Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup
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Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’m a total sucker for pumpkin spice.
Call me #basic, but it’s the truth.
In fact, I’m all about everything fall: the colours, the coziness, the sweater weather, and yes, pumpkins and pumpkin spice.
There’s just something comforting and nostalgic about it; Like grandma’s kitchen or the warm scent of pumpkin pie that wafts from the table at holiday dinners with family and friends.
I think that’s really why pumpkin spice blew up years ago, not so much because everybody loves the flavour but because it evokes cherished memories and warm, fuzzy feelings in so many of us.
In any case, I do look forward to sipping a pumpkin spice latte or two come fall, but I rarely splurge on more than a couple of them the whole season because:
A) they’re insanely expensive, and
B) the most popular of all pumpkin spice lattes (the Starbucks “PSL”) contains potassium sorbate (a chemical preservative), and rather than actual spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, it contains “natural flavours,” which are really just chemical flavour extracts taken from foods (or spices) and isolated, so you get all of the flavour with none of the actual nutrition or health benefits.
To learn more about natural flavours and why they’re not really natural at all, be sure to read this, and then read this. Then you can at least make an informed decision about whether you’re cool with consuming them or not.
If you’re subscribed to my monthly magazine, Modern Homesteading Magazine, this month’s issue is all about spices, including their amazing health benefits and wide range of medicinal properties. To subscribe for free and get the latest issue delivered straight to your inbox, click here.
I knew there must be a better, healthier, cheaper way to enjoy pumpkin spice lattes at home, so as soon as I started growing my own pumpkins a few years ago, I decided to try my hand at making my own.
I found a few recipes for homemade pumpkin spice syrup online (the basis for all pumpkin spice lattes) and over the years I’ve tried a handful of them, but I always found them either too sweet or too pumpkin-y or too pulpy.
But this year was different. I got the ratios just right, and I took the extra step of straining out most of the pumpkin pulp before bottling the syrup so that there wouldn’t be as much sediment in my latte.
I ended up with a pumpkin spice syrup that, when combined with home-brewed espresso and steamed milk, not only rivals the Starbucks PSL, but also contains all natural ingredients and no added preservatives. AND it costs just pennies per batch.
Fresh pumpkin vs. canned
I always make my own pumpkin purée from our homegrown sugar pie pumpkins. Not only is it cheaper than buying it from the store, but I also know that the pumpkins were grown organically and are 100% safe and healthy to eat.
If making your own, be sure to start with a good pie pumpkin variety for maximum flavour! (Jack-O-Lantern and other decorative varieties of pumpkins are too watery and not flavourful enough to eat or use in this recipe).
However, if you don’t grow your own pumpkins and can’t access locally grown organic pumpkins to make your own purée, you can use store-bought canned pumpkin purée instead. Just keep in mind that this may push the cost up just slightly, especially if you’re using a good, organic brand.
Also, if using canned pumpkin, make sure to use pumpkin purée and not pumpkin pie filling or mix as the latter contains added sugar, preservatives and “natural flavours” too.
As a rule of thumb, always check the ingredients on any store-bought or packaged product, but especially with canned pumpkin, make sure to look for a brand of pumpkin purée that only contains one ingredient: pumpkin. I recommend this brand of organic pumpkin purée if you’re opting for the canned version.
Aside from the pumpkin, you’ll need some brown sugar, ground pumpkin spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice), a splash of pure vanilla extract and water.
That’s it! No potassium sorbate. No chemically-derived “natural” flavours. No handing over $5.00 for a latte. Just good, honest, made-from-scratch food.
Now, lest I have you thinking this is some sort of health food, remember that it is a syrup, so there’s definitely a fair amount of sugar in here. But if you’re gonna enjoy a sweet treat, I believe you’re always better off eating the real deal and leaving chemical additives at the door (or the coffee shop). This homemade pumpkin spice syrup is made with 100% real food ingredients, so you can do just that:)
How to use your homemade pumpkin spice syrup
I love adding a little of this pumpkin spice syrup to homemade lattes. Honestly, I enjoy our homemade PSLs more than going out to a coffee shop!
But if you don’t have an espresso maker, you can still add a little of this syrup to your cup of coffee or to sweeten up your black tea.
If you make your own homemade kombucha, you can also use your homemade pumpkin spice syrup to flavour your second ferment (or do what I did and use the pulp you strain out to flavour your next batch of kombucha).
And of course, you can always swap maple syrup for pumpkin spice syrup and use it over pancakes, waffles or French toast, of enjoy over ice cream.
Preserving your homemade pumpkin spice syrup
I haven’t come across any approved canning recipes for homemade pumpkin spice syrup, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend canning it to preserve it. But you could always freeze it if you decide to make a large batch (you can easily double or triple the recipe below).
If freezing, leave at least a ½-inch of headspace at the top of the jar if using a wide mouth jar, or at least one inch of headspace if using a bottle or narrower mouth jar to allow for some expansion.
For more pumpkin recipes, growing and preserving tips, check out the following posts:
Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂
P.S. Want more modern homesteading? Subscribe for FREE to Modern Homesteading Magazine and get the latest issue delivered straight to your inbox!
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