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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 Snacks

PRODUCT: Smucker’s Fruit-Fulls

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Nothing but fruit: Remove cap, insert nozzle
into mouth, enjoy. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.

 

We haven’t liked every fruit squeeze pouch brand we’ve tried. Some of them, even though they’re all natural, don’t taste that way.

But Smucker’s new Fruit-Fulls taste just like the orchard. For 80 calories, they’re a delicious, sweet grab-and-go treat.

Made from Washington State apples, Fruit-Fulls are simple: just pure, sweet blended fruit, essentially applesauce, with no sugar added. The flavors include:

  • Apple
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Apple Mixed Berry
  • Apple Strawberry
  •  
    All are delicious, although we’re partial to the more complex flavors of Apple Mixed Berry and Apple Strawberry—more fruit flavor.

    Fruit-Fulls are available at stores nationwide, packaged in boxes of eight four-ounce pouches. Learn more at Smuckers.com.

     
    SERVING SUGGESTIONS

    Fruit pouches were meant to be enjoyed “from the pouch,” but we used the convenient nozzle to:

  • Add to plain yogurt
  • Top sorbet
  • Make a parfait
  • Make “fruit sandwiches,” filling sliced bananas and peaches
  •  
    TIP: Hide these from the kids or there won’t be any left for you.

     
      

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    PRODUCT: Pistachio Chewy Bites

    pistachio-tea-3-230

    A favorite snack: chewy pistachio bites.
    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    While several of us tried to determine the name of the company, we all agreed: These Pistachio Chewy Bites are good stuff.

    Simple and nutritious, they’re a blend of roasted pistachios and dried cranberries, bound in a honey-like mix of two low-glycemic* sweeteners, agave and brown rice syrup.

    The bites are small—2″ x 1-1/2″—but nutrient dense and filling. One is enough, really, although the serving size is two.

    We’ve been enjoying them as an on-the-go snack, for breakfast and at tea time. We have afternoon tea at THE NIBBLE, and these snacks can hold their own with biscotti, cookies and other sweets we sample each day.

    If you need a quick dessert garnish, you can dice the bars as a topping for cupcakes, ice cream or sorbet.

    The only confusion is the name of the company, only visible on the bag in the logo. There’s no URL, no company name in the marketing copy on the bag.

    We don’t have room for a photo here, but look at it.

     

    Is it Seffon Farms? Selton Farms? Setton Farms.

    It’s the latter. We had to Google it.

    The line is certified gluten free and certified kosher by OK.

    Learn more about Setton Farms, a California pistachio grower,

    Buy the bites on Amazon.
     
    *The glycemic index of table sugar is 60-65. The glycemic index of agave is 32, and brown rice syrup is 20. Honey is 58 and pure maple syrup is 54. Agave is 1.4 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and honey, so you don’t need to use as much.
     
      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Yummy Breads From Ozery Bakery

    morning-rounds-230

    Morning Rounds: the deliciously better
    alternative to breakfast pastries. We’re
    addicted to them. Photo courtesy Ozery
    Bakery.

     

    Ozery Bakery is a family owned business that bakes better-for-you breads and crackers, holesome and delicious.

  • The grains are organic whole grains: Kamut/Khorasan wheat, oats, rye, spelt, and whole wheat.
  • The breads use only natural ingredients—no preservatives or additives.
  • Each variety is heart healthy, low in fat and sodium and protein rich.
  • The line is allergy-friendly: soy free, dairy free, peanut and nut free (made in a nut-free facility) and vegan.
  • Everything is baked in small batches. The line is certified kosher (pareve) by KSA, certified organic and certified non-GMO.
  •  
    And you can buy them online by the case—which is no problem, since the preservative-free, perishable breads should all go into the freezer anyway.

    It’s as close as you’ll get to guilt-free bread.

     
    Fifteen years ago, the Toronto-based sandwich shop owners grew weary of commercial bread. They decided to bake a loaf from a family recipe.

    From that first bite of fragrant, chewy bread, they began baking their own flavorful bread for their sandwiches, and began selling the bread in the sandwich shop. Then, the bread started outselling the sandwiches, with many customers ordering bread in bulk and spreading the word.

    Gourmet and health food companies began knocking on the door. A breakfast bread was created: Morning Rounds, a fusion of the family’s homemade pita baking techniques and Canadian tastes for muesli and fruit.

    And now, the four-product line is available in the U.S., at natural food stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods Markets.

     

    OZERY BAKERY BREADS

    Morning Rounds are a fruit and grain bun, evocative of fruited English muffins. The sweetness of the fruit makes them an easy replacement for doughnuts, muffins and breakfast pastries.

