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Archive for Organic

PRODUCT: Plum Vida Fruit & Veggie Pouches

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A delicious and better-for-you snack alternative for adults. Photo courtesy Plum Organics.

 

Squeeze tubes of fruits and veggies are not just for kids. While they started out targeted to the junior set, moms and other adults started to enjoy the benefits of the easily portable, wholesome fruit and vegetable snacks.

So Plum Organics, which had been making products for kids, developed the Plum Vida line for grown-ups. The flavors are more complex and sophisticated, and the portions are larger. The five-ounce pouches can be kept in pockets, purses, lockers, glove compartments, desk drawers—pretty much anywhere.

Each pouch delivers a light, flavorful, refreshing and healthful snack, made entirely from organic fruits and vegetables with a hint of herbs and spices.

You can sip it from the pouch or mix it with hot tea or club soda. You can even use it as a sweet salad dressing (we added a splash of good vinegar). We eat it at room temperature, but on a hot summer day, you can chill it in the fridge.

 
Plum Vida pouches are available in three delicious flavors:

  • Pear, Kale, Spinach & Celery, a base of leafy greens softened by the natural sweetness of juicy pear.
  • Cherry, Berry, Beet & Ginger, a mix of natural sweetness and tartness with a subtle ginger zing.
  • Pineapple, Carrot & Mint, a burst of tropical flavor with a refreshing minty kick.
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    Each pouch delivers:

  • 1/2 cup fruits and veggies in every pouch
  • 3g fiber
  • A snack for 70-90 calories
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    The line is certified kosher by OU, certified USDA Organic and Non GMO verified. It is currently sold exclusively at target stores (in the beverage aisle), for $1.99 a pouch.

    And there’s a $1.00 coupon on the Plum Vida website to make your first pouch even sweeter.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bone Broth

    Suddenly, everyone is talking about bone broth. Rich in nutrition, nourishing for body and soul, bone broth has long been used by cultures throughout the world for millennia, to sip straight or as cooking stock.

    Yes, bone broth is an alternative to stock, a flavorful liquid made by slowly simmering chicken or turkey bones, cartilage and tendons (with some bits of meat). The difference is that while stock can be made in three or four hours, bone broth is simmered for 24 hours or more, extracting the maximum amount of nutrition from the bones.

    Bone broth can be made from any type of animal bones, including fish. But Pacific Foods uses only the bones from organically raised, pastured or grass-fed animals. It is seasoned with onions, rosemary and apple cider vinegar.

    The Bone Broth is available in six delicious flavors:

  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken with Ginger
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken with Lemongrass
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken Original
  • Organic Bone Broth Turkey
  • Organic Bone Broth Turkey with Rosemary, Sage & Thyme
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    Pacific Organics Bone Broth

    A quick hot drink as well as a cooking ingredient, Pacific’s Bone Broth comes in six varieties. Photo courtesy Pacific Foods.

     
    On a cold winter day like today, it more than hits the spot. And it’s a great base for leftovers: We variously added leftover barley, chicken, pasta, rice, shrimp and veggies to turn a cup of bone broth into a light meal.
     
    Sold in eight-ounce cartons, it is a hearty drink to sip it by the cup. Pour from the carton and enjoy instead of coffee or tea.

    Want to cook with it? It’s also sold in 32-ounce cartons. You can cook beans and legumes, pasta, rice and other grains in it for added protein and flavor, or use it as a base for soup. You can garnish plane bone broth with a splash of basil oil or chili oil.
     
    Why bone broth? Why now?

    According to a 2014 study by NDP Group, more than seven out of 10 consumers are looking to add more protein to their diets. With high protein, low calories and a myriad of reported wellness benefits, it’s in demand by health enthusiasts, Paleo diet practitioners and CrossFit-ers, many of whom have taken up the practice of making bone broth from scratch. (Want to make your own? Here’s a recipe. Note that we have seen comments that cage-raised chickens tend to produce stock that doesn’t gel as well. So try to find bones from organic or free-range poultry.)

