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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 TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Organic

PRODUCT: Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Cereal, A Whole Grain Powerhouse

Crunchy nuggets with a cinnamon blush.
Photo courtesy Kashi Company.

 

Our grandfather loved Post Shredded Wheat, and we came to love it too—despite the fact that his daughter (Mom) didn’t like it and wouldn’t keep it in the house. So when we went to Grandpa’s, our treat was getting to eat as many bowls of it as we could.

When we left for college, Shredded Wheat became a go-to comfort food, standing in for many a dinner as well as breakfast.

Today we know that Shredded Wheat and similar boxed cereals are whole grain powerhouses. When we saw that Kashi Company’s Autumn Wheat contained 50g of whole grains—even more than the recommended daily value—we switched brands and started each day with a bowl of Kashi. (The flavor is better, too.)

Now the Kashi Company, known for its tasty organic cereals, has launched Cinnamon Harvest: crunchy, bite-size whole wheat biscuits splashed with ground cinnamon and organic evaporated cane juice crystals.

 

Just one serving contains 47g of the 48g recommended daily value (DV) of whole grains, and 20% of one’s daily fiber.

It’s a great snacking cereal, too, and is also available in Island Vanilla, made with finely-ground vanilla beans.

Why Is Whole Grain So Important?

Our article on whole grain cereals explains all.

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: How To Avoid Pesticides On Vegetables & Fruit

Consume fewer pesticides: download the
pocket guide or app. Image courtesy
FoodNews.org.

 

We’ve previously written about the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15,” terms that refer to how much residual pesticide is left on produce, even after you wash and/or peel it.

With tempting seasonal produce entering the market, it’s time to revisit when it pays to buy organic produce.

Research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the “Clean 15”—the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables—ingest fewer than two pesticides daily.

The Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides, from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is a key resource for consumers aiming to eat healthier. It helps us make informed choices in order to lower our dietary pesticide load.

 

There’s a downloadable pocket guide and iPhone app to help you avoid the Dirty Dozen—those conventional fruits and vegetables found to be highest in pesticides—and focus instead on the Clean Fifteen fruits and vegetables that are the lowest.

Download the guide or app.

The guide was developed based on data from nearly 89,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce examined between 2000 and 2008, collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of tested fruits and vegetables at Foodnews.org.

In order of the amount of pesticide residue:

  • The Dirty Dozen (it’s worth paying for organic): celery, peaches, strawberries, apples blueberries, nectarines, bell pepers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes and imported grapes.
  • The Clean 15 (no need to buy organic): onions, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mangos, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potato and honeydew melon.
  •  
    You’ve been eating pesticides all your life. Why should you care about them now?
    The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

    What about washing and peeling the produce?
    The data used by researchers is based on produce tested as it is typically eaten: washed, rinsed or peeled, depending on the type of produce. Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all produce and buy organic when possible.

      

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    CONTEST: Win A Gourmet Food Prize In The Gourmet Giveaway

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tortilla soup,
    and enter the Gourmet Giveaway. Photo
    courtesy Wolfgang Puck.

     

    Fans of the Gourmet Giveaway know that our gourmet food giveaway went on hiatus in February, as we were building its new home on TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com.

    The Gourmet Giveaway is back, with three gift baskets from Chef Wolfgang Puck.

    All you need to do is enter your email address. To enter, go to TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com, scroll down, and click the box right underneath the shopping cart.

    The gift basket is filled with Chef Puck’s Signature Tortilla Soup—which we’re going to enjoy again on Cinco de Mayo—plus other gift items from Chef Puck.

    The Wolfgang Puck soup line is delicious, certified organic and has several gluten-free choices. You know from the first taste that you’re dealing with top-quality ingredients.

    You can purchase the Wolfgang Puck soup line at fine retailers nationwide and online.

     

    We liked the three varieties we tried—Classic Minestrone, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque—so much that we can’t wait to try the rest of the 17 varieties of soups, including Creamy Butternut Squash, French Onion, Old Fashioned Potato, Roasted Red Pepper with Tomato, Thick Hearty Vegetable and Vegetable Barley.

    The gluten-free soup varieties include Black Bean, Hearty Lentil Vegetable, Free Range Chicken With White And Wild Rice, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque. See the full list.

      

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    PRODUCT: Lychee White Tea

    Fragrant and luscious, this tasty tea
    needs no added sugar. Photo courtesy
    Choice Organic Tea.

