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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Jam/Peanut Butter

BOOK: Marmalade, by Elizabeth Field

Marmalade could become your new signature dish. Photo courtesy Running Press.


When Elizabeth Field was growing up, she didn’t like the bitter orange marmalade that her parents loved to slather on toast. But as an adult, she was introduced to homemade marmalade and became a convert.

Her new book, Marmalade, Sweet & Savory Spreads For A Sophisticated Taste, may inspire you to begin your own marmalade journey.

Charmingly designed and photographed, it inspires a get-together: Make a day of marmalade-making with a friend. It’s quality time together that yields jars and jars of provisions and gifts. Friends and colleagues will clamor for it.

If they tax your generosity, you can simply buy them a copy of the book:


Give a man a jar and he has marmalade for a week. Teach a man to make marmalade and you give him marmalade for a lifetime. And hopefully, there will be gift jars in it for you.

Get your copy here.

Don’t worry that fresh fruit season is waning. There are 11 citrus marmalade recipes as well as fall-winter flavors such as Double Ginger Pear and Quince Raspberry Marmalades.

And you must make lots and lots of the savory Red Onion Marmalade. It goes with sandwiches, burgers and just about every type of grilled or roasted fish, meat and poultry. There isn’t enough onion marmalade in America. It will be an unforgettable holiday gift.

The author also provides recipes for buttermilk biscuits, brown soda bread and popovers to enjoy with your marmalade; and shows you had to use the spread in main dishes such as Marmalade Roast Duck and Glazed Country Ham.


Marmalade originated some 2,000 years ago as a solid cooked quince and honey paste, the precursor of Spain’s famed membrillo, served with Manchego cheese as a popular dessert. It was on the tables of ancient Greeks and Romans.

Some time around the 10th century, the Portuguese replaced the honey with sugar. They called it marmelada after the word for quince, marmelo.

Marmelada was a luxury product and a popular gift among noble families. Sugar, produced in the subtropics, was a very expensive import until the 1800s. For example, it wasn’t until 1874 that the British government abolished the sugar tax and made “white gold” affordable to the average citizen.


They’re related, but different, styles of spreads. Check out our Jam Glossary which explains the differences among these terms and others (chutney, confiture, conserve, curd, fruit butter, gelée, fruit curd and fruit spread).

Find our favorite brands of store-bought spreads.



TIP OF THE DAY: Mix Your Own Fruit Yogurt

We were excited to receive a shipment of all the flavors of Smucker’s premium line of preserves, Orchard’s Finest.

We reached for the blueberry preserves—we rarely see a jar of blueberry preserves or jam—and ate it from the spoon.

It was a bit too sweet to mainline, but we grabbed a carton of plain Greek yogurt and made the most delicious blueberry yogurt. And another. And another.

Which gets us to today’s tip: Mix your own fruit yogurt with preserves and plain yogurt. It’s “fruit on the bottom” style, only your fruit will be on the top.

Why do it?

  • You control the sweetness. You can add as much or little preserves as you like.
  • You control the portion size. You aren’t limited to those skimpy 5.3- to 6-ounce cups. Remember when all yogurts were eight ounces?
  • You get better flavor. The preserves you use are most likely going to be better quality and more flavorful. We can assure you that our Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest fruit yogurts were head and shoulders more delicious than anything we could purchase.

    Just stir in to plain yogurt for homemade flavored yogurt. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • You create the flavor of your dreams. Can’t find blackberry yogurt? Fig yogurt? Kiwi yogurt? Want a mango-boysenberry mix? Grab the preserves and mix away.
    You don’t really save money, by the way; but you get exactly the flavors you want and the exact portion you want.

    We’ve so enjoyed mixing all eight flavors† of Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest preserves into our yogurt, that we’re trying to save enough for more tips to come. Stay tuned!


    The “fruit on the bottom” yogurt has an official name: sundae-style yogurt. Instead of a conventional ice cream sundae with topping, there’s yogurt and topping (or a “bottom topping”).

