Previous: Why Do We Get Nosebleeds?
Next: Why Do We Sweat? | Sports Science | SciShow Kids



View count:129,756
Last sync:2024-06-07 02:00


Citation formatting is not guaranteed to be accurate.
MLA Full: "What Is Pumpkin Spice?" YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 30 October 2018,
MLA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2018)
APA Full: SciShow Kids. (2018, October 30). What Is Pumpkin Spice? [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2018)
Chicago Full: SciShow Kids, "What Is Pumpkin Spice?", October 30, 2018, YouTube, 04:41,
Sam the Bat stopped by the fort today, and brought his famous pumpkin spice cookies! But what exactly is pumpkin spice?

Love SciShow Kids and want to help support it? Become a patron on Patreon:
Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet?


Jessi: We have a special visitor here at the Fort today: it’s Sam the Bat!

Sam: Hi, Jessi! I was in the neighborhood and wanted to say hello. And I brought over some of my famous pumpkin spice cookies to share, too!

[Jessi:]. Thanks, Sam! Sometimes it’s nice to have a little treat. And I do love pumpkin!

[Sam:] Me too! We fruit bats love fruit. But you know, these cookies don’t actually have pumpkin in them at all?

[Jessi:] Really?

[Sam:] Really! Lots of things that are pumpkin spice flavored don’t have pumpkin. The flavor is actually just a bunch of spices mixed together. Spices are ingredients we use in cooking that usually come from plant parts with lots of flavor, like certain seeds or even bark.

Most of them also have a strong, delicious smell, and they’re usually, but not always, dried out and turned into a powder. If you’ve ever sprinkled some ground-up black pepper on your food, that’s one example of a spice!

[Jessi:] Oh yeah, I do that all the time!

[Sam:] The flavors in spices are so strong that we don’t eat them by themselves. Trying to eat some black pepper on its own would be really burn-y! Instead, spices are used in small amounts to give an extra-special flavor to all sorts of foods.

[Jessi:] Like herbs, right?

[Sam:] Exactly! There’s another type of ingredient that’s very similar, called herbs. They’re the dried out leaves of special plants, and they’re used to flavor food, too, just like spices. The spices we use to make something pumpkin spice flavored are the same ones that are used in pumpkin pie, so the flavor reminds us of pumpkin.

[Jessi:] Oh, so that’s why we call it pumpkin spice, not because it has any pumpkin in it.

[Sam:] Yup! Some pumpkin spice foods, like ice cream or yogurt, can have pumpkin in them, but not always.

[Jessi:] So, in these cookies, the spices on their own remind us so much of pumpkin pie that they taste like pumpkin without any actual fruit in them?

[Sam:] Uh-huh!

[Jessi:] Cool! So, which spices do you use to make pumpkin spice? I’d love to try it myself.

[Sam:] Well, this special combination usually has five types of spices in it: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.

[Jessi:] Oh, we have cinnamon-flavored foods all the time! Sometimes I like to add a little cinnamon to my morning oatmeal, and I know Squeaks likes to sprinkle some on his hot chocolate – yum.

[Sam:] Sounds delicious! Cinnamon is probably the most well-known of all the spices in pumpkin spice. But did you know that cinnamon is actually bark? It comes from something called a cinnamon tree!

To make the cinnamon we buy at the store, people peel off bark from the tree and remove the rough outer layer. The inner layer of bark is what we use as a spice! The next spice on the list is ginger, which has sort of a spicy taste that’s really unique.

The ginger we eat is actually a root, the part of the plant that’s in the ground. Fresh ginger can be pretty strange-looking!

[Jessi:] You know, I think I’ve had ginger-flavored cookies before, too! It’s in ginger snaps, right?

[Sam:] Right! People actually use both fresh and dried ginger for cooking, which is unusual for a spice. Then there’s nutmeg, which comes from a seed. When people make nutmeg, they dry the seed in the sun, grind it into a powder and that becomes the nutmeg that we use in food.

It’s hard to explain what nutmeg tastes like because it’s often combined with other spices when we put it in food, but you can ask a grown-up if you have some in your house that you could smell.

[Jessi:] So what else was on the list of spices in pumpkin spice, besides cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg?

[Sam:] Next are cloves! They’re made from flower buds that are dried out. Cloves also have a very strong smell.

[Jessi:] You know what the smell reminds me of? The dentist’s office!

[Sam:] Yeah! Sometimes dentists use it to make a special oil that helps if someone’s mouth is hurting them. So not all dentists’ offices will smell like cloves, but some do.

[Jessi:] I’ll have to ask my dentist about it the next time I visit!

[Sam:] Now, there’s one last spice in pumpkin spice: allspice!

[Jessi:] Allspice … that can’t be /all/ the spices, can it?

[Sam:] Oh no, allspice doesn’t mean all spices. Can you imagine if all the spices in the world were in these cookies? There are so many different spices that it’s hard to even count them all!

[Jessi:] Yeah, I think we have at least 20 just in the Fort’s kitchen.

[Sam:] Allspice got its name because people think it tastes like a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper. That’s not even close to all the spices in the world, but it is a lot of different things for one spice to taste like. Allspice is actually a type of berry. People pick the berries, then dry them out in the sun, and that’s how we get allspice!

So, there you have it: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice come together to make pumpkin spice!

[Jessi:] Wow, so all sorts of different parts of plants make up pumpkin spice! There are berries, bark, roots, seeds, and flower buds — that’s amazing. I can’t wait to try these cookies! I wonder if I’ll be able to taste each different spice now that I know what to look for.

Thanks for joining us! If you want to keep discovering all sorts of stuff about our fascinating world, hit the subscribe button, and don’t forget to check us out on the YouTube Kids app. We’ll see you next time, here at the Fort!

Sam: Bye!