     

    The lychee (pronounced LIE-chee, not LEE-chee, after the Chinese lai chi) is one of the most popular fruits in Southern China. The evergreen grows wild in southern China, northern Vietnam and Cambodia, although there is evidence that it has been cultivated since around 2000 B.C.E.

    Lychee tea is highly esteemed in China. Following an ancient process, tea leaves are infused with the succulent juice of the lychee. The lychee is also a symbol of beauty. This tea has delicate woody overtones with a hint of sweet lychee flavor.

    Alternative spellings include lichee, litchi and other variations.

    We’ve been enjoying Lychee White Tea from Choice, a line of tea that is certified organic and Fair Trade Certified.

     

    Blended with the exotic flavor of lychee fruit and osmanthus flowers, the tea is lush and aromatic. It’s a beautiful tea to drink plain, without sweetener. The lychee supplies its own delicate sweetness, and the tea can be enjoyed hot or cold.

    Choice Lychee White Tea is available online.

    Learn more about Choice at ChoiceOrganicTeas.com.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Teatulía Organic Tea Bags

    Teatulia teas are organic, sustainably
    packaged, and help their Bangladesh
    community. Photo by River Soma |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    Teatulía produces the best organic tea bags we’ve tried to date.

    Why is the tea so flavorful?

    The tea leaves are very fresh: There’s no middleman who buys and warehouses the tea, then sells it to marketers who package and brand it.

    The brews are so strong that we’ve gotten three mug-sized infusions from each bag. Try that with most tea bags.

    And the flavor is so rich that we enjoy each variety straight, without milk or sugar. Promise to at least take a sip of these delicious teas before adding in anything else.

    Along with the selection of black, green, herbal and white teas, there are also several ayurvedic teas. These are blended with herbs that have been used to maintain health and cure disorders for more than 5,000 years.

    Teatulía is an admirable employer, too. Read why—and learn more about these fine organic teas—in the full review.

  • Learn all about tea in our Tea Glossary and Gourmet Tea Section.
  •  

      

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    PRODUCT: Lactose-Free Yogurt, Kefir & Sour Cream

    There’s a plethora of lactose-free milk options in supermarkets, since more and more Americans are being diagnosed with lactose intolerance. (If you have digestive upsets after consuming milk products, take this quiz, then see your healthcare provider.)

    But what about yogurt, kefir and sour cream? Conventional supermarkets don’t carry lactose-free versions.

    Fortunately, natural food stores are more obliging. We discovered a lactose-free, low fat yogurt and kefir line from Green Valley, and it’s delicious by any standard. You won’t notice any difference between this and regular yogurt and kefir.

    Made from organic ingredients, these lactose-free dairy foods let us enjoy all we want with no negative effects. Packed with protein, calcium and a proprietary blend of ten live & active cultures, they’re a great find.

     

    Delicious lactose-free yogurt and
    kefir. Photo courtesy Green Valley Organics.

     

    The line is certified kosher by K-ORC, The Orthodox Rabbinical Council of San Francisco.

    The low fat yogurt is available in 6-ounce cups of Blueberry, Honey, Plain, Strawberry and Vanilla flavors, and 24-ounce containers of Honey and Plain. The kefir flavors include Blueberry-Pom-Açaí and Plain. Sour cream is packaged in 12-ounce containers.

  • Find a store near you.
  • Learn more about the different types of yogurt in our Yogurt Glossary.
  •   

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    PRODUCT: Flavored Half & Half

    If you love flavored coffee, check out Organic Valley’s new flavored Half & Half pints for an instant treat. They turn plain coffee into hazelnut or vanilla coffee. A soy creamer is also available in vanilla varieties.

    Half & half, which is a combination of cream and whole milk, adds just the right amount of richness to a cup of joe.* The new flavors add the perfect amount of hazelnut or vanilla, as well.

    *Why is coffee called a cup of joe? The true story is lost to history, but here are the three top contenders.

    The only catch, for those of us who don’t add sugar to our coffee, is that the flavors are presweetened – with Fair Trade certified, unrefined organic cane sugar.

    Beyond coffee, we used the flavored half & halfs on our morning Cheerios and oatmeal. It’s a delicious touch, if not exactly contributing to a healthy, whole-grain breakfast.

    Organic Valley is a co-op of family farms that practice organic dairying. Their cows are antibiotic- and hormone-free; no pesticides are used in the pasture or to grow their feed. The line is certified kosher by OU.

     

    A rich splash of flavor for your coffee,
    in half & half plus soy creamer. Photo
    by River Soma| THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: The Best Chocolate Sauce

    There are lots of chocolate sauces out there. The best ones are made from, not surprisingly, the highest quality chocolate.

