The Chemistry of Pumpkins


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The Chemistry of Pumpkins


This organic red-orange pigment is a carotenoid found largely in plants and fruits such as pumpkins and carrots. Isolated β-Carotene is commonly used for column chromatography.


The wonderful vegetable aroma that happens when you slice open a pumpkin is due to six-carbon alcohols and aldehydes. The most prominent is cis-3-HEXEN-1-ol, a colorless oily liquid with an intense odor of freshly cut grass.

Canned Pumpkin

The aroma of the canned variety has a “burnt” sort of scent to it, caused by the volatiles 2-methylbutanal, Coffee Furanone and Furfural.

Pumpkin Spice

There isn’t very much “pumpkin” flavor in pumpkin spice.  Instead, it is filled with the wonderful aromas and flavors of fall such as cinnamon (cinnamaldehyde) and clove (eugenol).