DIY pumpkin spice sugar scrub + detoxing from seasonal “pumpkin spice fatigue”

… with a homemade pumpkin spice latte sugar scrub, of course!

It is officially time for a pumpkin spice intervention.  Don’t get me wrong – I love pumpkin and all things spice.  I even love the occasional latte {two pumps with soy milk, in case you’d ever like to send one my way}.  But the pumpkin spice empire has spiraled out of control.  Starbucks set the tone ten years ago, when they introduced their cult classic, the pumpkin spice latte, now conveniently abbreviated this year to simply “PSL”.  Now one can visit the local grocer and find products like candy, air fresheners, pasta sauce, potato chips, and perhaps even this unmentionable {ell-oh-ell!}, all proudly dressed in shades of orange, advertising the comforting aromas and flavors of fall, and prompting a satisfying, cozy sigh.  But where is the actual pumpkin?

While driving to work the other day, I was listening to NPR’s “Here and Now” segment, where Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson hosted food scientist, Kantha Shelke, on the program.  According to Shelke, most of the popular pumpkin spice-laden products, unsurprisingly, contain little or no trace of the autumnal squash.  In fact, they most likely contain artificial colors, manufactured flavors and aromas, and don’t really taste like the vegetable itself.  I am partial to all things natural, but like a lot of individuals, I do love that pumpkin-y, spicy aroma that surfaces this time of year.  So, I have decided to both have my pie and eat it, too, by using real pumpkin purée to create a deliciously aromatic and exfoliating coffee and sugar scrub.  I have made a similar scrub before, but this upgraded edition really makes me crave the aforementioned hot beverage, except the price tag on the scrub is lower, the ingredients are completely natural, and the benefits are longer lasting!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Sugar Scrub

  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/8 cup finely and freshly ground coffee beans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • extra cinnamon, to taste

The scrub is simple to make and costs considerably less than store-bought sugar scrubs.  This particular recipe yielded enough for me and some for a couple of friends.  If you don’t have any leftover, cooked pumpkin purée on hand, simply omit this ingredient and enjoy a spiced, fall-inspired sugar scrub.  There really is something about the aromas of vanilla and cinnamon, along with the memories attached to them, that calm and warm the soul.  I always follow my sugar scrub experience with moisturizing coconut oil.  Coconut oil is extremely emollient and smells incredible; its health benefits are numerous and go beyond its well-known role as a skin moisturizer.  Keep in mind that pumpkin purée is perishable.  According to StillTasty, the purée will keep up to a week in the refrigerator; however, I have stretched it out a little longer, with no spoilage at all.

What creations have you made with pumpkin this season?  What recipes and rituals revolve around this fall staple for you?  Are you in love with or totally over the pumpkin spice trend?  Or taking it in small doses like me?  I am signing off with some photos from one of last week’s hikes along the Cherry Creek Trail at Hentzel Park.  It is scheduled to snow in a couple of days, so I am soaking up the last moments of crunchy leaves and vivid, fall color…

Jayme Henderson

Occupationally speaking, I am a sommelier and mixologist at a busy, upscale Denver restaurant. I am lucky enough to spend most days tasting, pairing, and creating, alongside my cherished guests. I am also a contributor at the Kitchn, where I write about wine and gardening, tour cooks' kitchens, and interview innovative growers and makers. When I am not wearing those shoes, you can find me in my garden, preserving, painting, designing, and documenting my experiences along the way. I'm currently learning calligraphy and trying my best at home brewing. And I am seriously obsessed with my cats. And rosé.

November 12, 2013

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