    Discover the different types of yogurt in our Yogurt Glossary.

    *THE MATH: sells the 32-ounce-size Stonyfield Organic Plain Yogurt for $4.29; the six-ounce cups of flavored yogurt cost $1.19. The 32-ounce container yields 5.3 six-ounce cups. If you purchase five six-ounce cups, it’s $5.95, plus the preserves.
    †FLAVORS: Coastal Valley Peach Apricot, Fall Harvest Cinnamon Apple, Lakeside Raspberry Cranberry, Michigan Red Tart Cherry, Northwest Triple Berry, Northwoods Blueberry, Pacific Grove Orange Marmalade Medley and Pacific Mountain Strawberry.


  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Store Peanut Butter

    We received an email from a reader, asking: “How should I store my PB and how long will it last?”

    Large brands typically come with expiration dates (and possibly, preservatives). If you purchase an artisan brand, it has no preservatives; but it may not have an expiration date, either. So here are the guidelines:

  • Shelf. If you store the jar in a cool dry place, a jar of peanut butter will last for about 12 months. Although the ingredients can remain shelf stable beyond then, nuts can start to go rancid after a year or so, and your PB may develop an odor. Use your nose as your guide, and feel free to taste the PB to see if the flavor is still passable. It won’t harm you to eat it.
  • Fridge. If you store the jar in the fridge, the cold will buy you more time.
  • Microwave. If you refrigerate the PB, it will be harder to spread when cold. So tip #2 is: Take the lid off and microwave the jar for 20 seconds before spreading.

    Koeze is of our favorite artisan PBs. The company also makes spectacular chocolate peanut butter clusters. Photo courtesy Koeze.


    Find more of our favorite peanut butter brands, recipes and more in our Peanut Butter & Jelly Section.



    PRODUCT: PB CRAVE Flavored Peanut Butter

    Fun flavors, fun gifts. Photo courtesy PB


    All natural, flavored artisan peanut butter is hot. Recently, a California brand called Pacific Beach Gourmet Peanut Butter Spread made our Top Pick Of The Week list.

    Shortly afterward, we received a shipment of PB Crave, another new company (in Minnesota) that has launched with four flavors:

  • Choco Choco: Peanut butter with Belgian chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and wild honey.
  • CoCo Banana: Peanut butter with natural banana flavor, chocolate chips, and wild honey.
  • Cookie Nookie: Peanut butter with natural cookie dough flavor, milk chocolate chips, and wild honey.
  • Razzle Dazzle: Peanut butter twisted with natural raspberry flavor, white & dark chocolate chips, and wild honey.
    You can buy the PBs from and on Amazon.


    Our personal favorite is Razzle Dazzle, a combination of peanut butter and raspberry flavoring that gives the impression of raspberry jam. We love the idea of Coco Bananas, banana peanut butter; but slicing a fresh banana onto your PB sandwich is more lush than banana-flavored PB. Cookie Nookie is sure to be a favorite with cookie dough enthusiasts.

    The flavors, each of which includes chocolate chips (dark, milk and white, depending on the flavor) inspired us to sprinkle some chocolate chips onto our sandwiches made with regular PB. One tablespoon of semisweet chocolate chips has about 70 calories, and you can make do with half a tablespoon. If you heat the sandwich in the microwave, you get a chocolate-PB melt.

    The PB Crave flavors are fun; we like them as healthier gifts for kids. These honey-sweetened flavors can be enjoyed by the spoon from the jar—with a side of milk, of course.

    What Do The Terms Mean?

    All natural means no hydrogenated oil, no artificial flavors, no high-fructose corn syrup, no chemical preservatives. Peanut butter is naturally gluten- and cholesterol-free.

    Artisan products are made in small batches, using time-honored techniques and quality ingredients. In the case of PB Crave, which does not employ emulsifiers, the oil does separate and needs to be stirred back in. But it’s not an onerous task.

