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Taste test: pumpkin-flavored foods

This time every year, pumpkin-flavored foods start taking over our grocery store shelves. Some are anticipated, like pumpkin coffee drinks or creamers. But we are always excited about the rare finds that many of us would not think of. This week, we sampled four unusual pumpkin-spiced snacks that turned out to be better than we expected. Next week, we review some pumpkin-flavored cookies.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductTrader Joe's Pumpkin Tortilla Chips Peanut Butter & Co. Pumpkin Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie Larabar Grandma's Pumpkin Pie Prestige Ice Cream

Originally, we winced at the thought of pumpkin tortilla chips. One judge said he could find "no practical reason for pumpkin tortilla chips to exist." That was until we tasted them. The pumpkin spice flavor in these chips was very subtle. If anything, judges tasted more cinnamon than pumpkin. But that's probably why these worked. "They are dark and rustic-looking and flecked with spice and seeds," said one judge. "They are not super crunchy but I like the nutmeg taste." Another said, "While it's fairly hard to discern the pumpkin, these are very, very yummy and really tasty."Again, a very understated pumpkin taste probably made this peanut butter a bigger hit than expected. "This is very good," said one panelist. "It would be great with a dash of honey and a hint of nutmeg." Another said, "It's amazing! There's very little pumpkin flavor initially, but the aftertaste is rather intriguing." One said it would be great for baking. "The appealing sweet and autumnal spice would make amazing peanut butter cookies," she said.Even the protein/health food bar makers are getting on the pumpkin bandwagon. The dates and figs in this bar flecked with nuts gave it a natural-looking appearance, said one judge. "I can taste a moist, pumpkin pie-like flavor," she said. "It's lovely, and I would definitely eat this as a wholesome snack." Another said, "The pumpkin is way under the radar but I can definitely taste it." This taster added: "It's like morning just before the sun takes purchase of the sky."This ice cream was a hit for its warm "autumnal" color and its smooth consistency. "It tastes like cookie dough," said one judge. "I would certainly serve it to company." Another appreciated the "deep mocha, very attractive, rich-looking dessert" and its balanced flavor. "It's not too sweet and very elegantly pumpkin spiced," she said. "It would make a great holiday ice cream pie with a gingersnap crust and cranberry topping."

they buy?
Two of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1.99 for a 7-ounce bag.$3.99 for a 16-ounce jar from the Fresh Market.$1.25 for a 1.6-ounce bar from Publix.$4.79 for a 1.5-quart container from Winn-Dixie.

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeEight chipsTwo tablespoonsOne barHalf cup
Fat/Fiber8g / 2g14g / 2g9g / 3g8g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 150mg4g / 90mg17g / 0mg17g / 45mg
Carbs/Protein16g / 2g10g / 6g25g / 4g21g / 2g

Taste test: pumpkin-flavored foods 10/17/16 [Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2016 4:05pm]
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