     

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    Turn bone broth into a meal by adding proteins and vegetables. Photo courtesy Wholesomeness.com.au. Here’s their recipe for beef bone broth.

     

    THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BONE BROTH

    Rich in amino acids and minerals and fat-free, the broth delivers 9 grams of protein per cup for only 355-40 calories. While the actual recipe simmers for days, you can enjoy this snack or first course in little more than 30 seconds.

    nourishing for both your body and your soul. If you’re fighting off a cold or the flu, homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperation from illness.

  • Digestion. The gelatin in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid that attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thus supporting proper digestion
  • Pain. Bone broth contains chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine—the components of joint pain pills—plus other compounds from the boiled down cartilage. They reduce joint pain and inflammation. The amino acids in bone broth—arginine, glycine and proline—also have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Bone Health. Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that help with healthy bone formation.
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    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BROTH, BONE BROTH, STOCK & MORE

    If you’re wondering how bone broth fits into the broth pantheon that includes aspic, bouillon, consomme and stock, here’s the scoop:

    Broth. Broth is typically made with meat and can contain a small amount of bones. It is typically simmered for a far shorter period of time—45 minutes to 2 hours. The result is very light in flavor and thin in texture, although rich in protein.

    Aspic. Aspic is jellied broth made from meat or fish stock. It is refrigerated, where it becomes solid, like gelatin; then is cubed and used as a relish for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. Or, it is used as a filler mold that holds meat, fish or vegetables.

    Bouillon. Bouillon is a clear, thin broth made typically by simmering chicken or beef in water with seasonings. It can be consumed in this state, or used as a base for other dishes, sauces, etc. Bouillon can be made from mixed sources, e.g. chicken and vegetables. Bouillon (not to be confused with bouillon cubes) is a stock that is strained, and then served as a clear soup. It can be enhanced with other flavors—for example, sherry, herbs and spices—and this is the key difference between bouillon and plain broth.

    Stock. Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat that adheres to the bones. The bones are often roasted before simmering, which improves the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for a longer time than broth, 3 to 4 hours. The result is rich in minerals and gelatin and more flavor than broth, extracted from the longer cooking time.

    Consommé. Consommé is a clear liquid made by clarifying stock for a more elegant presentation. Typically, egg whites are added to the stock; the cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the egg whites and rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. The word means “consumed” or “finished” in French, indicating a more finished soup than a stock or a broth. In classic French cuisine, a bowl of consommé was often served at the beginning of a meal.

    Bone broth. Like stock, bone broth is typically is made with bones and the small amount of meat adhering to them. As with stock, bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the broth. The key difference is that bone broth is simmered for a much longer time, 24 hours or more. This long cooking time helps to extract the maximum amount of minerals and other nutrients from the bones.

      

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    STOCKING STUFFER: Justin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

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    Get them while you can! Photo courtesy Justin’s.

     

    Justin’s makes delicious organic peanut butter cups in dark, milk and white chocolate. The salty peanut butter is a tasty counterpoint to the creamy, quality white chocolate. We’re hooked!

    The white chocolate cups are available at Whole Foods Markets and other major retailers, as well as at Justins.com.

    Learn more about Justin’s line of organic nut butters and PB cups at Justins.com. Peanut butter flavors include:
     
    Almond Butter

  • Maple Almond Butter
  • Classic Almond Butter
  • Chocolate Almond Butter
  • Honey Almond Butter
  • Vanilla Almond Butter
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    Hazelnut Butter

  • Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
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    Peanut Butter

  • Classic Peanut Butter
  • Honey Peanut Butter
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    The line is gluten-free and certified kosher by OU.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Genmaicha Tea

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    Genmaicha, green tea mixed with toasted
    rice. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.

     

    Genmaicha, pronounced gen-my-cha with a hard “g,” is one of our favorite green teas.

