THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Jam/Peanut Butter

TIP OF THE DAY: Mold In Jelly & Jam

Invader alert: white mold growing in jelly.
Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

A couple of months ago, we noticed two cottony puffs of white mold growing in a jar of Smucker’s Concord Grape Fruit Spread. We wrote to Smucker’s asking if it was safe to eat, and what caused the mold. We got a response back, but it wasn’t to the questions we asked:

Thank you for contacting The J.M. Smucker Company with your inquiry regarding Smucker’s® Concord Grape Jam. We greatly appreciate and value the input we receive from our consumers and take very seriously any comments pertaining to product quality.

Your experience has been brought to the attention of our quality assurance department. We want to assure you that our products are made with the best quality ingredients available and by the most carefully controlled procedures known in the food industry.

We appreciate the time required to share your comments with us. As a thank you, we are in the process of sending you coupons which you should receive in the mail within two to three business weeks. We hope you will use the coupons to again try our products.

If you should have further questions or need additional information, please visit us at www.smuckers.com or contact us at 888-550-9555, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. eastern time.

Sincerely,

Susan
Consumer Relations Representative
Ref # 10145794

 
We responded to Susan’s email with a second request to answer the questions and never heard back (nor, for the record, did we received any coupons).

This week, mold appeared in a second jar of Smucker’s, the Red Raspberry Spread. So rather than try to re-contact the unhelpful customer service department at Smucker’s, we went online to search for the answers. Here’s an answer from the National Center For Home Food Preservation:

Q. What do I do if there’s mold on my jellied fruit product?

A. Discard jams and jellies with mold on them. The mold could be producing a mycotoxin (a poisonous substance that can make you ill). The USDA and microbiologists recommend against scooping out the mold and using the remaining jam or jelly.

Gee, you’d think Smucker’s might have warned customers against eating jelly with white mold—especially because it may well not have been their “fault” (see the next section). Perhaps they can take the information we found and paste it into a helpful customer service response.

Aside from the mold—and the lack of help from Smucker’s—the spreads were delish.

 

HOW TO PREVENT MOLD FROM GROWING ON JELLY
AND JAM

Typically, jelly and jam don’t develop mold on their own, because of the high acid of the fruit and the preservative action of the sugar. But mold spores can sometimes enter a jelly jar via contamination from a utensil that was previously used on another foodstuff—the bread for example. A microscopic piece of bread with a mold spore can adhere to the spoon or knife when you spread the jelly on the bread.

We refrigerate open jars, and we’re especially cautious of cross-contamination, using a separate spoon for the jelly. But it is possible that when we spread the first spoonful of jelly on the bread, it picked up a microscopic mold spore that got introduced to the jar when we went for a second spoonful.

 

A jar can get mold contamination from a spore of bread. Photo courtesy Peanut Butter & Co.

 

So today’s tip is: Don’t double dip that spoon or knife. And toss out a jar with mold.

WHEN YOU CAN KEEP FOODS WITH MOLD

There are thousands, if not millions, of different types of mold, from beneficial ones like penicillium (which is used to make the mold in blue cheeses) to toxic ones. Experts warn that scooping out the visible mold is not a solution, since the mold shoots microscopic tendrils deep into the foodstuff.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can save hard cheeses, firm fruits and vegetables by cutting out at least an inch around and underneath the mold spot. But the organization advises you to toss baked goods, bread, casseroles, grain, jams and jellies, legumes, meat, nuts, pasta, peanut butter, soft cheeses, soft fruits and vegetables, sour cream, yogurt and other foods.

The list of what you can keep is easy to remember because it’s so brief: hard cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Bid adios to everything else.

  

Comments off

TIP OF THE DAY: Honey & Nuts Spread & Topping

Homemade honey with nuts. Photo courtesy
AppleTurnover.tv.

 

Honey Nuts Cheerios, Chex, Shredded Wheat and Special K; honey nut peanut butter and honey-roasted nuts: Honey and nuts are a natural pairing.

