From the first hint of fall and throughout the holiday season, there is an abundance of everything pumpkin and with good reason. These squash-like gourds fill markets and food vendors alike, attracting the young, and the young at heart.
From sweet indulgences to savory seeds, there is something pumpkin does to treat the taste buds of nearly everyone.
UIS’ very own Capitol Perks is one of the many local cafés offering up specialty drinks and desserts featuring pumpkin. Director of Food Services Geoffrey Evans said that during this season, pumpkin products are popular amongst students and faculty, especially because they are only around for a limited amount of time. He added, “We generally keep pumpkin coffee drinks, pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin ice cream.”
Another well known coffee chain notorious for their pumpkin products during the fall and winter months is Starbucks. However, the company did not anticipate the high demand of this year’s crowd. Offering several pumpkin spiced coffee drinks, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cream cheese muffins and pumpkin scones; the chain reported a shortage of their popular drink flavoring early on in the season, according to The Wall Street Journal. Thankfully for the many Starbucks enthusiasts, this small “crisis” was averted, and stores were restocked with the seasonal product.
If you are looking for a healthier option to fill your pumpkin fix, look no further than local frozen yogurt shop Cherry Berry, on Iles in Springfield. The shop introduced Pumpkin Pie flavored yogurt back to their menu last Sun., and will continue to carry the popular flavor as long as it lasts.
American Harvest Eatery, located on W. Iles in Springfield, is also incorporating pumpkin into their menu. The eatery is focused on sustainable food from locally owned and family operated farms in the Springfield area. To get into the season, they have added Pumpkin Cheesecake to their fall menu, which is paired with fall spiced caramel and chai tea ice cream. A definite crowd pleaser.
For those of age, another popular pumpkin favorite is Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale. According to Samuel Adams’, each barrel of this fall ale is brewed with over 17 pounds of pumpkin and features subtle pumpkin pie spices.
With Halloween celebrations continuing into the week, pumpkin carving is just one of the many activities associated with the festive fruit. And with pumpkin carving, comes pumpkin seeds, another fall favorite.
“There’s nothing like homemade pumpkin seeds,” said UIS student Christina Foster. She added that she remembers carving jack-o-lanterns with her mother as a child and baking the seeds in the oven afterward.
If students would rather their pumpkin experience be slightly more homemade, brands like Pillsbury have started to offer seasonal mixes and dessert kits that are quick, easy, and on point for a college budget. The brand offers make-at-home treats including Perfectly Pumpkin Cookie Mix, Pumpkin Quick Break and Muffin Mix and Pumpkin Caramel Delight Dessert Kit.
Whether students enjoy a more traditional pumpkin experience, or prefer trying something new during the fall and winter months, with pumpkin it is hard to go wrong.