    Giving Back

    PB Crave is a good corporate citizen. A minimum of 2% of profits goes directly to Project Peanut Butter, a non-profit organization that helps save the lives of malnourished children through ready-to-use therapeutic foods (including high-calorie, fortified peanut butter-like pastes.



    PRODUCT: Biscoff Spread, Now In Crunchy

    Biscoff spread sweetens a bagel. Photo
    courtesy Lotus Bakeries.


    One of our favorite products of 2011 was Biscoff Spread, a creamy, all-natural bread spread that looks like peanut butter but is actually made of ground Biscoff cookies and is nut-free. (Read our review.)

    Now, a crunchy version is rolling out across the U.S., at Central Market, Cost Plus World Market, The Fresh Market, Market Basket, Schnucks, Shop Rite, Walmart, Wegmans and Winn-Dixie. We even saw a private label brand at Trader Joe’s, called “Cookie Spread.”

    Crunchy Biscoff Spread takes the original creamy caramel spread delight and adds chunks of caramelized Biscoff cookies. The combination of creamy and crunchy is even better than the original. Imagine the possibilities:

  • Crunchy Biscoff Spread on toast or on pancakes and waffles
  • Luscious frosting layers or fillings in cakes and cupcakes

  • A filling for cookie sandwiches—and of course, regular sandwiches and tea sandwiches, with or without some apple slices
  • Just licked off the spoon
    Biscoff Spread Creamy is available at Central Market, Cost Plus World Market, The Fresh Market, Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Hannaford, Kroger, Market Basket, Safeway, Schnucks, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Wegmans, and Winn-Dixie and others, as well as through Biscoff’s website.

    A complete list of retail locations is available at

    Or, you can buy it online now.

    Find more of our favorite bread spreads: product reviews, recipes and more.


    Find it on your grocer’s shelf or online.


    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Pacific Beach Sweet Peanut Butter Spreads

    Pacific Beach Peanut Butter Spreads, made in sunny San Diego, tempt the palate with “mix-ins” in three popular flavor profiles:

  • Butterscotch: Butterscotch, Caramel and Toffee spreads
  • Cinnamon: CinnaYum spread
  • Chocolate: Child’s Play (M&Ms), Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry, Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate spreads
    The sweet ingredients are ground along with the peanuts, creating a whipped texture that melts in the mouth.

    As a sandwich spread, cookie topping or straight from the jar, the spreads are delights.

    Read the full review.

    Don’t Like/Can’t Have Peanuts? Check out these alternative nut butters (almond, cashew, macadamia, pecan, walnut and more) from Artisana, another Top Pick Of The Week.

    Take Our Peanut Butter Trivia Quiz.


    Toffee-accented peanut butter is just one of the sweetly enhanced flavors of Pacific Beach Peanut Butter. Photo by Leah Hansen | THE NIBBLE.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Own Peanut Butter

    Last month we wrote about Planter’s Peanut Butter, “the creamiest peanut butter ever.”

    But what if you don’t like a creamy, homogenized PB paste, writes a reader? Or the amounts of salt and sugar in your PB?

    Your dilemma can be solved in minutes, with a bag of peanuts and a food processor.

    You can adjust the salt and sugar (or use a low-glycemic sugar substitute) and you’ll end up with a far more aromatic and peanutty-tasting spread. You’ll save a few cents in the process.


    Makes 2 cups. You can split the batch and make some plain, some with honey or low-glycemic agave nectar, for example.


  • 1 pound shelled unsalted roasted peanuts, skinned
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil*
  • Salt

    Turn these peanuts into peanut butter
    in minutes. Photo by Watcha | IST.


  • Optional: sweetener (sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave nectar or non-caloric sweetener)
  • Optional: finely diced peanuts for a “chunky” version
    *Peanut oil and canola oil are monounsaturated fats: good for you. Vegetable oil is a polyunsaturated fat: less good for you. More on healthy oils.

