I liked pumpkin shit long before white girls and Starbucks brought it to the mainstream. So I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to this most quintessential of autumn flavors. And no place on earth indulges this passion of mine more than good ol’ Trader Joe’s. But with 873 different pumpkin products on their shelves (seriously that’s only a minor exaggeration), it can be tough to distinguish the good from the bad. So here you go:
Country Spice Granola Cereal
A fantastic utility player. Top your yogurt with it, pour some milk and eat it like cereal, or (like I do) shove your hand in the box and eat it by the fistful. And it’s granola, so you can easily convince yourself that what you’re doing is “healthy.”
The list of “things I’d put this on” would be too large to fit here. TJ’s Pumpkin Butter is the Samuel L. Jackson of foods- everything you put it in becomes instantly better. Django Unchained? The Hateful Eight? Snoozefests before Sam showed up. Muffins? Ice cream? Hot dogs? Screw it, why not.
The frozen dessert section of Trader Joe’s is without equal. The ultimate option for 20-somethings who don’t quite know how to bake yet, but need to bring something besides a $10 bottle of pinot noir to Friendsgiving. And the Pumpkin Cheesecake shines bright even amongst this field of star players.
Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls
Hell yes. Much better than their pumpkin ice cream by itself, the ginger cookies are what makes it next level. Just the right amount of spice and a perfect complement to the ice cream. These little guys will make you forget every Chipwich you ever had as a kid. Actually I take that back, I will never not love a good Chipwich.
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
God I love it when they mix sweet and savory. This stuff is a perfect balance of both. The seeds imbedded throughout are a bit of a curveball, but a very welcome one. I stockpile this shit every fall so I can enjoy it 12 months a year. Don’t give me that look.
The definitive pumpkin dessert, so you’d think the preeminent supplier of all things pumpkin would have a top notch execution. You’d be wrong. Not to say it’s bad, it’s just…painfully average. The crust is very forgettable, and the filling tastes like what you’d scoop out of a can. Poor form, TJ’s.
What I was expecting: the pumpkin version of Honey Nut Cheerios. What I got instead: basically just colorless Fruit Loops. And with no Toucan Sam.
Pumpkin Body Butter
I sincerely hope you don’t need an explanation for this one. I feel like this was a joke that went too far. Some wiseguy in a brainstorm was like “Yeah we might as well start selling pumpkin body butter am I right guys?” Next thing you know people are slathering themselves in what I can only assume is their regular pumpkin butter mixed with Aveeno.
Fall Harvest Salsa
Why is this a thing? What is the target demographic here? Hispanic being trying desperately to assimilate into white culture without completely giving up their native cuisine?
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
I wanted to like this so bad. I live for bread pudding (my life is so fulfilling). But this rendition just came out dry, chewy, and severely lacking in spice. Did I leave it in the oven too long? Probably? Will I buy it again? Also, probably..