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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pilgrim Joe's Pumpkin Ice Cream

I bet Miles Standish, John Alden and the gang didn't have anything like this at the first Thanksgiving. They were just figuring out how to grow crops and take shelter in the New World, and I'm pretty sure the establishment of the Plymouth Rock Creamery took a back seat to surviving and whatnot. Nevertheless, the recipe for this colonial treat was apparently passed down from Pilgrim Joe to his descendent, Trader Joe, who has decided to offer this holiday treat to all of us.

I know, I know. It's a little early for Thanksgiving stuff. But really, pumpkin season begins in October—what with "Joe-o-Lantern" carving and pumpkin patches and the advent of the Great Pumpkin, etc. I've been enjoying pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cookies, pumkin pie and pumpkin ale since the beginning of the month. And Russ, incidentally, has been enjoying other season-appropriate foods such as pumpkin pancakes.

Despite my acceptance of all things pumpkin, I was sort of reluctant about this ice cream for some reason. Maybe it's because I recently tried Trader Joe's Lemon Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream that Russ reviewed a little bit ago, and I knew that no other ice cream could possibly follow such an outstanding flavor. Wow. Yes, the lemon ice cream is THAT GOOD.

And sure enough, I'm just a little disappointed with this pumpkin flavor. It's certainly not that it tastes bad. If you like pumpkin-flavored desserts, you'll like this. I guess what I was pining for was a bit more in the texture department. It's just ice cream. If they would have thrown in some pumkin pie pieces, I think they could have nailed it. The bread/crust part of pumpkin pie really rounds out the creamy pie-filling and makes it a total dessert. Eating this ice cream, for me, was not unlike eating a bunch of cold pie filling by itself. Not terrible, but it could absolutely be improved by some additional textures and complementary flavors.

It's very pumpkinny. It's got the traditional spices, like nutmeg, that you'd want in a pumpkin-based dessert, and it doesn't taste fake...and it's not at all bland. This is another food that I kind of feel like a jerk for not giving it a great score. Because it is a great product. I just feel like it could have been even better. I've been spoiled by treats like the lemon ginger snap and Ben & Jerry's, which generally have a bunch of other yummy foods blended seamlessly into the ice cream.

In light of what it could have been, I give it a 2.5. Sonia was pleasantly surprised (and, she wasn't as impressed with the lemon ice cream, either) so she gives it a 4.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.


  1. I TOTALLY disagree...this is tons better tasting and texture better than any other pumpkin ice cream out there and if you want something other than ice cream with it, just put it on cookies, pie, cake, blond brownies or, my favorite, pumpkin pancakes...out of this world! It's just as good as their other ice creams...I give it a 10!

  2. Hmmm...well, Susan and Sarah, I think my opinion falls directly in between both of yours. I have no doubt that the ice cream blends well with all those foods you mentioned, Sarah. But for a REALLY good score, it has to blow me away just by itself. In the end, it's each to his or her own, I guess. Thanks for your thoughts and for reading. Dissenting opinions are welcomed...and expected here...

  3. Just tried this ice cream out too and really enjoyed it. It goes particularly well with the pumpkin bread from Trader Joes. You can see the review on our blog:

  4. If you are looking for texture then try Ben and Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream. I know your blog only reviews TJ items but Ben and Jerry's is the best pumpkin ice cream in my opinion!

  5. heartcupcakes - that sounds delicious! Huge fan of Ben and Jerry's :)

  6. Pumpkin ice cream hmm... I am going to have to try this one! I do love other seasonal flavors such as, peppermint! But I am a big fan of pumpkin as Dunkin's Pumpkin Iced Coffee has to be my new favorite drink... in the world! Seasonal flavors are always a safe bet I feel like, pumpkin pieces in ice cream though, I'm not sure! I think I may be weirded out by that thought, but great blog, I'll have to try it!
    Check mine out at

  7. Anybody have suggestions to a better pumpkin ice cream? Don't have access to Ben & Jerry's.

  8. hm i just tried this ice cream maybe a month ago and i was in love. i thought it was the best pumpkin ice cream i've ever had. though to be fair to me it tasted more like pumpkin egg nog than a pumpkin.
    last week i bought some sunnyside pumpkin pie ice cream and it was good too, just not as good as TJ's.

    1. Yesss. I didn't like this ice cream much at first, but the more I ate it the more I tasted pumpkin egg nog. Now I friggin' love it.

  9. I didn't quite like this at first, but I do now that I've discovered how wonderful it tastes with TJ's honey wheat pretzel sticks as a topping!

  10. I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin flavored things (I do like, e.g., pumpkin lattes and pumpkin pie quite a lot), but I don't like this ice cream at all (and I LOVE ice cream). I was shocked by the bright orange color and the pumpkin/spices were just totally overpowering to me. It's like eating pumpkin pie filling right out of a can (or, what I imagine that would be like). I mixed it with some vanilla ice cream and that helped a little, but I definitely won't be buying it again.

  11. I absolutely love this ice cream, but I'm also not a fan of "stuff" in there to give it texture... so this hits the spot for me.

  12. Just trying this for the first time and not very impressed. Honestly it tastes more like eggnog than pumpkin. Maybe if I heat it up and drink it????


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