    The flavor of the sencha green tea base is secondary to the nutty, toasty flavor of kernels of toasted and popped brown rice that scattered among the tea leaves.

    The name translates as “brown rice tea”; it is also called roasted rice tea and popcorn tea, because a few grains of the rice invariably pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn. To further confuse matters, different American tea packagers bestow names of their own. At Mighty Leaf it’s Kyoto rice tea; at Numi it’s toasted rice tea.

    The good news is that this tea, which for a long time was only available loose, can now be found in tea bags. And people who want to drink green tea for its health benefits, but don’t like the grassy and vegetal flavors, can try it and possibly really enjoy the nutty flavor (from the roasted rice).

    As a stocking stuffer or small gift, you can buy a box for as little as $5.49, on Amazon.com.

     

    ABOUT GENMAICHA TEA

    Genmaicha was originally drunk by poor Japanese. The rice was used as a filler and reduced the price of the tea; which is why it is also known as the “people’s tea.” Today it is enjoyed by everyone.

    Genmaicha is also sold with matcha (powdered green tea) added to it, called matcha-iri genmaicha (literally, “genmaicha with added powdered tea”). The flavor is often stronger and the color more green than pale yellow green of regular genmaicha. Rishi sells an organic version.

    DISCOVER THE MANY TYPES OF TEA IN OUR TASTY TEA GLOSSARY.

     

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    Thinking ahead to stocking stuffers? How about a box of genmaicha tea? The organic Numi line is certified kosher by Natural Food Certifiers. Photo courtesy Numi Tea.

     

      

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    NEWS: When “Organic” Isn’t Organic

    Paul Newman would not be happy. The guardians of the Newman’s Own Organics brand have been playing fast and loose.

    The Newman’s Own food brand was founded by actor Paul Newman and author A.E. Hotchner in 1982. Its purpose was to generate money for charity: The company gives 100% of the after-tax profits from the sale of its products to the Newman’s Own Foundation, which distributes it to various educational and charitable organizations.

    In 1993, Newman’s daughter Nell Newman founded Newman’s Own Organics as a division of the company. Created to produce only organic foods, it became a separate company in late 2001. Father and daughter posed for the photograph on the label.

    Now, the USDA has called out Newman’s Own Organics and some other companies for selling products that do not qualify for the use of the word “organic” on the front panel. Consumers are being misled by the word “organic” or “organics” in the brand names, while the products are not organic-compliant.

    Unless a food product is certified organic, according to the regulations of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), it cannot display, overtly, the word “organic” on the front panel of the product.

     

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    “Pa” would not be pleased. Photo courtesy Newman’s Own Organics.

     

    The investigation began in 2010 when a not-for-profit group, The Cornucopia Institute, filed a complaint against Newman’s ginger cookies, asserting that these and other products the company markets had labels such as “made with organic wheat and sugar,” but that many of the more expensive ingredients were not in fact organic.

    “When products qualify for the ‘Made With Organic Ingredients’ label, it means they have a minimum of 70% organic content,” stated Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of the Cornucopia Institute. “Newman’s Own Organics ginger cookies didn’t even contain organic ginger when we did our initial investigation in 2010. That’s what I call misleading!”

    You can read the Institute’s full press release here.

    A small percentage of products under the Newman’s Own Organics name actually are certified organic. Most are manufactured with the lowest permissable amount of organic ingredients, 70%, and qualify for the “Made With Organic” labeling category, the third of three tiers (the best is “100% Organic,” followed by “Organic,” which requires 95% organic ingredients).

    “Other brands of organic cookies that have to compete on store shelves with Newman’s, such as Country Choice, go to the effort and expense to procure organic ginger and all other available organic ingredients, and present a product of true integrity to the consuming public,” said Kastel.

    As a result of the Institute’s efforts, the USDA released new guidelines yesterday, called “Use of Brand or Company Names Containing the Word ‘Organic’.”

    The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. Efforts support economic justice for the family-scale farming community, backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

      

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