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Archive for October 8, 2011

FOOD HOLIDAY: Have A Fluffernutter Sandwich ~ It’s National Fluffernutter Day

Fluffernutter sandwiches require bread plus two fillings: peanut butter and marshmallow creme. Peanut butter was invented in 1890 but not mainstreamed in America until 1908 (see the history of peanut butter).

Marshmallow, on the other hand, dates back to ancient Egypt, and marshmallow sauces were popular in the early 20th century (see marshmallow history). A marshmallow creme called Marshmallow Fluff was sold to ice cream parlors in 1910 by the Limpert Brothers, and Snowflake Marshmallow Creme was available around 1914. The first commercially successful, shelf-stable marshmallow creme, it was produced by the Curtis Marshmallow Factory of Melrose, Massachusetts.

Marshmallow Fluff wasn’t the first marshmallow creme, but it’s the one that endured: 94 years later, the brand is still around. No one remembers the Limperts or the Curtises.

 

A basic Fluffernutter sandwich. Photo
courtesy Durkee-Mower.

 

Made of corn syrup, sugar, dried egg whites and vanilla flavoring, Marshmallow Fluff’s origin dates to 1917. A Somerville, Massachusetts man named Archibald Query made a proprietary recipe in his home kitchen and sold it door-to-door.

In the middle of World War I (1914 to 1918), sugar shortages forced Query to move on to other work. When peace returned, he was content with his situation and sold the formula for $500 to two returning veterans, H. Alan Durkee and Fred L. Mower. The product was popular among local homemakers, and the door-to-door sales soon shifted to grocers’ shelves. The rest is history.

But what about the Fluffernutter sandwich?

There’s no specific reference that cites when and where the Fluffernutter was born. We know who created the first sandwich filled with peanut butter and marshmallow creme, but not who named it. Was it someone at Durkee-Mower who sought to publicize the name, a creative consumer whose recipe was published in the local paper or perhaps a sandwich sold at a luncheonette? Durkee-Mower records don’t say.

Who Made The First Sandwich With Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Creme

Emma Curtis, co-owner with her brother of the Curtis Marshmallow Factory, was prolific in the development of many recipes for Snowflake Marshmallow Creme. Some of the first product labels, dating to 1913, suggested using the creme in sandwiches, topped with chopped nuts.

In a recipe leaflet published in 1914, Emma suggests peanut butter as an accompaniment to the marshmallow creme. She thus gets the credit as the person most likely to have created what later became known as the Fluffernutter sandwich. Other claimants, please step forward! (Source.)

In a booklet published before the end of the war, in 1918, Emma introduced the Liberty Sandwich: marshmallow creme and peanut butter (Americans were urged to give up meat one day a week during the war). The same recipe appears on a label for SMAC, an acronym for Snowflake Marshmallow Creme, which the brand adopted in 1922. (Source.)

By 1935, peanut butter and marshmallow creme were an established pairing. An ad for SMAC presented many uses including, “Make sandwiches for the kiddies with SMAC and peanut butter.” But then, no “SMACwich” soared into history. Instead, we have the Fluffernutter. Did someone at Durkee-Mower, in the Boston area along with Curtis, see the SMAC ads and snitch the recipe, renaming it the Fluffernutter? That’s our [totally unsubstantiated] guess.

Ways To Celebrate National Fluffernutter Day

  • Classic Fluffernutter Sandwich. The basic is creamy peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff on white bread. We like to substitute whole wheat bread for the white bread, chunky peanut butter for added crunch and half of a sliced banana or caramelized banana slices. Others add a few strips of bacon. Peanut Butter & Co. suggests crumbled graham crackers.
  • Strawberry Fluffernutter. Use Strawberry Marshmallow Fluff or add strawberry jam and/or sliced fresh strawberries. (You heard it here first!)
  • Mock Fluffernutter Sandwich. Another NIBBLE creation: If you’ve got marshmallows but no marshmallow creme, slice them (or use miniature marshmallows) and lay them atop the peanut butter.
  • As of this writing, Marshmallow Fluff is also made in raspberry and strawberry versions.
  • Toasted Fluffernutter Sandwich. Still another NIBBLE recipe: Toss the sandwich under the broiler (open face) for a gooey, toasty effect, using either marshmallow creme or sliced or miniature marshmallows. You can buy toasted marshmallow creme from Solo.
  • Cookies, Cake, Muffins. Top peanut butter cookies, cakes, cupcakes or muffins with Marshmallow Fluff. Alternatives: Make PB and Fluff cookie sandwiches; use Fluff as the filling in a peanut butter cake; use a pastry bag to inject Fluff into a cupcake or muffin.
  • Milk Shake. Make a Fluffernutter Shake: Add two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and two large spoonfuls of Marshmallow Fluff into a blender, along with a cup of milk. Blend 30 seconds or until smooth.
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    Toonie Moonie makes organic marshmallow creme and Bountiful Harvest makes sugar-free marshmallow creme.

    There’s a website devoted to all things Marshmallow Fluff, including many recipes. Check it out!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Eating Persimmons

    Not a tomato: it’s a Fuyu persimmon. Photo by J. Irkaejc | IST.

