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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Snack Factory Dessert Thins

Our Top Pick Of The Week is Snack Factory Dessert Thins, a new line of thin cookies that are just 30 calories apiece. If you’re cutting back on sweets but are yearning for “just a bite,” consider these a solution.

Our runners up span good-for-you foods like Pete & Jerry’s Organic Hard Boiled Eggs, Bonne Maman’s new Lemon Curd, and a new line extension from one of our favorite yogurts, Noosa Yoghurt (the Australian spelling).

We have long enjoyed Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, so when they announced a new line of Dessert Thins cookies, we had hope.

And we are not disappointed! lightly textured, airy biscuits in delectable dessert flavors! Made with non-GMO ingredients, Dessert Thins are available in

  • Brownie
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Lemon Tart
    All three are fragrant, flavorful, and a calorie bargain. Use them for mini cookie sandwiches, an ice cream garnish, dippers for chocolate fondue, or an alternative to biscotti with coffee.

    When you want just a bit of cookie, without fear of overdoing it, you can be satisfied with just one (the recommended serving size is 4 pieces, 120 calories).

    Following America’s desire for natural, better-for-you foods, Dessert Thins are non-GMO, contain zero grams of trans-fat, no cholesterol, no artificial colors or flavors.

    As for why the company calls them by the British word for cookies—biscuits—we can’t fathom. In the U.S., “biscuit” does not indicate a sweet treat. But why ask why?

    We hope the new line is a success for selfish reasons: We want to keep eating them.

    See more at

    Lemon curd has been a favorite British spread for centuries. Why it isn’t more popular in the U.S., we have no idea. You have to hunt for it in specialty food stores.

    Thanks to Bonne Maman’s national supermarket distribution, you may now find it in an aisle near you. Don’t pass it by!

    The combination of eggs, butter, lemon juice and sugar has uses beyond toast and croissants. Use it:

  • As a snack, on crackers.
  • As a dessert topper.
  • As a quick fix when you want a spoonful of something sweet.
    Bright yellow, delightfully lemony, this rich spread belongs at your breakfast table…and beyond.

    The line is non-GMO, Certified Gluten Free and certified kosher by OU.

    Discover more at BonneMamanUS.


    Snack Factory Dessert Thins - Lemon
    [1] Snack Factory’s new Dessert Thins in Brownie, Chocolate Chip and Lemon Tart (photo courtesy Pinterest).

    Bonne Maman Lemon Curd
    Bonne Maman French preserves and spreads debut a new spread flavor: Lemon Curd (photo courtesy Bonne Maman).

    Noosa Mates Coconut Almond Chocolate

    [3] Noosa Mates score! Four mix-in yoghurts worthy of dessert (photo curry Noosa).



    Noosa, the Australian yoghurt brand made in Colorado for the U.S. market, has been a NIBBLE favorite since it first landed here.

    Made with 5% milk, instead of 2% or 0%, it is sumptuous, silky, and the closest yogurt you’ll find that can pass for pudding.

    The 5.5-ounce containers have a separate container that holds the mix-ins. It’s a lot of packaging, but it’s delicious to the max.

    Flavors include:

  • Banana Chocolate Peanut, banana yoghurt with Guittard dark chocolate chunks, banana chips and roasted peanuts.
  • Coconut Almond Chocolate, coconut yogurt with Guittard dark chocolate chunks, toasted coconut crisps and whole almonds.
  • Honey Cranberry Almond, honey yoghurt with crunchy granola, dried cranberries, roasted almonds and pepitas.
  • Honey Pretzel Peanut, honey yoghurt with Guittard dark chocolate chunks, mini pretzels and honey roasted peanuts.
  • Maple Ginger, maple yoghurt with granola, gingersnap streusel and candied ginger.
    They’re all so good, we can’t even pick a favorite—although a nod goes to Banana Chocolate Peanut. Why is there not more banana yogurt out there???

    The line is certified kosher by OU. See more Noosa at


    Pete & Jerry's Organic Hard Boiled Eggs

    [4] These organic, grab-and-go hard-boiled eggs from Pete & Jerry’s are from free-range hens who are treated very well (photo courtesy Pete & Jerry’s).



