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

Archive for NutriNibbles-Organic-Health

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Biotta Organic Juices & More Good-For-You Foods

Biotta Organic Juice

[1] Biotta, king of bottled organic juices, is available in 10 flavors (photo courtesy Biotta).

Pete & Gerry's Organic Hard Boiled Eggs
[2] An egg-cellent grab-and-go snack from Pete & Gerry’s.

Tsamma Watermelon Juices

[3] Tasty, hydrating watermelon juice Photo courtesy Tsamma Juice | AJC.

 

This edition of Top Pick Of The Week contains the tastiest good-for-you products. Our Top Pick, Biotta Organic Juices, is joined by two other favorites-of-the-week.

1. BIOTTA ORGANIC JUICES

Juicing is hot, but you don’t have to go to a juice bar for a satisfying, healthful glass of vegetable or fruit juice.

Biotta Juices, imported from Switzerland, raise the juice bar about as high as it can go. An early organic producer—since 1957—they make juices that are beyond delicious. They’re exciting, vibrant and organic to boot.

How do they get those delicious flavors?

  • Field-ripened produce is carefully harvested, and minimal processing ensures that the juices’ natural minerals and vitamins are left intact.
  • Biotta goes to great measures in the crushing of the fruit and vegetables to ensure that the most nutrients go into the juices.
  • And, of course, the juices are 100% pure juice, “from field to bottle.”
  •  
    Each of the juices offers different health and nutrition benefits. The line includes:

  • Apple Ginger Beet Juice
  • Beet Juice
  • Breuss, a blend of beet, carrot, celery root, potato and radish juices, recommended by The Breuss Cancer Cure
  • Carrot Juice
  • Celery Root Juice
  • Elderberry Juice
  • Mountain Cranberry Juice
  • Sauerkraut Juice
  • Tart Cherry Juice
  • Vegetable Juice
  •  
    These juices are more than just sippers. You can cook with them, make ice cream and sorbet, turn them into kickin’ cocktails, use them as gazpacho or fruit soup bases.

    Beetroot Martini? You can keep it organic with the fine organic gin and vodka from the Organic Spirits Company.

    Frozen yogurt pops? Yes, and you won’t believe how good beet and carrot yogurt pops are.

    The line is certified USDA organic, vegan and Non-GMO Project Verified. It is available at retailers nationwide and online. See more at BiottaJuices.com.
     
     
    2. PETE & GERRY’S ORGANIC HARD-BOILED EGGS

    Should your eggs come from small family farms, or from faceless factory farms, asks Pete & Gerry’s.

    These fourth-generation family farmers have been selling high-quality organic eggs for more than 60 years. As pioneers of humane and environmentally sustainable egg production, Pete & Gerry’s produced many of the first organic and free-range eggs available in supermarkets. They were the first Certified Humane egg farm in the country.

     
    The hens, and their eggs, are free of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, GMO feed or animal byproducts. So these eggs not only taste good: They make you feel good. No hens were mistreated, crammed into cages or onto barn floors so crowded that they can’t move.

    To make their quality eggs available more widely, Pete & Gerry’s joined with some 45 other independent, small family farms that produce eggs to their specifications. The network of farms span seven states, with more to come. The commitment is to stay small.

    Products include dozens and half dozens cartons of eggs, liquid egg whites, and the latest: Hard Boiled, Peeled and Ready to Eat packs.

    The latter are great grab-and-go snacks, halved or quartered into salads, sliced onto sandwiches or chopped into egg salad.

    Learn more at PeteAndGerrys.com.
     
     
    3. TSAMMA WATERMELON JUICE

    Some 12 years ago, we were madly in love with Sundia Watermelon Juice, liquid watermelon in a bottle. When the line was discontinued, we scoured markets for a replacement.

    That’s because it takes a pound of watermelon to make 12 ounces of watermelon juice. Our small kitchen has no space for a juicer.

    But other brands didn’t taste pure, like Sundia. They tasted like Jolly Rancher. Some brands include the bottom white portion and rind, which are nutritious but add unwanted flavor components. Heartbroken, we couldn’t even finish the bottles.

    A new entry has cheered us: Tsamma Watermelon Juice. The name pays homage to the Tsamma melon, a variety was first cultivated in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa, “the ancient ancestor of all watermelon varieties.” Tsamma juices are made of good old American watermelons, but the name stands out.

    The brand offers pure watermelon juice and a watermelon-coconut water blend.