If you’ve got nuts and honey, you can take the duo one step further:

Combine them into a delicious bread spread and dessert topping, as people in Greece, Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean have been doing for thousands of years.

You can find jars of honey with nuts at stores that specialize in Greek and Italian foods, or in cheese shops. They are lovely gifts and stocking stuffers.

RECIPE: NUTS & HONEY

Ingredients

  • Any honey*
  • Any nuts*
  • Glass jar†
  •  
    *Quantities depend on how much you are making and the capacity of the jar(s). While the photo above is more than half nuts, think of using 2/3 honey to 1/3 nuts—or even 1/4 nuts, if you want just a little. While whole nuts look prettier, they are not as spreadable. So if your goal is to make a bread spread rather than a dessert topping, consider chopping large nuts.

    †If you’re making this for home use, you can recycle an empty jar. If it’s for a gift, look for a prettier jar.

     

    Preparation

    1. TOAST nuts in a hot, dry pan, keeping them moving until the aroma wafts up (how to toast nuts). Cool.

    2. LAYER the nuts and honey in a clean jar. The nuts may migrate to the top of the jar, but you can easily stir them prior to use.
     

    VARIATIONS

    If you like the combination, try different variations: sage honey with walnuts, orange blossom honey with almonds, and so on.

     

    Or buy a jar! Photo courtesy Moon Shine Trading Company.

     

    HOW TO ENJOY HONEY AND NUTS

  • As a bread spread
  • As a cheeses condiment
  • As a dip for pretzels, baby carrots, etc.
  • As a fruit topper
  • On ice cream and loaf cakes
  • On pancakes, waffles and French toast
  • Straight from the jar, on a spoon
  •  
    How would you use honey and nuts?
      

    Comments off

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Jif Whips Peanut Butter & Chocolate Spread

    Style your own cookies with Jif Whips. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We focus on specialty foods, so rarely name a mass-marketed supermarket product as a Top Pick.

    But Jif’s new Whipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate spread is just so yummy, special and, well, welcome, that it takes this week’s top honors.

    Everyone who loves peanut butter cups should run out and buy a tub, possibly several.

    The whipped PB spread, which also includes an unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter variety, is spreadable, dippable, mixable, pipeable, frostable and topable.

    If you don’t want to do any of those things, just dip a spoon into the tub and enjoy!

    Read the full review.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE PEANUT BUTTER BRANDS.

     

      

    Comments off

    PRODUCT: Christine Ferber Jam

    Connoisseurs worldwide prize the exquisite jams of Christine Ferber, who is called the “queen of confitures”* by strangers and “the jam fairy” by her friends. The jams are served in such posh places as the Connaught in London, the Crillon and George V in Paris and the Four Seasons in Hong Kong.

    Mlle Ferber makes jam in the Alsace region of France, in her ancestral village of Niedermorschwihr. There, her family has a food shop, Au Relais des Trois Epis,† which sells bread, house-made cakes and confections, household products, newspapers and fresh vegetables. Her father opened the business in 1959.

    But behind the shop is a commercial kitchen where the jam magic happens: After attending culinary school in Paris, Mlle Ferber decided to focus on jam. Her father was doubted the demand, but today she sells some $2.6 million of jam annually. The company make almost 120,000 pots of jam a year, and each is filled by hand.

     

    Seasonal special: rhubarb jam. Photo courtesy Oriol Balaguer.

     

    Mlle Ferber uses seasonal fruit from small local growers, cooking it in small batches to create her gourmet artisan jams and jellies. She prides herself in hand-picking the freshest ingredients and truly, truly, cooking the jam with love.

    The jams are not easy to come by. You can order them online from OriolBalaguer.com.

    A perfect Father’s Day gift for a jam-loving dad who appreciates the best, a new shipment of Christine Ferber Jams is arriving on these shores just in time to celebrate. Even at $20 a jar it will sell out quickly, so don’t dally. The jam is available for pre-order now, with delivery after June 10th.

