DAY 20: Pumpkinception

I’m not really sure how to feel about today’s item, so I’ll keep the introduction short: When I saw it on the shelf at Trader Joe’s, I sighed as I added it to my cart. It wasn’t because I thought that this product shouldn’t exist (it really shouldn’t), but because I was ashamed that I was actually excited to try it.

DAY 20: Pumpkinception
Item: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Cost: $2.99
Purchase Location: Trader Joe’s

But what of the venerable pumpkin seed, once celebrated as the prize within the gourd, yet now seemingly relegated to the background? We say it's time to celebrate the seed once more, and we've given it a dazzling new treatment to give it an opportunity to shine, once again, in the spotlight.

I never thought I would see the day that pumpkin seeds would be spiced. When somebody first mentioned this product to me in passing, I thought it was a joke. I figured that someone had been clever with Photoshop and made a picture for a quiz to “Test to see if you can figure out which of these 10 pumpkin spice products is real!” But it’s 2017 and here we are. Is this peak pumpkin? I feel like it is.

Opening the package, there is a very muted smell of pumpkin spice. You can tell that there IS some spice, but you can’t exactly tell what. Surprisingly, these smell more like shelled sunflower seeds than pumpkin seeds. I don’t have the slightest idea why they would, but I asked my sister and she agreed.
Before tasting, I poured a few in my hand to check the coating. I should mention that these are shelled, so they are technically just the seed itself (known as pepitas). I liked that they did this because it means that I don’t have to spit out the shells after eating the seed inside. It also means the flavor is directly applied. The coating was thorough, but it didn’t seem caked on. They were a little oily, but the binding agent is butter, so it makes sense. Now to taste.

Maybe it’s the sugar and butter that hold these spices to the pepitas, but these seeds are really good. The spices are so even and balanced in the coating. To supplement them, the butter/sugar mix adds a richness that expands the flavor profile without making it overly fatty/sweet. Finally, the pepitas themselves have a very pleasant flavor that ties all of the separate components together. Most importantly, the seeds keep their satisfying crunch, even after the cooking/coating.

I’ll be honest, I’m ashamed by how much I like these. And I’ll tell you why.

In the pantheon of pumpkin spice products that should not exist, pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds are right at the top with the pumpkin spice butter spread. The concept just screams of a lackadaisical effort to tie this spice combination to actual pumpkins in any way possible.

But they’re really good. While writing this, I’ve managed to eat half of the bag.

Let’s be honest: They’re a product that you laugh off, but you now actually want to try. You probably will. You’ll love it. You’ll hate yourself for loving it. You’ll tell your friends that you “read about the taste” on a pumpkin spice blog while shame eating the bag hidden in your snack drawer at work.

But this is a safe space, so you don’t have to hide it from me. I’m way past the shame and I’m at the point where I can openly enjoy these. Don’t worry, I’ll coach you through the self-loathing.

Final Rating: 5 /5 Pumpkins. (somehow)


 

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