    There’s a difference in the flavor of eggs produced by faceless factory farms, and eggs produced by small farmers dedicated to treating hens like the queens they are.

    We have long admired Pete & Jerry’s organic eggs, from free-range chickens who live happy lives.

    How, following the trend to nutritious, grab-and-go peeled, hard-boiled eggs, Pete & Jerry’s has packaged their eggs in pouches and larger containers.

    We love them as snacks, with a bit of pepper or chili flakes.

  • Throw them into your lunch bag.
  • Slice them onto salads or sandwiches
  • Enjoy them as a snack, whenever and wherever.
    It’s a food you can feel good about, both in terms of nutritional and humanity.

    Learn more about Pete & Jerry’s organic farming at



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    FOOD 101: The History Of Jam, Jelly & Preserves

    We’ve already done a turn on the the history of peanut butter. Today it’s jelly’s turn.

    Before we start on its history, check out the different types of fruit spreads: not just jam, jelly and preserves, but chutney, conserve, curd, fruit butter and marmalade.

    The history of jam and preserves begins with the history of food preservation. After all, it was only a few centuries ago that technology was created to store foods over long periods.


    By the Paleolithic period 2.6 million years ago*—also called the Stone Age, and marked by the earliest known use of stone tools—people were preserving food. They had already realized that if they could save food they collected in times of plenty, it would make survival easier during the times of scarcity. They could also avoid having to constantly roam greater and greater distances to look for fresh food.

    The earliest natural methods of preserving food were:

  • Using cold, in areas with ice and snow—packed in caves or cellars, or simply frozen under the ice.
  • Drying—eliminating the moisture from food by exposing it to the sun, applying pressure, or smoking (bacteria and mold need moisture to live). Evidence shows that Middle Eastern and Asian cultures actively dried foods as early as 12,000 B.C.E. [source]
  • The use of salt for preserving food came later in prehistory. Beginning in the Bronze Age (ca. 3200 B.C.E. to 600 B.C.E.), many salt roads—trade routes overland and via river—carried salt to trade in regions that had none.
  • Honey, which has no moisture so can preserve foods enclosed in it, has been used for 8,000 years (6000 B.C.E.) at least. A rock painting from that time shows people harvesting honey. Similarly, syrups of honey and sugar were used as preservatives. (The earliest “candies” are considered to be dates and figs in syrup.)
  • Preservation with honey or sugar was well known to the earliest cultures. Fruits kept in honey were commonplace.
  • In ancient Greece, quince was mixed with honey, dried somewhat and packed tightly into jars. The Romans improved on the method by cooking the quince and honey together, producing a meld of the ingredients (preserves!)].
    Here’s more on the preservation of foods from The National Center For Home Food Preservation..

    The first steps toward modern preservation methods were spurred by Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1785. He needed to send food with his armies that wouldn’t spoil preserve the food they needed.

    Thus canning came to be, enabling fruits and vegetables in all their forms to be preserved until the next year’s bounty, followed somewhat later by mason jars for home cooks.

    Here’s the history of canning and the history of mason jars.

    Credit cooks in the Middle East as the first to make jam and preserves, though historians can’t pinpoint the date. It was before the 11th century; we just don’t know how much before.

    It may have been the 4th century or earlier. Recipes for fruit preserves (using honey) can be found in the oldest cookbook to survive from antiquity: De Re Coquinaria (“The Art of Cooking”).

    The book is believed to be published in the late fourth or early fifth century, and is attributed to “Marcus Gavius Apicius.”*


    *The Paleolithic is considered to have ended around 10,000 B.C.E.

    †This is considered a pseudonym of the author(s), honoring a famous epicure by that name who lived some four centuries earlier.
    Sugar Travels From The Pacific To The Middle Eaast

    While honey could be used to sweeten jams and preserves, it was sugar that became the sweetener of preference.

    The people of New Guinea in the South Pacific domesticated sugar cane some 10,000 years ago. It was later planted in India, where growers in the Ganges Delta became adapt at refining the sweet cane juice into crystallized sugar.

    Darius The Great (549-485 B.C.E.) brought sugar cane back to Persia following his invasion of India. Persia became a prolific sugar-producing region, and Middle Easterners had lots of it. Not so, the countries to the north.