     

    It’s a bright, glossy orange color, celebrating Halloween and fall.

    It’s nutritious, with almost 72% of the Daily Value of vitamin A (from all that beta carotene that makes it so orange), about 25% DV of fiber, more than 21% DV of vitamin C and 9% of copper.*

    And many of us have never tasted one.

    What is it?

    It’s a persimmon: a tree fruit originally domesticated in ancient China, where it was considered a precious food. The name first appears around 450 B.C.E., in a writing by Kong Ji, a grandson of Confucius. Almost 1300 centuries later, in the late 1880s, a Japanese persimmon arrived in Washington D.C., brought by a naval commander returning from Japan.

    There are hundreds of persimmon varieties, ranging in color from pale yellow-orange to dark red-orange. Most of them are too astringent to eat.

    But two commercial varieties are grown in California and are available from September through December.

     

    Persimmon Varieties

  • Hachiya persimmon is an astringent variety that comprises about 90% of persimmons grown in the U.S. It has a tapered shape, reminiscent of an acorn. Astringent persimmons have high levels of unsoluble tannins that make them bitter, chalky and unpleasant until they ripen. When ripe, they feel like a ripe tomato. The interior of the ripe fruit comprises thick pulp that is seedless and has no core. The skin is not eaten.
  • Fuyu persimmon is a nonastringent variety also known as kaki or sharon fruit.† It looks like a squat tomato. The Fuyu variety is not only sweeter than the Hachiya, but it’s also edible while still firm. Buy Fuyu when you want sliced or cubed flesh for a recipe. Unlike the Hachiya, it has a core that is not eaten, but the skin is eaten.
  •  
    Both varieties are the color of an orange tomato, but there is no relation. The two fruits branch off at the Order level (remember high school biology: Kingdom, Order, Family, Genus, Species).

  • There is a third variety of persimmon, known as the pollination-variant non-astringent persimmon, that is available from small growers. Full pollination makes their flesh a brown color, or flecked with brown. Like the non-astringent Fuyu, these fruits can be eaten when firm. Look in farmers markets for the Tsurunoko or chocolate persimmon, the Maru or cinnamon persimmon (its brown-flecked yellow flesh has a spicy flavor; it’s available in November and December from Melissas.com) and the Hyakume, or brown sugar persimmon.
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    How To Buy & Store Persimmons

    Persimmons reach full orange color before they are fully ripe; they are harvested when crisp and firm. They often arrive at the market before they are ready to eat and develop flavor as they soften‡. A fully ripe persimmon is soft to the touch, with slightly wrinkled skin. If you find ripe persimmons, plan to eat them immediately: Overripe persimmons get mushy. One medium persimmon has about 118 calories.

    How To Eat Persimmons

    As a fresh fruit, Fuyu persimmons can be eaten like an apple. Since their skin isn’t eaten, Hachiya persimmons need only to be halved: Remove the seeds and spoon the fruit from the skin. With a little more work, you can enjoy persimmons in as many ways as other fruits:

  • Breakfast: Have a persimmon with cottage cheese or yogurt, or sliced or diced as a topper for hot or cold cereal, pancakes and waffles. You can also use puréed persimmon instead of pancake syrup.
  • Salads & Salsas: Add firm Fuyu persimmon slices or cubes to fruit salads and green salads. Cube apples and Fuyu persimmons for a colorful fruit salad, mixed with red and green grapes, sliced kiwi and pomegranate arils, plus optional almonds, pecans or walnuts. Similarly, you can add diced persimmon to salsa.
  • Drinks: Purée the flesh and add to cocktails or smoothies.
  • Sauces: Use the purée to make a fruit sauce for desserts or for fish and poultry.
  • Baking: Use the purée in cakes, cookies and muffins.
  • Snacks: Make a sophisticated snack: sliced Fuyu persimmons dipped in or sprinkled with chili powder, drizzled with lime juice and a pinch of crunchy sea salt; eat it on its own or with a side of ricotta or soft goat cheese. Instead of chili powder, you can sprinkle the fruit with minced fresh jalapeño.
  • Dessert: Make persimmon pudding, persimmon sorbet or persimmon ice cream. In addition to the classic technique, we’re told that you can make “quick sorbet” by freezing the fruit for four hours, then scooping out the frozen flesh.
  •  
    Let us know how you enjoy persimmons!
     
    *Eaten daily, the beta-carotene in two persimmons can help to avoid breast cancer. The beta-carotene may also prevent infections such as colds and flu. Source. Other studies suggest that beta-carotene can reduce the incidence of heart attacks.

    †Fuyu is also known as Sharon fruit, grown extensively on the Sharon plain of Israel, the northern half of the country’s coastal plain. It is also known as kaki after its botanical name, Diospyros kaki, as well as by an older name, “apple of the Orient.”

    ‡Ripen persimmons at room temperature in a paper bag with an apple or banana. You can store them in the refrigerator when ripe, but don’t keep them there for long or they’ll get mushy.

      

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