When autumn arrives, the fervor for pumpkin spice everything makes its familiar reappearance. Even questionable items like pumpkin spice candy corn show up. However, the love that humans have for rich and aromatic pumpkin spice lattes, cookies, pies, and snacks may go back thousands of years.

Ancient secret recipe

After archaeologists stumbled upon nutmeg residue on shards of pottery in Pulau Ay, Indonesia, the connection between humans and pumpkin spice was already recognized as being thousands of years old. Nutmeg is one of the main spices needed to create pumpkin spice, and it has been valued by humans for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Smithsonian Magazine

Pumpkin spice relies on a blend of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger to create its distinctive flavor profile. Humans love for nutmeg is not a fad but had been going strong for 2,000 years. The shards of ancient pottery from Indonesia’s Banda Islands are estimated to be 3,5000 years old, proving that even ancient humans aren’t fans of bland food.

Worth trading land

Thanks to established trade routes, spices from Asia were able to be distributed to the Middle East, parts of Africa, and Europe. Spices were worth more than their weight in gold in Europe, and the supply line was narrow. In search of a way to cut out the middleman, Europeans often set sail in boats to get their spice fix, but often stumbled on the New World instead.

 The Sydney Morning Herald

The Dutch had such a strong desire for nutmeg, they happily traded New Amsterdam in the New World for a Britain controlled Banda Island, Pulau Run. Unfortunately for the Dutch, New Amsterdam soon became the world renown New York City, while the nutmeg-producing colony eventually became independent as a part of Indonesia.

Modern-day pumpkin spice fever

Lovers of pumpkin spice everything are in good company. The frequent use of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger are most certainly not a food trend but are an established part of culinary culture.


Although not every pumpkin flavored item is a foodie’s paradise, their existence shows that humans can manage not to quit a good thing, when it tastes so amazingly good.