    1. Combine peanuts and oil in a food processor and grind to a creamy paste. Add more oil if needed for thinning. PB will firm up in the fridge. If it’s too thick for you, just put it back in the food processor with a bit more oil.
    2. Sweeten and salt to taste.
    3. Stir in optional chopped peanuts.
    4. Store in the fridge in an airtight jar. Without preservatives, it will keep for 4-6 months.

    PB FUN

  • Check out the history of peanut butter—it was invented for people who couldn’t chew!
  • Take our peanut butter trivia quiz.
  • See our favorite peanut butters and PB recipes.


    PRODUCT: Planters Peanut Butter

    The creamiest peanut butter ever. Photo
    by Jaclyn Nussbaum | THE NIBBLE.


    While some school districts have banned peanut butter to protect highly allergic students, PB consumption is actually on the rise, growing at a rate of five to six percent per year. Adults are responsible for two-thirds of peanut butter consumption in the United States!

    In addition to the protein in peanut butter, here’s a new reason to eat more of it: Planters Creamy Peanut Butter and Planters Crunchy Peanut Butter.

    The famous nut company launched a peanut butter in the 1970s, but then discontinued it. We’re so glad that Mr. Peanut adjusted his monocle and refocused on these new peanut butter formulations.

    We’ve enjoyed many brands of peanut butter, but the new Planters PB has one special quality: It is so silky-smooth that you can spread the thinnest slick of PB on bread to add just a touch (try it with a turkey sandwich) or to save calories.

  • Try this recipe for salted peanut butter brownies, developed for Planters by Chef Marcus Samuelsson.
  • Check out the history of brownies.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Almond Butter

    We love peanut butter. But more and more children are being diagnosed with severe peanut allergies. The condition affects some three million Americans. In extreme cases, anaphylactic shock can be fatal within minutes.

    As a result, more and more schools are banning peanut products, eliminating that lunch staple, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    But there’s another kid-pleasing option that is a find for anyone: almond butter. It’s just as delicious; some people may find it even more so.

    Almond butter can be substituted for peanut butter in any recipe. It’s available in smooth and crunchy varieties. And it’s also sold in individual-serving snack packs that are easily portable.

    Nutritionally, almond butter and peanut butter are similar, with 190 calories per two tablespoons.

  • PB has slightly more protein than AB (8 grams vs. 6 grams), and less fiber (2 grams vs. 3 grams).
  • PB has a bit more saturated and polyunsaturated fat. AB has a healthier fat profile, with almost 50% more monounsaturated fat.
  • PB provides about 20% of one’s DV (daily value) of niacin; AB provides 40% DV of vitamin E and 20% DV of manganese. It is also a good source of magnesium, copper and other nutrients.

    All natural Barney Butter almond butter is
    made in an almond-only facility. Photo
    courtesy Barney Butter.


    Give almond butter a try, even if you’re happy with your PB. You just may discover something new to go nuts about.

    Beyond basic almond butter, try the raw, organic and kosher nut butters from Artisana, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Get to know their superb almond, cashew, coconut, macadamia, pecan, and walnut butters, and much more.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Biscoff Spread

    First there was peanut butter, a creamy spread made from ground peanuts.

    Then there was Nutella, a brand-name spread of chocolate and ground hazelnuts.

    Completing the trio is biscoff spread, relatively new to the U.S. It was invented in 2007 on a Belgian reality tv show. When it was introduced commercially, it sold out in three hours.

    Biscoff spread is made of ground spice cookies called spéculoos in Europe and biscoff in the U.S. If you like ginger and cinnamon, you may find it even more delicious than peanut butter and Nutella.

    Check out our Top Pick Of The Week, biscoff spread from Lotus Bakeries.

    As with PB and Nutella, you can use it on everything from bagels and toast to dips and frosting. The review has plenty of ideas and recipes.


    Biscoff and cream cheese frosting on carrot
    cupcakes. Delicious! Photo by Rixipix | IST.


    Find more of our favorite spreads.



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