    Jump to the 11th century and the Crusades.

    Amazingly, sugar was only discovered by western Europeans in the 11th Century C.E., as a result of the Crusades (1095 to 1291). Crusaders returning home talked of how pleasant the “new spice” was. The first recorded mention of sugar in England in 1099 [source].

    But it wasn’t cheap.

    As an example, a record from 1319 C.E. cites sugar available in London at “two shillings a pound.” That’s about $50 per pound in today’s money.

    So jellies, preserves and other sugar-based foods would have been restricted to royalty and the wealthy.

    Marmalade is believed to have been created in 1561 by the physician to Mary, Queen of Scots. He crushed oranges and sugar as a remedy for her seasickness.

    For more pleasant uses, royal sweet tooths kept royal kitchen staffs busy.

    The magnificent feasts of Louis XIV always ended with marmalades and jellies served in silver dishes, eaten with silver spoons (so don’t feel guilty about dipping into the jar with your stainless steel flatware).

    Not that Louis and his acquaintances watched their pennies, but sugar wasn’t cheap. It didn’t trickle down to the bourgeoisie (or the British middle classes

    As an example, we have a record from 1319 C.E. citing sugar available in London at “two shillings a pound.” That’s about $50 per pound in today’s money.

    Unless money knew no boundaries, sugar was a luxury.

    Finally, with the enormous expansion of industry and opportunity starting with the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, most people could afford sugar for their coffee and tea.
    Why Jelly Arrived Later

    Jelly came centuries later. It required gelatin to set it. (In modern times, pectin derived from fruits is used.)

    Gelatin (also spelled gelatine) had been made since ancient times by boiling animal and fish bones and connective tissues. It was a laborious process, undertaken largely by the kitchens of the wealthy, which had the staff resources to undertake it.‡

    Aspic, made from meat or fish stock, appears in Egyptian wall paintings. It seems to have dropped from sight, sometime after the fall of Ancient Egypt (30 B.C.E.) and the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 C.E., which led to more sacking by other peoples and the Dark Ages.

    No one had enough to eat of the basics, much less laboriously crafted fare.


    Pear Jelly

    Orange Marmalade
    Pineapple Passionfruit Jam

    Cherry Preserves

    Raspberry Curd

    Apple Butter

    [1] Jelly is clear. This pear jelly recipe is from Things We Make. [2] Marmalade has a clear base, but is different from jelly in that it includes pieces of the fruit. Here’s the orange marmalade recipe from The Suburban Soapbox. [3] Jam is made from crushed fruit. This pineapple-passionfruit jam recipe is from The Flexitarian. [4] Preserves differ from jam, in that the fruit is cooked whole (in the case of small fruit like berries) and is recognizable its syrup. This cherry preserves recipe is from the Cilantropist. [5] Curd purées the cooked fruit and combines it with butter into a creamy spread, as in this lemon curd recipe from Saving Dessert. [6] In an interesting twist, products called fruit butter have no butter or other dairy. This apple butter recipe is from Dessert For Two. See many more types of fruit spreads in our Jam & Jelly Glossary.

    Aspic later resurfaced as a French darling at the beginning of the Renaissance, around 1400. Kitchens of the wealthy turned out fancy aspics and desserts.

    Powdered gelatin was invented in 1682 by Denis Papin, a French physicist, mathematician and inventor. It made the production of jelly so much easier, and enabled the development of other foods that required stiffening.

    And that’s why jelly came much later.

    Interestingly, Papin’s Wikipedia page doesn’t mention gelatin—just his scientific inventions. No doubt, inventing the forerunner of the steam engine tops jelling food.

    Here’s a longer history of gelatin.

    By the way:

    The word jelly comes from the French word gelée, meaning to congeal or gel.

    The word jam appears in 18th century English from the word meaning to press tightly.

    The word marmalade appeared in the late 15th century, derived from the Portuguese word for quince jam, marmelada.


    ‡The primary use for gelatin was as glue.


    Lamb With Mint Jelly

    Pancakes With Strawberry Jam

    Linzer Cookies

    [7] Lamb roast with mint jelly, a British classic (photo courtesy Welsh Beef & Lamb). [8] Pancakes with strawberry jam (photo courtesy Calm Belly Kitchen). [9] Raspberry jam is the filling for liner cookies and tortes (photo courtesy American Heritage Cooking).


