It starts in early September, even before the official start of fall. Walk into any store, and you’re bombarded with displays for all things pumpkin spice. The original pumpkin spice latte, knock-off pumpkin-flavored coffee creamers, pumpkin-flavored cereals, pumpkin-scented candles, pumpkin ice cream, and even pumpkin spice toothpaste. People go nuts for pumpkin this time of year!
While pumpkin may be the most popular fall flavor, there is much more to the change of seasons when it comes to autumnal scents, foods, and flavors. If you’re already feeling pumpkin-spice overload, try these seasonal alternatives that will give you that warm, cozy, fall feeling—no pumpkin spice required.
Apples are the fruit of the fall season, but they have been overshadowed in recent years by the pumpkin spice craze. You can find an abundance of fresh apples at farmer’s markets and pick-your-own farms this time of year. This fall-friendly fruit can be used in a wide variety of recipes, or to simply enjoy a ripe, juicy apple on its own.
Combine apple with cinnamon to really get that sweet and spicy fall flavor. Now is the perfect time to enjoy a warm cup of apple cider, homemade apple sauce, apple muffins, and apple pie. Like pumpkin, apple can serve as both a flavor for foods or as a scent to give your home a warm, cozy aroma.
This sweet treat is a great fall alternative for something sweet without the spice. Caramel on its own is a popular fall flavor, but when combined with apple, it really evokes that fall feeling of county fairs and fall festivals.
Maple isn’t just a syrup for pancakes. Maple is another fall flavor that’s super versatile and is becoming more popular this time of year for coffees, teas, muffins, cakes, and more. And if you’re not ready to get rid of the pumpkin entirely, it’s delicious when combined!
If pumpkin spice lattes are a little too sweet for your taste, try a chai tea latte. Chai tea is a rich, spiced, black tea with a touch of clove and pepper. If you use the flavoring in soups, stews, and baked goods, you can create a blend of spices of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, and allspice.
Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They reach their peak color and flavor in autumn. As they ripen, they can withstand cooler temperatures, which makes them the perfect fall fruit both in the richness of color and taste. Think beyond traditional cranberry sauce, and use cranberries for pies, cakes, muffins, or as a complement to foods like mashed potatoes and grilled meat to cut the heaviness.
Farmers harvest pears between August and October, which makes this another seasonal fruit to add to your fall menu. Pear combines well with cinnamon and other spices and can be used in appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Whether you’re craving a warm cocktail on a crisp fall evening or creating a flavorful fall entree or dessert that’s infused with bourbon, this dark whiskey elicits hints of fall favorites like vanilla, caramel, and oak. Bourbon’s rich and warm flavor pairs perfectly with autumn’s fruits and is delicious when paired with apple cider, cinnamon, maple, and yes, even pumpkin.