APPLE or PUMPKIN? It’s the great flavor debate

October 26, 2022

APPLE WINS: 64.4% of students prefer apple, 105 participating students, grades 9-12 of 400 polled (Annie Bai)

Picture this; it’s November 24th, and you’re sitting at the table with the entire family admiring the annual Thanksgiving dinner spread. You’re told that either apple or pumpkin pie will be served. Not both, it’s one or the other. Hard choice, after all, these two flavors have been fall favorites for centuries.

Apple pie was made into a nostalgic dish during World War II. According to Arcadia Publishing, “an image of a pie on the windowsill in the 1930s indicated a family was well-off during the depression, and the phrase “for Mom and apple pie” became a common refrain of soldiers headed into World War II.” Now, the phrase “as American as apple pie” has taken root, “Today, like hot dogs, baseball, or a cheeseburger, apple pie has become a symbol for the United States, and the American Dream.”

Personally, I am a big fan of pumpkin. I think it is more versatile and can be put in practically anything like breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, etc whereas apple is more commonly used in pie

— Carys Hardy

As explained by, “By the early 18th-century pumpkin pie had earned a place at the table, as Thanksgiving became an important New England regional holiday.”

So what makes these flavors taste so good? Well, ItsFoodTastic states that “Pumpkin pie has a warm and cozy aroma that will make you think of friends and family.”

Sophomore Leila Mosenfelder said, “When I think about pumpkin in the fall, I think about the pumpkin butter that I get when my dad, my brother, and I go apple picking in the fall.” The combination of condensed milk, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg creates a sweet comforting smell.

Freshman Bea Moore said “My parents and grandparents would make pumpkin bread and pie for special occasions, or sometimes just because. My grandma’s pumpkin pie especially are very good.”

Aside from pies, popular pumpkin pastries include pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, and muffins. Junior Carys Hardy said. “Personally, I am a big fan of pumpkin. I think it is more versatile and can be put in practically anything like breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, etc whereas apple is more commonly used in pie.”

As for apple pies, there are a vast variety of apple types and crust combinations that can greatly affect the flavor of the pie. The proportions need to be precise to get the desired flaky crust and crunchy apple pieces.

“The apples can be sliced thinly or cubed, so there’s plenty of opportunity for variation and display of a chef’s personal skill. Apples turn soft and almost jelly-like, sometimes with the slightest tooth in the center of each chunk,” junior Oliver Zhu said. “Objectively apples are superior. It’s sweet, tart, crisp, and floral. The texture is superior to that of pumpkin on almost any occasion. In a pie? God Forbid you have chunks of pumpkin in your pumpkin pie. If that were socially acceptable you’d see them at the HyVee at least.”

Other pastries and popular variations of the flavor include apple cider, cobbler, turnover, crisp, fritters, and caramel apple suckers. Senior Allison Mitchell said, “When I was younger and my mom would have friends over in the fall she would always put a big pot of cider on the stove in the kitchen and it would make the whole house would smell like apples and mulling spices.” states that in terms of pure nutritional content, “The pumpkin pie wins on calories, saturated fat, protein, and calcium. But the apple pie takes the cake when it comes to fiber, sugar (both total and added), and sodium.” Comparing these two flavors is no small feat, while the pumpkin spice flavor tends to invoke feelings of nostalgia, apples have more versatility.

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