    Sugar Comes To The West Indies

    Arab trade brought sugar to southern Europe through Spain, and the first Spanish explorers carried it to the New World.

    It is recorded that in 1493, Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane plants to grow in the West Indies. The crop thrived, and the region became Europe’s main source of sugar, beginning around 1500.

    Sugar was the main crop produced on plantations throughout the Caribbean beginning in the 18th century, leading to a boom in the Caribbean economies through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

    These plantations produced 80% to 90% of the sugar consumed in Western Europe. A by-product of refining sugar was molasses, given to the slaves for sweetening their food. One clever fellow discovered that fermenting the molasses ade a delicious drink: rum.

    As global trading grew, the price of sugar became affordable in the 19th century to middle and lower income families in Europe and the U.S.

    But sugar was a precious necessity. In 1888, the American folk song Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill, has railroad workers lamenting, “Oh it’s work all day for the sugar in your tay” [tea].

    And that meant sugar for your jams and jellies, candies and desserts, too.

    From European royalty to Americans to American pioneers, to energizing troops during battle, to making life sweeter for children and invalids, and just about everyone else:

    Jams and preserves came to the U.S. with colonists.

    As a teenager in 1792, John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, a nursery man (the title in those days), moved from western Pennsylvania to Ohio. In 1805 began his apprenticeship as an orchardist with an apple grower.

    He noted the U.S. surge westward in the early 1800s and decided on his life’s journey: planting apple trees throughout the Midwest, so incoming pioneers could make cider and jam.

    One of those pioneers was Jerome Monroe Smucker of Orrville, Ohio, a farmer who opened a cider mill in 1897 using fruit that Johnny Appleseed had planted. Within a few years, he was also making apple butter, in a copper kettle over a wood stove.

    Jerome and his wife Ella ladled the apple butter into stoneware crocks, and Ella then sold it from her horse-drawn wagon to other housewives in the county. Today their venture is worth more than $15 billion.

  • In Concord, Massachusetts in 1853, Ephraim Wales Bull perfected the breeding of a cold-climate, rich-tasting grape, giving us a legacy of Concord grape jelly.
  • In 1869, Dr. Thomas Branwell Welch used the Concord grape to launch his grape juice company.
  • In 1918, Welch’s company made its first jam product, Grapelade. The U.S. Army bought the entire inventory and shipped it to France for consumption by the troops during World War I. When the troops returned to the States after the war, they demanded more “Grapelade.” Welch’s signature Concord grape jelly debuted in 1923.
  • In 1940 the Food and Drug Administration established Standards of Identity (legal requirements) for what can be called jam, jelly, preserves and fruit butters.
  • After World War II, food scientists developed the process of aseptic canning: heating the food and the jar or can separately. For sensitive foods such as fruits, this allowed for high-temperature flash cooking that preserved taste and nutritional value.
  • Alas, when sugar prices soared in the early 1970s, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) became a popular substitute for mass producers. It took more than 30 years for health professionals, and then consumers, to remove HFCS from many of our foods [source].
  • Beginning with the emergence of the foodie in the mid-1980s, more Americans entered the artisan food business: back to the basics, using the best ingredients and artisan techniques. Without economies of scale, their products are more expensive than mass brands, but worth it.
  • Today, the U.S. produces about 1 billion pounds of fruit spreads (jams, jellies, preserves, fruit spreads, marmalades, fruit & honey butters) annually. Per capita consumption is approximately 2.2 pounds annually.

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Emily G’s Jams

    Last year we received a gift of Emily G’s Jam Of Love, an exquisite artisan bramd. When the last jar was scraped clean, we were despondent.

    We taste a lot of quality jams, jellies, marmalades and preserves that are perfectly nice. But on rare occasions, we come across a knockout. That’s how we feel about Emily G’s Jam Of Love, a lovely line of artisan jams and other condiments.

    (If you don’t know the difference between chutney, jam, jelly, marmalade and preserves, we’ve got that covered in our Jam Glossary.)