    While we’ve had a variety of tasty dessert sauces, four brands have been named Top Picks: The King’s Cupboard, Robert Lambert Chocolate Sauces, Sassy Sauces and Somebody’s Mother’s. Except for Robert Lambert, which focuses on chocolate only, the brands offer both chocolate and caramel sauces.

    The King’s Cupboard has introduced three new flavors:

  • Irish Cream made with real Irish cream liqueur, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day
  • Crème De Menthe, a robust chocolate mint that is certain to delight
  • Bourbon Caramel, with a splash of Bourbon whiskey (it’s family-friendly; we’d add an extra splash)
  •  

    Three new dessert sauce stars. Photo
    by River Soma | THE NIBBLE. Tray from PacificMerchants.com.

     
    Chocolate or caramel sauce drizzled over cake, crêpes, ice cream or fresh fruit elevates something plain to something special. Mix a teaspoon into a cup of coffee to make a fancy drink or add to milkshakes instead of chocolate syrup. If you need a sweet fix, just dip a spoon into the jar.

    The products are kosher-certified (dairy) by OU. Crème de Menthe and Irish Cream are also certified organic.

  • Read our full review of The King’s Cupboard.
  • See our favorite dessert sauces and recipes in our Dessert Sauce Section.
  • How many types of dessert sauce are there? See our Dessert Sauce Glossary. You’ll discover new options to serve with your desserts.
  •  

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Quinoa & Whole Grain Brown Rice

    Absolutely delish: a mix of quinoa and brown
    rice, deftly seasoned. Photo courtesy Seeds
    Of Change.

     

    The Uyuni Salt Flats of southeast Bolivia, high in the Andes Mountains, are best known for salt production. But quinoa has been cultivated there by the Incas for some 5,000 years.

    Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wa or KEE-noo-ah, is an exceptionally nutritious supergrain (in fact, it’s the Quechua/Inca word for “mother grain” or “super grain”).

    Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. A complete protein equivalent to milk, it contains all eight essential amino acids and a portfolio of vitamins and minerals. Everyone should eat more quinoa.

    Our discovery of the week is a shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), 90-second microwavable package of quinoa and whole grain brown rice from Seeds Of Change.

    This whole-grain combo is deftly seasoned with black pepper, garlic, onion, parsley and sea salt. The earthy flavor of quinoa tempered with nutty brown rice is a winner. We consume lots of quinoa and lots of brown rice, and the mixture is magical.

     
    Serve it with anything or enjoy it as a high-protein, whole grain snack.

    Seeds Of Change products are certified organic by the USDA and QAI. The company contributes 1% of net sales to advance the cause of sustainable organic agriculture world wide.

    Print out a $1.00 coupon at SeedsOfChangeFoods.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kiss My Cheesy Grits

    If your only exposure to hot cereal is instant packages of oatmeal, you’re depriving yourself of a real treat. For us, Cream Of Wheat, Cream Of Rice, grits, polenta and cornmeal mush are some of life’s great comfort foods.

    Today’s shout-out is to grits (hominy grits), a versatile hot cereal or side dish to other breakfast foods, lunch or dinner or as a main dish (shrimp and grits are a match made in heaven).

    If you don’t like grits, you’ve never had the real deal. Anson Mills’ honest-to-the-core organic-certified antebellum sweet Carolina corn grits have no relation to the gluey, pallid, tasteless grits served up at so many diners.

    They’re cold-milled grits, handmade from certified organic whole heirloom seed corn. To our knowledge, they’re the best grits that money can buy. They’re not instant, but they’re terrific: true grits, indeed.

     

    Enjoy cheesy grits or plain grits for
    breakfast, lunch or dinner. Photo courtesy
    AnsonMills.com.

     
    Try them and fall in love with the full-flavor taste of these organic heirloom grains: fresh corn flavor, texture, nutrients and richness with the additional floral flavors from fresh corn germ. This style of grits was popular before the Civil War and was still available until World War II, fresh-ground every Saturday morning in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Fresh-milled hominy grist, right out of the mill, is a food lover’s delight.

    Here’s a basic grits recipe from Anson Mills. Add 1 tablespoon of grated cheese (we use Parmesan) to make cheesy grits/cheese grits.

    You can purchase grits at your local supermarket, too. They’re fine—we use them all the time. But for a special treat, get the artisan version from AnsonMills.com.

  • Read our review of Anson Mills grits, including a “grits vocabulary.”

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