    Watermelon juice is packed with nutrition:

  • Lycopene for the heart, skin and cancer prevention.
  • Other flavonoids and carotenoids that fight inflammation.
  • Citrulline for better blood flow.
  • Lots of vitamin C, plus beta-carotene (that is converted into vitamin A).
  •  
    As with Biotta juices, you can use Tsamma in cocktails and other recipes, and freeze it into ice pops. Discover more at TsammaJuice.com.

    The line is certified kosher by Star K.

     
      

    Comments

    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).
     
     
    SNACK FACTORY DESSERT THINS

    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 SnackFactory.com.
     
     
    BONNE MAMAN LEMON CURD

    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 YOGURT: NOOSA MATES

    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 NoosaYohgurt.com.

     

    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).

     

    PETE & JERRY’S ORGANIC HARD BOILED EGGS

    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 PeteAndJerrys.com.

     

      

    Comments off

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Better Bean’s Yummy, Ready To Eat Beans

    The Better Bean Company makes a terrific product that should take off nationwide. We hope it will be the next big thing in delicious, nutrient-dense food for all meals of the day.

    We hope you’ll try it. You can even get your first tub free (see below).

    A NEW WAY TO BUY BEANS

    The company is first to market a line of all-natural, refrigerated, ready-to-eat beans.

    The beans are $3.99 for a 14-ounce plastic tub that is BPA-free, freezable, microwavable and reusable. The beans are solidly packed into the tubs: There’s no packing liquid or no air pockets taking up space; nothing to drain, no can opener required.

    Just pop the top off the tub and dig in, or heat them as you prefer. Add them to recipes, use them as garnishes.

    Prepared from scratch with freshly-harvested beans, the line is cooked in a gluten-free facility, and is non-GMO certified, vegan certified, nut free and soy free.

    Bonus: The line has one-third the sodium of regular canned beans.

    WHY THEY’RE EASIER TO DIGEST

    Another bonus: Better Bean is easy on the digestive system. The company:

  • Uses freshly harvested beans, avoiding the challenges of digesting older beans (dried beans keep for years, and when you purchase them, you have no idea how old they are).
  • Soaks and re-rinses the beans, which eliminates gas-causing* compounds and activates enzymes that make it easier to digest all the nutrients. Dried beans must be soaked overnight before cooking, but you need to change the soaking water every few hours to removes the oligosaccharides* that cause flatulence.
  • Adds ingredients that help ease bean digestion. Onions, garlic and cumin help with this process, but the star ingredient is apple cider vinegar, which breaks down indigestible oligosaccharides.
  • ____________________
    *Oligosaccharides, a category of sugars in beans, cannot be digested by the stomach or small intestine. They get passed on to the large intestine where bacteria begin to break them down. During the process, the bacteria release several different types of gases, mainly hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
     
    MEET THE BETTER BEANS

    They are excellent on their own as a protein-packed side or snack; or can be added to dishes and recipes for every meal of the day.

    The Better Bean line currently has eight varieties: half with mild seasonings, half with medium spiciness.

    While the beans are cooked with garlic, onion and herbs, you can add fresh herbs, chopped scallions, more heat or other seasonings as you desire.

    Take your pick:

  • Better Baked Beans: mild; for sides—they’re in a tangy tomato sauce with a bit of maple syrup.
  • Cuban Black Beans: mild; for quesadillas, rice and beans, sides and soups.
  •    

    Better Bean Uncanny Refried Beans
    [1] You can do so much with eight different varieties.

    Better Bean Roasted Chipotle Red Beans
    [2] Half the varieties are mild, half are medium-spicy.

    Black Bean Breakfast Burrito

    [3] An easy way to add protein to avocado toast. (all photos courtesy Better Bean).

  • Roasted Chipotle Red Beans: medium; for burrito bowls, nachos and tacos.
  • Skillet Refried Red Beans: mild; for bowls, burritos, quesadillas and tacos.
  • Southwestern Pinto Beans: for burritos, soups, sides and stir-fries.
  • Tuscan White Beans: mild; for bowls, curries, pastas and spreads.
  • Uncanny Refried Black Beans: for bowls, dips, quesadillas and tacos.
  • Three Sisters Chili: mild; a complete heat and eat meal or snack.
  •  
    Any variety can be served hot or cold.

     

    Avocado Toast With Black Beans
    [4] Add protein to avocado toast (photo courtesy Better Bean).

    Mushroom & Bean Hors d'Oeuvre

    [5] Get creative: Instead of stuffing mushrooms with empty-carb breadcrumbs, stuff them with beans (photo courtesy Gather The Table).

     

    MORE WAYS TO ENJOY BETTER BEANS

    Beans are nutrient-dense and provide your body with essential nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and one of the most affordable sources of protein.