    Emily Myer, a culinary school graduate, has great recipes and top-notch jam-making skills. Superb fruit flavor, exquisite texture, creative recipes: These are jams (and marmalades) to treasure. Made by hand in small batches with the finest ingredients, these jams deliver a depth of flavor and texture that can’t be bested.

    They’re a treat for the table, and a wonderful gift anytime. We love it for stocking stuffers and teacher gifts; and the heart on the label makes it a contender for Valentine’s Day, too.

    Not to mention, place settings for Thanksgiving: a bounty for guests to take home.

    Ten best-sellers are available year-round, with seasonal additions. Current selections on the website include:

  • Apple Pie
  • Blackberry Vanilla
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Fig Pomegranate
  • Jalapeno Raspberry
  • Peach Marmalade
  • Pear Honey
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Strawberry Chipotle
  • Strawberry Pineapple
  • Tipsy Onion and Garlic
  • Tomato Jam
  • Triple Berry
    All are superb, but be sure to get Cabernet Sauvigon and Tipsy Onion and Garlic. They’ll really expand your horizons.

    A 10-ounce jar is $8.50, there are different gift boxes with three jars (up to $29.99).

    The jams are sold on, and there’s a store locator as well.

    We [heart] you, Emily.

    Bread is a given, as is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In truth, we eat these jams right from the jar, a heaping tablespoon for dessert; or on a buttery croissant or fresh or toasted baguette slices.

    But here are 20 different ways to use [any] jam:
    Jam With Breakfast

  • Breakfast Cheese. Serve as a condiment with cottage cheese, ricotta or any breakfast cheese.
  • Hot Cereal. Use a dab instead of sugar.
  • Pancake/Waffle Topping. Substitute jam for syrup.
  • Yogurt. Add jam to plain yogurt to customize your perfect fruit yogurt.
    Jam With Lunch

  • Grilled Cheese. Sharp cheeses like blue cheese and cheddar are perfect pairings for jam. Grill the jam with the cheese or serve it on the side as a condiment. For more flavor, use rye or a textured whole grain bread.
  • Salad Dressing. Warm a spoonful of jam and whisk it into salad dressings.
  • Sandwich Spread. Spread jam on the bread with a sandwich of cheese, ham, lamb, poultry or roast pork. To cut the sweetness, you can mix the jam with plain yogurt.
    Jam With Appetizers & Snacks

  • Canapés. Top a cracker or slice of baguette with cheese, ham, turkey or other favorite and a bit of jam.
  • Cheese Condiment. Wonderful with a cheese plate (more cheese condiments) or atop a baked Brie. The popular appetizer of jam poured over a brick of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese, and served with crackers, is vastly improved with fine jam.
  • Dipping Sauce. Mix jam in a small bowl with sriracha, a hot chile and vinegar-sauce; or with plain hot sauce plus vinegar. You can also make a dip with fresh grated ginger and soy sauce.
  • Pepper Jelly. Mix in some red pepper flakes or dried or fresh minced chipotle, jalapeño or other chile (the different chile types).
  • Pretzel or Breadstick Dip. Mix with Dijon or other mustard. For a sweet-and-hot profile, add some hot sauce.
    Jam With Dinner
  • Condiment/Garnish. Serve with fish/seafood, chicken, lamb, pork.
  • Meat Glaze. Particularly delicious on poultry and pork. Mix with fresh herbs and garlic.
  • Sauce. Use jam with wine or vermouth to deglaze the pan. Add some to the pan while you’re cooking chicken or pork chops and let the flavor coat the meat.
    Jam With Dessert

  • Cheesecake. Fine jam makes a wonderful topping or a condiment on the side. Cookies. Thumbprints and rolled cookies with a jam swirl are classics.
  • Crêpe Filling. Delicious plain or with fresh goat cheese or mascarpone.
  • Dessert Sauce. Mix with plain or vanilla yogurt or sour cream.
  • Ice Cream & Sorbet Topping. Crown a scoop of sorbet with a dab of fine jam. Lightly warm the jam so it flows like a sauce over ice cream.
  • Layer Cake Filling. A coat of jam between the layers is a classic: Think Sacher Torte! Apricot or raspberry jam is delicious with chocolate cake; any flavor works with lemon cake.
  • Tarts & Tartlets. Fill tart or tartlet shells with jam. Top with a dab of crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, mascarpone or sour cream.
    Enjoy your jam!


