Market Plunder: Hopping on the pumpkin spice haywagon – back to basics


This batch of pumpkin spice muffins was made with ingredients from the St. Paul Farmers Market. *Photo by Joanne Johnson ’16.*

This batch of pumpkin spice muffins was made with ingredients from the St. Paul Farmer's Market.  *Photo by Joanne Johnson ’16.*
This batch of pumpkin spice muffins was made with ingredients from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market.
Photo by Joanne Johnson ’16.

Unless you had your head under a rock for the last month you probably noticed that pumpkin spice is a pretty big deal. The “flavor” of pumpkin spice is no longer only found in pies and coffee drinks, but has invaded everything from oreos, hummus, Pringles, shampoo, nail polish and dog treats.

Amidst all the chaos and marketing schemes I would invite you to remember the humble pumpkin or gourd. It is not fancy. It is irregular, tough, crooked and sometimes warty. It is hard on the outside and a mess on the inside. It would definitely never pay $5 for a syrup-laden latte sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon.

So check out the farmer’s market this weekend to pick yourself up some pumpkins or other assorted gourds. There is everything from tiny decorative crookneck squash to the classic butternut, and from massive carving sized pumpkins (ever seen a white one?) to petite fist-sized ones.

I recommend a medium-sized sugar pumpkin of the classic pie-making variety. Cut off the top and scrape out the gooey insides. Be sure to save the seeds for roasting!

Then poke some holes in it and stick it in a 375° oven on a baking sheet for 1 ½ – 2 hours until it can be easily pierced with a fork. Spoon out the orange flesh and it should represent somewhat what you are used to seeing when you crack open a can of pumpkin from the store.

This dynamic filling can be used in anything from soups and curries to an unconventional mix in for ice cream or yogurt.

But why not hop on the pumpkin spice bandwagon and try these warm spices muffins? Paired with steaming fair trade coffee in a reusable mug, these fall time muffins are anything but basic.

St. Paul Farmer’s Market
290 E. 5th St., St. Paul
Green Line @ Lowertown Station
Open Saturday 6 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Sunday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.


  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp each: ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger and allspice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ cup pumpkin flesh (fresh or canned)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)


  • Preheat oven to 375° then mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Add the beaten egg, pumpkin and milk. Do not over mix!
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Spoon the lumpy batter into greased muffin tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick stick in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!