I knew what I would find at Trader Joe's this morning and I found it: Pumpkin is back — with an orange vengeance.
Cooler temperatures and autumnal briskness in the air, along with the reddening leaves, have seasoned a feeling in me. But pumpkin overload at the grocery stores and coffee shops seals the deal. It's beginning to taste a lot like autumn, with a nostalgic hint of winter.
At Peet's, Starbucks and Panama Red, the pumpkin drinks infused with cinnamon or nutmeg have the remarkable ability to make one feel like putting on fuzzy Christmas socks and curling up by a fire. Then there's the age-old question about pumpkin pie. Should it be saved for Thanksgiving? Or is it a fall free-for-all?
The grocery stores are packed with pumpkin-flavored everything, including tea, oatmeal, soup, pies, cakes, pancake mix, beer and, yes, even dog treats.
"We can't leave the dogs out," said a staff member at the Concord Avenue Trader Joe's, where pumpkin-flavored dog treats are selling for $3.99.
Canned pumpkin, by the way, can aid a dog's digestion. The Concord Police Department adds a scoop to meals for its K9 officers.
Personally, I like to indulge in a cup of pumpkin-infused rooibos tea, with a little steamed milk and honey, while I ponder the long, cozy nights ahead.
What's your favorite pumpkin-flavored treat of the season? Do you make your own? Share tasty tips and pumpkin recipes in the comments below.
This column originated on Concord Patch.