    Emily G Jams

    Peach Marmalade

    Pate With Berry Jam

    Jam & Ricotta

    Swordfish With Fig Jam

    Brownie Bites

    [1] A treasure in each jar (photo courtesy Emily G’s Jams). [2] A bread and cracker spread with 20 more uses (the list is below; photo Al 62 | IST). [3] Garnish paté and canapes (photo Vicki F | IST). [4] For breakfast, add to cottage cheese, ricotta or yogurt (photo © Kirsten Photo). [5] Swordfish with fig jam (photo courtesy Fresh Originals). [6] Brownie bites with berry jam (photo Emily G’s).



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    PRODUCT: Justin’s Peanut Butter & Banana Chips Snack Packs

    How do you enjoy bananas as a better-for-you snack?

    From the peel? With PB? On your cereal? With yogurt? As snack chips? On PB sandwich?

    Justin’s has created a new way: a better-for-you grab-and-go snack that combines Justin’s artisan peanut butter and organic bananas chips.

  • Justin’s Original Peanut Butter + Banana Chips Snack Packs
  • Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter + Banana Chips Snack Packs
    They’re the world’s first all-in-one, non-perishable fruit and nut butter pairing.

    Toss them in briefcases, cars, desk drawers, handbags, gym bags, lockers, lunch bags, pockets and tote bags.

    The new Snack Packs are:

  • All natural.
  • Convenient/shelf stable.
  • Dippable (no plate or utensils required).
  • Energy Giving.
  • Filling.
  • Fiber (3g).
  • Filling.
  • Gluten Free.
  • Kosher (OU).
  • Made to Matter* (handpicked by Target).
  • Non-GMO.
  • Portable.
  • Potassium-rich (200mg).
  • Protein (5-6g).

  • The Original Peanut Butter is 200 calories, 140 from fat.
  • The Honey Peanut Butter is 210 calories, 150 from fat.
    See the section below on peanut butter healthfuliness†.

    The snacks with banana chips join Justin’s nut butter and pretzel snacks:

  • Classic Almond Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs
  • Honey Almond Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs
  • Maple Almond Butter + Pretzels Snack Packs


    Justin's Peanut Butter With Bananas

    Justin's Honey Peanut Butter Jar

    [1] Toss a Snack Pack anywhere. [2] A jar of Justin’s Peanut Butter, which is scooped into the Snack Packs. Photos courtesy Justin’s.

    *Target’s Made To Matter program brings together 20 purpose-driven brands to make natural, organic and sustainable products more accessible to consumers. The products meet at least one of these five criteria: reduced waste and packaging, reduced sugar, dietary and allergen restrictions, clean label products and closed loop systems.

    †Editor’s Note: People are healthy; products are healthful.

    Doesn’t it have saturated fat?

    Here’s an abridged response from Walter C. Willett, M.D., Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health

    The presence of saturated fat doesn’t automatically kick a food into the “unhealthy” camp. Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu [are healthy foods that] have some saturated fat. It’s the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health.

    Let’s take a look at the peanut butter [fat] package. One serving (about 2 tablespoons) has 3.3 grams of saturated fat and 12.3 grams of unsaturated fat, or about 80% unsaturated fat. That puts it up there with olive oil in terms of the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fat.

    (Justin’s Snack Packs have a bit less than 2 tablespoons of PB. Here’s more on the different types of fats and how good they are for you.)

    Peanut butter also gives you some fiber, some vitamins and minerals (including 200 milligrams of potassium), and other nutrients. Salted peanut butter still has about twice as much potassium as sodium. That profile compares quite favorably with bologna, roast beef, and many other sandwich fixings [unsalted PB is even better].

    Over the years, numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.