    In addition to the bowls, dips and Tex-Mex (enchiladas, nachos, quesadillas, rice and beans, tacos) recommended on the packages, try them:
     
    At Breakfast

  • Atop a savory waffle, with or without the bacon and eggs.
  • On any type of burger.
  • On toast, with or without avocado.
  • With breakfast eggs.
  •  
    At Lunch

  • As a soup garnish (a small mound in the middle of the bowl).
  • In an avocado half.
  • In any wrap sandwich.
  • In lettuce cups and layered salads.
  • On a grilled vegetable sandwich.
  •  
    At Dinner

  • As healthy vegan hors d’oeuvre (for example, top a rice cracker with beans, spices and a raw vegetable garnish).
  • As sides.
  • In casseroles.
  • In stir-fries.
  • With pizza: top the crust topped with beans, then mozzarella and toppings.
  •  
    For Snacks

  • As a protein pick-me-up at home or work.
  • As a spread with crackers.
  • Paired with guacamole and corn chips.
  • With crudités.
  •  
    GET YOUR FREE SAMPLE

    Try the the tub of your choice free. Just download the website coupon.

    Better Bean is carried by Whole Foods stores nationwide, Amazon Fresh and other retailers. Here’s the locator for retail store and e-tail websites.

    Head to BetterBeanCo.com for more on this very welcome line.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF BEANS

    Beans are one of the oldest-cultivated plants, an important source of protein. Cultivated bean fossils found in Thailand date to the early 7000 BCE.

    Cultivation came later in the west: Wild beans that had been initially gathered in Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills were cultivated by 2000 B.E.E. in the the Aegean, Iberia and transalpine Europe (modern Belgium, France, parts of Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland).

    The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas date to the same time [source]. In fact, most species in the bean genus Phaseolus originated in the Americas, and were grown from Chile to the northern United States.

    In the New World, indigenous peoples grew beans together with maize and squash. The beans would be planted around the base of the developing corn stalks, and would wind their way up, with the stalks serving as a trellis. The beans, in turn, provide essential nitrogen for the corn.

    Bean trivia: Beans are a heliotropic plant, meaning that the leaves tilt throughout the day to face the sun. At night, they fold into a “sleep” position.
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEANS

    Check out the different types of beans in our Beans & Grains Glossary.
     

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: If You Buy, Buy Healthy (i.e., Buy This, Not That)

    Healthy Appetizer Platter

    Tempting, delicious, good for you (photo courtesy Botanica | LA).

     

    Over the recent Memorial Day weekend, we popped into a friend’s party.

    There was plenty to drink, and in an hour, salmon and steaks would start to sizzle.

    But the nibbles available prior to then were strictly “fraternity party”: cheese corn, potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream onion dip.

    As we surveyed the table, trying to choose, the host read our mind and apologized: “Sorry, I had to race in and out of the supermarket.”

    That’s perfectly understandable, and thanks for inviting us.

    But next time, grab this, not that. Your guests will like the foods just as much, and will feel better for it—literally and figuratively.

    BETTER “CHIPS & DIPS”

  • Crudités
  • Rice crackers (they’re gluten-free)
  • Vegetable Chips
  • Whole wheat pretzels (we prefer them!)
  • Served With

  • Bean dip
  • Hummus
  • Pesto
  • Salsa
  •  
    COOKED OR BRINED VEGETABLES

  • Artisan pickles: dill spears, dilly beans
  • Beets, plain or pickled
  • Olives
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Whatever vegetable(s) looks good
  •  
    Grab some fresh herbs on the way to the cash register, and scatter them on plates, trays, etc.

    And please do invite us. If we have to use any examples in THE NIBBLE, no identifying characteristics will be revealed.
     
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Stocks & Soups From Trimmings

    Root Vegetables

    Chicken Stock

    Soup From Trimmings

    [1] Lots of trimming to come (photo courtesy True Food Kitchen). [2] Stock, ready to use or freeze—or season it and enjoy a cup of broth (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [3] Plan B: Instead of stock, turn those trimmings into a purée of vegetable soup (photo courtesy Botanica | LA).

     

    When we were quite young, a friend of the family was watching our mom cut vegetables for soup, and toss the trimmings. He had grown up on a farm in Sicily, and said: “We never threw away anything edible, not the smallest part. If we could have saved it, we’d have cooked the ‘oink’ from the pig.”

    That’s how it’s been through history, except in affluent homes in affluent countries, whose denizens weren’t scraping for every bit to eat.

