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

Archive for Organic

TIP OF THE DAY: Genmaicha Tea

Loose_leaf_genmaicha_wiki-cha.co.uk-230

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.

 

numi-toasted-rice-aka-genmaicha-230

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.

 

  

Comments off

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.

 

Newmans-Own-Organics-Logo-230

“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.

  

Comments off

PRODUCT: Petite Crème From Stonyfield

petite-creme-beauty-spoon-230

New Petite Crème, a creamy yogurt
alternative without the tang of yogurt. Photo
courtesy Stonyfield.

 

The category of Greek yogurt has exploded in the U.S. Is there anyone who isn’t eating it? The Greek category accounts for 47% of all U.S. yogurt sales.

Yes! A large enough number of people don’t care for the tang, such that Stonyfield, a subsidiary of French dairy giant Danone (of Dannon yogurt fame) that specializes in organic yogurt, has introduced a product to capture their business:

Called Petite Crème (PEH-tee CREHM), it’s a French dairy product called fromage frais (fresh cheese), known in Germany and elsewhere as quark.

Fromage frais is high-moisture-content, unaged cheese: drained, coagulated milk (simple lactic set curd) intended to be eaten within days of its production. It is most popularly eaten for breakfast or with fruit for dessert. In the U.S., it is waiting to step right in where the yogurt-averse fear to tread.

Fromage frais has a creamy, soft texture and fresh, sweet flavor, although the fromage frais cheeses of the U.S. are less flavorful than those made in other countries from unpasteurized milk (U.S. law requires all cheeses aged fewer than 60 days to be made of pasteurized milk to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria; pasteurization kills off friendly, tasty bacteria in the process).

 

Petite Crème has the consistency of yogurt without the tang and debuts in seven flavors:

  • Belle Blueberry
  • La Vie en Strawberry
  • Mon Cherry Amour
  • Ooh La La Peach
  • Plain & Simple
  • Strawberry-Banana Ménage
  • Vive la Vanilla!
  •  
    The Stonyfield line is certified kosher by OU.

     

    The all-organic ingredients include cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, sugar, cream, cornstarch, vanilla or other flavors and guar gum. What’s missing? Live and active cultures, like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

    In yogurt, the cultures ferment the milk, causing the thickening. With Petite Creme, cornstarch and guar gum (a bean-based powder) the job.

    The nutritional content is similar to Greek yogurt: 10g protein per 5.3 ounce cup.

  • For the plain variety, calories per 5.3 ounce serving are 100, 30 from fat, with 5g sugar that is the lactose in the milk.
  • A fruit flavor, such as Strawberry, has 30 calories, 25 from fat, and 15 g sugar.
  •  
    We recently had the opportunity to taste all the flavors and have two personal favorites: Mon Cherry Amour, with intense black cherry flavor, and Plain & Simple, the original fromage frais.

     

    Petite-Creme-plain-230

    Be sure to try the plain version as well as the fruit flavors. Photo courtesy Stonyfield.

     

    ABOUT CHEESE RECIPES

    Fromage frais, quark, yogurt: What’s the difference? Cheese and yogurt* are made from a common ingredient—milk. But depending on how that milk is handled, thousands of different recipes result.

    Cheese is produced from milk due to the activity of special dairy bacteria and the action of rennet. These act on the proteins in milk, causing them to coalesce into a gel-like curd which is the beginning of cheese.

  • Milk type and butterfat level
  • Amount and type of cultures (bacteria)
  • Amount of rennet
  • Added moisture (water)
  • Time and temperature at which the milk is heated
  • Brining time and additives (beer or wine, for example)
  • Size of the cut curds
  • Length of time stirred
  • How the whey is removed
  • How the rind is treated
  • Ripening time
  •  
    Minor changes in any of these areas can have a dramatic affect on the final product.
     
    *Yogurt is not a fresh cheese. The definition of cheese requires rennet. Even though yogurt has a texture very similar to fromage frais and quark, there is no rennet in yogurt. Rennet coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). Curds and whey exist separately even in fresh cheeses like fromais frais, where they are not visible to the naked eye.
      

    Comments off

    PRODUCT: Cascadian Farm Organic Protein Bars

    For breakfast on the go and better snacking, we’ve been enjoying Cascadian Farm’s new chewy granola bars in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Honey Roasted Nut.

    Most varieties of Cascadian Farm granola bars (and other granola bar brands) contain 2-4 grams of protein. The new protein bars use organic pea protein to amp up the level to 9 grams. (You can’t taste the pea protein, a hot new ingredient used in better brands.)

    The texture is great—not dry, like some protein bars.

    And they’re very filling, standing in for a light meal on a busy day.

    Both flavors are delicious, although we admit a preference for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

    By the way, there’s no granola in the bars. Ingredients include:

  • Honey Roasted Nut: peanuts, peanut butter, honey, tapioca syrup, pea protein, almonds, rice flour, sunflower oil, sea salt
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip: peanuts, peanut butter, honey, pea protein, tapioca syrup, rice flour, chocolate chips, sunflower oil and sea salt
  •  
    The bars are available at natural food stores and other retailers nationwide.

     

    2-bars-unwrapped-box-2-230

    Chewy Honey Roasted Nut protein bars from Cascadian Farm. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Find more of Cascadian Farm’s excellent organic products at CascadianFarm.com.

    ABOUT CASCADIAN FARM

    One of the country’s leading brands of organic foods with some 75 different products, Cascadian Farm is a real place: a working farm founded 40 years ago on a stretch of land next to the Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. It became a pioneer in converting conventional farms to organic.

    From cereals and granola bars to spreads and relishes to frozen fruits, vegetables and juices, it’s a wonderful line, delivering delicious, better-for-you foods in a sustainable manner.

      

    Comments off

    PRODUCT: Veri Soda, Organic & Low Calorie

    When “natural” isn’t good enough for you, go all the way. That’s what the makers of Veri Organic Soda did, creating a line of USDA certified organic and low-calorie soda (the first organic and low calorie line), sweetened with organic cane sugar and organic stevia.

    It’s very flavorful soda with modest calories, no artificial ingredients and no added chemicals.

    What you do get are bright and refreshing flavors, the four most popular: Cola, Ginger Ale, Lemon-Lime and Orange. At 60 calories per 12-ounce serving, they’re half the calories of conventional sodas.

    The brand uses a blend of organic cane sugar and organic stevia to deliver just the right amount of sweetness.

     

    veri-organic-cans-230

    Three of the four Veri flavors, just 60 calories a can. Photo courtesy Veri Soda Company.

     

    If you’re ready to swap out your standard soda or cocktail mixer for a healthier version, try Veri Soda. We enjoyed every flavor.

    The Veri Soda Company company is a Climate Neutral organization (net zero carbon footprint—more information) and committed to Non GMO ingredients.

    You can use the form on the company website to find a retailer near you.

    In the interim, head to Amazon.com for:

  • Veri Cola
  • Veri Lemon Lime
  • Veri Ginger Ale
  • Veri Orange
  •   

    Comments off



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