Oh. My. Gourd. If you're as "stressed, blessed, and pumpkin obsessed" as I am at this time of year, you'll want to brave the parking lot crowds and long lines to grab all the pumpkin spice foods at Trader Joe's before the other super pumpkin fans scoop them up.
Unlike other retailers that put out their Christmas items in October, TJ's is in no rush to force all their winter products on us prematurely. For that, we can be eternally grateful. After all, how can we enjoy autumn without savoring the comforting flavors that go along with the season? Real pumpkin in itself is a treat when cooked in a pie, pureed into soup, or mashed like potatoes (not to mention that pumpkin is chock-full of nutritional benefits, according to Healthline). But any product that includes "pumpkin spice" (usually a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and vanilla, reported Mental Floss) tastes enough like a pumpkin pie to satisfy our seasonal cravings. Better still, the flavor can be used in a variety of foods: entreés, soups, breads, snacks, desserts, and drinks. Trader Joe's has them all.
Oh, yes, my friends, there will be time enough to enjoy Trader Joe's winter holiday treats (exhaustively listed on The Takeout). But now is not the time for Jingle Jangle or Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's. While the leaves are still falling and the ghosts and skeletons are haunting the front lawns, let us indulge in all things pumpkin without restraint or shame. I visited my local Queens, NY, branch of TJ's recently, and I was thrilled to find this pumpkin-topia of treats. (Your own local store might have additional items, such as their pumpkin butter and pumpkin Greek yogurt, as per PureWow.) One or two might have jumped into my basket. How could I resist?
1. Pumpkin Bar
Trader Joe's cereal bars are great for slipping into kids' lunch boxes, or into your own purse for a quick hunger-pangs remedy. You'll feel good knowing it contains actual pumpkin (no fake gourds were used in the making of this product), no hydrogenated oils, and natural sweeteners like cane syrup and brown rice syrup. The price — just under $2 for a box of six — is just as sweet.
2. Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal
I have a coworker who rushes to pick up a couple of boxes of this seasonal treat as soon as it hits the shelves, and who can blame her? It's a whole-grain breakfast option that makes it easier to wake up on chilly fall mornings. A box of eight packets sells for under $4.
3. Pumpkin Bisque
Is there any cozier dinner than a steaming bowl of autumn-flavored soup? Heat up a jar or two of Trader Joe's creamy, nutty-sweet pumpkin bisque ($4 per jar), serve with crusty bread topped with cheese, and you'll wish fall could last forever.
4. Pumpkin O's Cereal
Not a hot-cereal fan? You can still get your morning gourd fix with these pumpkin-flavored whole-grain rings. They're gluten-free, low in fat, and just what you need to get your day off to a pumpkin-y start.
5. Pumpkin Bread Mix
You wouldn't think that squashes and bread would go together, but they make a surprisingly fabulous combination. Like its popular cousin, zucchini bread, pumpkin adds moisture and flavor to the traditional quick-bread batter. Add a little oil, water, and egg, and you can mix up a batch of muffins — or a full sliceable loaf — that will disappear almost as soon as you serve it. TJ's mix is just $3 a box.
6. Pumpkin Coffee
Why stand in line and pay top dollar for a PSL when you can brew your own at home? Trader Joe's has both bags of ground coffee and these single-serve cups for your home coffeemaker. You might be tempted just to inhale it for a while before drinking it.
7. Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
Pumpkin and pasta? Yes, indeed. Trader Joe's seasonal ravioli combines a thin dough with a rich, flavorful pumpkin-ricotta filling. A perfect quick-fix dinner for a busy fall weeknight.
8. Pumpkin Biscotti
What better partner for your cup of pumpkin coffee than these crunchy autumnal cookies? Made with butter, eggs, and pumpkin puree, they were made to be dunked in a hot beverage for a moment of bliss to break up a long day. A box goes for $4.
9. Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark
Returning for another successful year is this fan favorite, a carefully blended mixture of oats, cornflakes, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and dark chocolate. It's surprisingly low in sugar and fat, but you wouldn't be able to tell just by tasting. At $4 a bag, you'll want to pick up more than one.
10. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix
Watch out, Grandma: Your oatmeal cookies have competition. TJ's ups the ante by adding pumpkin and chocolate chunks to the traditional batter, making for a rich taste explosion. Pass the milk.
11. Pumpkin Pancake And Waffle Mix
So you want even more pumpkin breakfast options? No problem. Trader Joe's also has this pancake and waffle mix ($2 per box), which you'll want to keep handy for a weekend morning treat. Or serve the pancakes for dinner one night. No one will judge you.
12. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread And Muffin Baking Mix
Families with gluten allergies or sensitivity are often left out when it comes to yummy carbs. Not so here. Trader Joe's offers a GF pumpkin bread/muffin mix that offers the same spicy flavor without the gluten. ($4/box)
13. Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Could this be any more pumpkin? Trader Joe's takes traditional roasted pepitas (which are yummy enough in themselves), coats them in a buttery toffee glaze, and adds pumpkin pie spices for extra oomph. Enjoy them as is, or add them to a salad or soup. They're $3 per bag.
14. Pumpkin Cheesecake
Don't let the plain-looking box fool you. This is an anything-but-boring dessert that will be the hit of a family dinner or a Halloween party. Genuine pumpkin is the third ingredient in this rich cheesecake (cream cheese and sugar being the first two), so you know it's bound to be good. Serve it as is, or add a drizzle of chocolate syrup or a dollop of whipped cream. TJ's is offering it at $7 per box.
15. Pumpkin Ice Cream
As we keep telling our kids, it's nice to share our things with others. But (shhh) we wouldn't blame you a bit if you decided to keep a container of this drool-worthy ice cream ($4 per quart) for yourself, hidden at the back of the freezer.
16. Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea
Need a break from coffee? Try this African herbal tea (pronounced "roy-boss"), perfumed with the cinnamon-clove pumpkin spices we all know and love. Flavorful, warming, and rich in antioxidants, too — sip and relax. Available for $4 for 20 sachets.
17. Pumpkin Pie Spiced Ginger Brew Sparkling Beverage
For a nonalcoholic alternative to pumpkin ales, open up a bottle of this bubbly. The combo of ginger purée and pumpkin pie spices is tingly and refreshing.