    CHRISTINE FERBER JAM FLAVORS

    One thing Dad may never have had: rhubarb jam. Mlle Ferber has created two varieties of rhubarb jam, hand-selected from spring rhubarb in Alsace, France and sweetened with sugar, simple and fresh:

  • Rhubarbe d’Alsace
  • Rhubarbe d’Alsace et Vanille
  •  
    Other flavores include Griottes Alsace (morello cherries, one of Mlle Ferber’s personal favorites), Confiture Pour Madame (cherries and rose petals, Eglantines d’Alsace et Oranges Maltaises (maltese oranges and wild rose petals), Forêt-Noire (black cherries, kirsch), Fraises d’Alsace (Alsatian strawberry), Gelée de Pamplemousses Jaunes (grapefruit), Mangues (mango), Marmelade d’Oranges Ameres (bitter orange), Oranges Maltaises (Maltese orange), Oranges Sanguine (blood orange) and Quetsches d’Alsace (Damson plum).

    For a memorable jam experience, get some jars for yourself, too!

    DO YOU KNOW YOUR JAM?

    What’s the difference between jam, jelly, marmalade, preserves and other sweet spreads? Check out all the different types of jam in our Jam & Jelly Glossary.
     
    *Confiture (cawn-fee-TEER) is the French word for jam.

    †As close as we can translate this, it’s The Inn of Three Ears of Corn.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Jelly

    Use jelly as a cake filling, or melt and drizzle
    it over an unfrosted cake. Photo courtesy
    HarlequinCandy.Blogspot.com.

     

    Beyond breakfast, look to jelly, jam and other fruit spreads for recipes and entertaining. They can be paired with just about anything to add a bright, sweet kick.

    Chef Mark Dowling of LearntoCook.com has tutorials, recipes and tips to teach the basics to home cooks and families, including how to tailor each flavor of fruit spread to specific recipes and occasions. Here are some of his suggestions:

    Jelly

    Jelly combines fruit juice, sugar, pectin (a thickening agent) and acid into a clear spread that will hold its shape, even out of the jar. Jelly has a translucent color.

     
    Pair jelly with cake. Adding jelly to a slightly sweet, pound cake or angel food cake contributes color and flavor. Heat the jelly to melt it, before drizzling it on top of your favorite dessert.

    Jam

    Jam is a thicker mixture than jelly and is made with chopped or crushed fruit, as well as pectin and sugar. Despite the soft chunks of fruit, jam will spread easily.

    Pair jam with bread, toast and scones. Either bake jam into your favorite scone or muffin recipe by adding a 1/2 cup of jam, or serve it on top with clotted cream.

     

    Marmalade

    Marmalade is most often a citrus spread that uses the peel and pulp of the fruit; sugar is added but marmalade does not contain pectin. It is cooked for a long time, and when finished, displays the different parts and textures in a clear suspension.

    Pair marmalade with salads and proteins. Vinaigrettes sweetened with a bit of marmalade are delicious atop side salads of bitter greens, such as arugula and kale. Marmalade is also excellent in a marinade or to glaze chicken.

    Fruit Butter

    Fruit butter is made by slow-cooking a mix of fruit and sugar until it is opaque, smooth and spreadable, with rich fruit flavor.

    Pair fruit butter with your favorite cheese. Enjoy fruit butter on top of tangy brie cheese, wrapped and baked in puff pastry or on crostini with creamy goat cheese.

     

    Smucker’s Naturals, tasty new fruit spreads. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    What a perfect segue into …

    SMUCKER’S NATURAL FRUIT SPREADS

    The famed maker of preserves has launched a new line of fruit spreads, called Smucker’s Natural. We enjoyed all four flavors: Concord Grape, Orange Marmalade, Red Raspberry and Strawberry.

    And as now have four open jars in the fridge, we’re going to implement Chef Dowling’s suggestions, above.

     

    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF JELLY & JAM IN OUR GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.