon has both been used as a spice and for medicinal purposes. Common health benefits associated with this spice include: anti-clotting of the blood, anti-microbial activity that prevents fungal growth, controls blood sugar, and stimulates brain function via its potent scent. It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine as providing warmth and energy when consumed as a tea alongside ginger.
The Miracle Spice
Nutmeg! This spice boosts the flavor of almost everything I cook. Meat, pies, coffee, veggies, apple cider, EGG NOG—a pinch of this mineral can turn anything from bland to amazing. It just does something.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s not overlook the fact that this trademark of my lazy-susan comes from EVERGREEN TRESS?! The seed of the Myristica fragans, to be precise. Even the name sounds cool. These trees commonly grow in the East and West Indies.
The baffling thing about popular spices though is that such renown came with huge sacrifice. The nutmeg was no exception. It’s been quoted as the “iPhone of the 1600s,” and appropriately so. It was a luxury for sure, experienced by the wealthy. People of the Banda Islands of Indonesia were slaughtered by the Dutch, all in the name of this expensive spice. Not to mention, this rarity had medicinal purposes. It was used in ways that reminded me of how the hookah is today (and has been) or how young adults and teens ventured to Native American nations during the 70s to smoke peace pipes –without considering the symbolic purpose. Typical.
I’m ecstatic really. I never knew even half of what I just wrote about. I mean, pumpkin FLOWERS!? How’d I miss that?
WANNA LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC?
- Bonnie Plants
- Nutrition and You
- Pumpkin Patch
- All About Pumpkins
- World’s Healthiest Foods
- National Public Radio
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