Season 2, Episode 2: The Pumpshank Redemption

Season 2, Episode 2: The Pumpshank Redemption

Despite the moderate success of yesterday‘s pumpkin spiced yogurt pretzels, my history with PS yogurt products isn‘t a good one. If you read the Season 1 Recap or subscribed last year, you may remember how negative my experience with the PS Chobani was. Let’s look back!

“…this yogurt is very sweet and very citrusy. On my first bite, I reacted like a baby trying lemon for the first time. It was such a strong flavor that I actually had to double check to make sure that it wasn’t spoiled. It wasn’t, but the mystery was solved when I read that lemon juice concentrate is one of the ingredients.”

Yeah, not the greatest. But as I stared at the yogurt shelf at Trader Joe’s and considered today’s item, the Nonfat Pumpkin Spice Greek Yogurt, I weighed whether to risk my taste buds again. Would it be worth it? TJ‘s is usually pretty good with pumpkin products. I mean, it can’t be worse than last year, right?

In that moment, I began to think about a line from The Shawshank Redemption. In it, the main character discusses hope by saying:

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins): Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
I wanted to believe it could be great! It should be! Pumpkin spice is delicious when implemented properly! In that moment, with pumpkin on my mind and hope in my heart, I grabbed two of the yogurts and headed for the checkout.

Day 2: Trader Joe’s Greek Nonfat Pumpkin Yogurt

Cost: ~$0.99
Purchase Location: Trader Joe’s
Manufacturer’s Description:
It’s made with real pumpkin purée (that’s the second ingredient, right after skim milk) and a fusion of seasonal spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves). Close your eyes… you could easily convince yourself you’re eating a spoonful of pumpkin pie. So if you’re craving pumpkin pie, but it’s breakfast time, and you just can’t bring yourself to have pie for breakfast – grab a cup of Trader Joe’s Nonfat Greek Pumpkin Yogurt. After all… it’s yogurt!

Did you know that yogurt is the state snack of New York? Neither did I!
But in 2014, (and apparently after a joke debate), the State Senate of New York voted to officially declare yogurt the official state snack. Interestingly, it seems like this was, in part, due to the jobs and revenue that Chobani had brought to the state. (clearly they didn’t try the pumpkin spice greek yogurt) There was even a question about yogurt dipped pretzels!
After last year’s disaster, I went into this review with low/no expectations, but that swung to very positive when I noticed three important things while reading the label:
1. Real pumpkin puree
2. Real pumpkin spices
To top it off, it looks like Trader Joe’s went with pure cane sugar for their sweetener. This might not seem like a big deal, but to me that means that the flavor might end up tasting more natural and without an aftertaste.
Peeling back the aluminum cover revealed a light orange yogurt with flecks of pumpkin spices throughout. This was a really encouraging sign and showed me that they did not skimp out on the spices and just add them as concentrate during processing.
The texture was pretty standard for TJ’s nonfat greek yogurt offerings - creamy and even. With a quick smell test, I was able to pick out each of the spices and the pumpkin itself. I was pretty impressed and the whole thing made me even more excited to try it.
Here goes nothing!
Wow, this stuff is great! THIS is what pumpkin spice yogurt is supposed to taste like.
With my first bite, the flavor of the pumpkin and spices came through clearly and evenly balanced. The yogurt was also just the right amount of creamy, despite being fat-free. The only issue I had was that I could have done with a little less sweetness, but the sugar level wasn’t overpowering at all. As I expected, the use of real cane sugar made it so there was no aftertaste.
For an easy analogy, this tastes like a lighter version of pumpkin pie filling. If you’re looking for a reduced-guilt dessert, this could be great frozen or mixed with graham crackers or granola as a mashed-up guilt-free pseudo-pumpkin pie.
I am so impressed by how well this yogurt was executed. Everything - from the taste, to texture, and ingredients -  was near perfect.
Honestly, this yogurt flavor has year-round appeal. But considering how much TJ’s plays on seasonal exclusivity, I would suggest getting it while you can.
Final rating: 5/5 pumpkins + 5/5 redemption

Image result for shawshank still image

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