    Modern cooks who want to minimize waste know that they can add flavor to homemade stocks by saving the carrot peels, celery leaves and trimmed ends, the last scrap of onion before the root, parsley and other herb stalks, wilted herbs, sprouted garlic and onions, the tops of scallions, and many vegetable trimmings.

    Consider anything that isn’t rotten or moldy, or on the “Avoid” list below.

    Limp vegetables? Stock. Herbs that have begun to yellow? Stock.

    Wash and trim the vegetables as usual. Then set the trimmings aside and let them dry a little bit to remove moisture before you bag them.

    Toss the ends, leaves, peel, roots and stalks into the same freezer bag—and feel good about not wasting money or contributing to a landfill. (If you’re planning to use them in a week, store in the produce drawer with the air pressed out of the bag.)

    When you’re ready to make stock, plan for 2 cups of trimmings per quart of stock from vegetables.

    And note that the venerable chef Jacques Pépin, an instructor at French Culinary Institute in New York City, always checks his students’ waste bins to see what they’ve thrown away. For him, scraps are more about flavor and less about thriftiness (although his wife has blocked the process at home; it drove her bonkers).

    SAVE THESE TRIMMINGS

  • Ends: asparagus, celery, chard, green beans, spinach.
  • Green tops: beet greens but not the rest of the beet (it will color the stock red), carrot and just about any root vegetable.
  • Herb stems: cilantro, parsley (basil and mint stems are best reserved for pesto or chopped into salads).
  • Onion family: garlic, leeks, scallions and any type of onion.
  • Peeled skin: cucumber, eggplant, potato, summer squash and zucchini, winter squash (unless you like to bake them—our Nana sprinkled them with cinnamon as a snack for us kids).
  • Root vegetable trimmings: except for the bodies of beets (color leaches in) and turnips (not everyone likes the way it tastes in stock).
  • Stalks: celery, chard, fennel (we’ve never tried rhubarb).
  • Other trimmings: bell peppers, bok choy, corn cobs, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, napa cabbage snow peas, sugar snap peas (we’ve never tried the pods of green peas).
  •  
    AVOID: COMPOST OR TOSS THESE TRIMMINGS

    What not to use: vegetables with very strong flavors:

  • The cruciferous group: arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips. Ditto, artichoke trimmings (but the cooked stem is delicious to eat).
  • Anything that will color your stock, unless you don’t care*, such as beet, tomato or the papery skins of onions (they’ll turn stock brown) and garlic. But here’s what you can do with those skins.
  • ________________

    *That being said, we once cooked a ton of beets and had lots of leftover red “beet water.” We reduced it and used it to cook white rice. It was fun.

     

    PLAN A: READY TO MAKE VEGETABLE STOCK?

    The difference between stock (photo #2) and broth is that broth is seasoned and ready to consume. Stock is left unseasoned, to provide flexibility for different recipes.

    You can use vegetable stock in braises, poaching, sauces, soups, stir fries and stews etc. We use it to cook rice and grains, including risotto: half-and-half water and stock (or all stock, if we have too much).

    Season it for udon or other Asian-style noodle soup.

    Substitute for cream in mashed potatoes, add to the vegetable steamer to infuse flavor, and many hundreds of other ideas.

    Ingredients For 2 Quarts Of Stock

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups of vegetable trimmings
  • 1 head of garlic, skin removed, halved crosswise
  • 6 sprigs parsley (if you don’t have stems in your trimmings bag)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3-5 minutes or so.

    2. ADD 4 quarts cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the stock is reduced by half. This should take about 1-1 1/2 hours.

    3. STRAIN the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and discard the solids. Let cool.

    4. USE immediately, or transfer to pint or quart containers (or freezer bags, if you prefer), portioning it based on how you think you’ll use it. Ideally use frozen stock within three months.

     

    Soup Used As A Sauce

    Root To Stalk Cooking

    [4] Trimmings cooked, pureed and turned into a sauce (photo courtesy Vital Choice). [5] This cookbook has delicious recipes for every part of vegetables (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press_.

     
    PLAN B: READY TO MAKE SOUP OR SAUCE?

    Make soup. Cook the trimmings (in stock or broth) and turn them into a puréed vegetable soup, like the one in photo #3.

    You can also turn the pureed vegetables into a sauce (photo #4).

    Good news: Plan B lets you use all the cruciferous vegetables. All those broccoli stalks and cauliflower stems: delicious! We cook them even when we aren’t making soup.

    Cook, taste and season. Dilute as desired with stock or milk and voilà: Your trimmings are now a tasty soup.

    And you’ll feel good about that!

     
    MORE FEELING GOOD

    There’s an entire cookbook devoted to using every part of the vegetable (photo #5): From Root To Stalk.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.