    Saturated fat isn’t the deadly toxin it is sometimes made out to be. The body’s response to saturated fat in food is to increase the amounts of both harmful LDL and protective HDL in circulation. In moderation, some saturated fat is okay. Eating a lot of it, though, promotes artery-clogging atherosclerosis, the process that underlies most cardiovascular disease. In contrast, unsaturated fats, which make up the majority of the fat content in peanut butter, help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

    In other words, as with most things, enjoy it in moderation.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese Spreads, Cheese Condiments

    Fig Spread With Cheese

    Bonne Maman Fig Spread

    Top: Crostini with Brie, Serrano ham and Fig Spread (photo courtesy Favor The Moments). Bottom: Enjoy trying the different spreads with different cheeses (photo courtesy Bonne Maman).


    What’s a cheese condiment? What’s a cheese spread? you may ask. Here’s the food nerd explanation:

  • Cheese spread is one of the sweet cheese condiments.
  • A condiment is an auxiliary food product that adds flavor to another food.
  • “Condiment” is first found in print in French around 1420, and derives from the Latin condimentum, spice.
  • Mankind has been enjoying condiments for much longer, even before the dukkah of ancient Egypt the ancient Romans’ beloved fish sauce, garum.
    Chutney, ketchup, mustard and pickle relish are examples of condiments that enhance burgers and franks. Although you may not think of them as such, fudge sauce, marshmallow cream and whipped cream are ice cream condiments.

    Given America’s growing familiarity with fine cheeses, here’s an…


    What is the difference between a mostarda and a mustard? Why would you put honey on cheese? Can you use the same condiments on a log of fresh goat cheese and an aged Gouda?

    Cheeses are wonderful on their own, but cheese condiments can bring out their nuances. Similar to wine pairings, the flavor and age of the cheese are taken into account when deciding on pairings.

    We have an elaborate chart of cheese condiment pairings, from aged balsamic and mustard to sweet condiments such as chutney, honey and preserves.

    Cheeses served with sweet condiments make delicious appetizers, desserts and snacks.

    Take a look at the newest cheese condiments in town: three fruit spreads from premium jam, jelly and preserves company, Bonne Maman. They are all natural, non-GMO and certified kosher by OU.


    First, a word about “spreads.”

    There are different types of fruit spreads, including chutney, jam, jelly, preserve and others.

    Aside from the jam and jelly group, some people hear “cheese spread” and think of like Port Wine Cheddar. Not here.

    As regards jam, in the U.S., “fruit spread” is generally a reduced-calorie product, replacing all or part of the sugar with fruit juice concentrate and low-calorie sweeteners. Not the case with Bonne Maman.

    The new spreads from Bonne Mamam are very thick and concentrated preserves that don’t run or dribble: They stand firm, enabling you to use them in more ways. The flavor, too, is more intense—glorious, in fact. It was all we could do not to eat them directly from the jar. (Well, maybe we did.)

    The best pairings are the ones you like. We’ve made some suggestions, but let your palate be your guide.


    Black Cherry Spread Cheese Pairings

    Tart cherries pair well with both sharp and creamy cheeses. We pair it with goat cheese, Brie and Camenbert.
    Purple Fig Spread Cheese Pairings

    This one is easy: Fig pairs well with all types of cheese.
    Quince Spread Cheese Pairings

    For centuries, membrillo, quince paste, has been the classic condiment for aged Spanish cheeses. Cabrales and Manchego are most often found in the U.S., but your cheesemonger may also have Idiazabal, Roncal, Zamorano and others. Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano, with nuances similar to Manchego, pairs well; so does aged provolone. The nutty Swiss mountain cheeses are also a match: Appenzeller, Emmental (with the big holes called eyes), Gruyère* and French Comté.

    Plan a cheese tasting with fruit spreads and other condiments. Your family and friends will love it!

    As of this writing, you can download a $2 coupon on the Bonne Maman website.

    Looking for small Mother’s Day gifts or party favors? is currently selling a six-pack with free shipping.

    The spreads are also available at retailers nationwide.


    Quince Spread

    Bonne Maman Purple Fig Cheese Spread

    Top: Quince Spread atop a pyramid-shaped cheese (photo courtesy Taylor Takes A Taste). Bottom: A jar of Purple Fig Spread (photo courtesy

    *Switzerland has produced Gruyère for hundreds of years, but after an appeal to the EU, France was also allowed to use the name. French Gruyère must be made with tiny eyes—“between the size of a pea and a cherry”—to distinguish it from the original.


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