    You can enjoy them from the bag or toasted, plain or spread with butter or jam. The flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Orange and Muesli; we find the Cranberry Orange to be addictively delicious.

    Each contains 5g of protein, 170 calories, and is a source of fiber, iron, calcium, Vitamin B, antioxidants and folic acid. The company also bakes mini Snacking Rounds in the same flavors.

    OneBun thin, whole grain buns were invented as a healthy alternative to classic burger buns.

    They’re soft, flavorful and pre-sliced rounds, named OneBun because this one bun can be use for sandwiches, burgers, homemade pizzas, dips, even taco fillings.

    Choose from OneBun Multigrain*, OneBun Organic (plain), OneBun Sprouted and OneBun Whole Wheat. Another benefit: The halves are much thinner than traditional hamburger buns or sandwich breads, saving calories—just 100 calories for both halves.

     

    one-bun-wheat-230

    OneBun is one bun that works for everything. Photo courtesy Ozery Bakery.

     
    The halves are much thinner than traditional hamburger buns or sandwich breads, saving calories: just 100 calories for both halves.

    Freeze, Don’t Refrigerate

    Since the breads contain no preservatives, the best way to keep them fresh is to freeze them right away. Freezing quickly locks in the moisture.

    It’s easy to restore fresh-baked flavor and texture: Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, microwave for 10 seconds or pop into the toaster oven to toast or warm at 400°F for a minute.

    Never refrigerate bread. Refrigerators work on the principle of drawing out heat, which removes the moisture along with it.
     
    OZERY BAKERY CRACKERS

    Crispy Pita Snacks are very flavorful and crunchy in Cranberry Pumpkin Seed, Organic Spelt With Flax, Organic Wheat and Rosemary Garlic. Use them as dippers, with soup, or snack from the bag.

    Skinny Dippers are lavash strips in Flax and Honey, Multi Grain and Honey, Organic Spelt and Organic Whole Wheat. Pair them with cheeses, soups or spreads.
     
    *More than a simple combination of grains, the blend includes with flax seeds, sunflower seeds, barley, millet, triticale, cracked wheat, and rye.

    We really enjoyed this simple snack idea, a mock bruschetta (the bread for bruschetta is grilled, not toasted), which tops a OneBun with goat cheese, ribbons of fresh zucchini, lemon juice and olive oil.

    RECIPE: ZUCCHINI & GOAT CHEESE BRUSCHETTA

    Ingredients

  • Fresh zucchini
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Multigrain OneBun
  •  
    Preparation

    1. THINLY SLICE the zucchini with a potato peeler. Place in a bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings. Mix well.

    2. PLACE the goat cheese in a bowl and mash it with a fork.

    3. TOAST the OneBun, spread with goat cheese and then top with zucchini ribbons.

      

    Comments

    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

    JULY 4th FOOD: Terra Chips Stripes & Blues

    Yes, there’s a perfect potato chip for July 4th Weekend: Terra Chips Stripes & Blues.

    These delectable chips are a blend of striped beets (chiogga beets), sweet potatoes (with some beet juice concentrate for color) and blue potatoes, which create the patriotic red, white and blue mix. They’re seasoned with a pinch of sea salt.

    If you can’t find them locally, you can buy them online. A carton of 12 bags will go quickly, we promise.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    And given the choice between a bottle of wine and a few bags of Terra’s Stripes & Blues, we’re guessing that a majority of people will go for the chips.

    JULY 4TH BEER FOR THE CHIPS

    Next task: Find an artisan beer to match. Here are some ideas for starters:

  • Brew Free or Die IPA, 21st Amendment Brewing
  • Enjoy by 07.04.14, Stone Brewing Company
  • Liberty Ale, Anchor Brewing
  • Revolution XPA, Eagle Rock Brewery
  • Union Jack, Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  •  

    Read the full article.

     

    terra-stripes-and-blues-chips-terraFB-230

    The most patriotic potato chips. Photo courtesy Terra Chips.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Shelf Stable Pacific Organic Hummus

    Way back in 2006, we received samples of shelf-stable hummus in jars. From a brother and sister-led company called Salt & Vinegar, we felt the manufacturers had nailed a need in the rapidly growing hummus market: hummus that didn’t require refrigeration.

    The fledgling company didn’t make it; and since then, the hummus category has exploded even more. You can find hummus in dozens of flavors, mixed with other Middle Eastern specialties like babaganoush, tabouleh and yogurt.

    The only thing missing: shelf-stable hummus. Hummus that you can keep in your locker or desk drawer, in your glove compartment, in your gym bag, for a protein-packed, better-for-you snack or light lunch.

    Pacific Foods has risen to meet the need, with three flavorful varieties of shelf stable—Classic, Roasted Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper. They are made from the highest quality organic ingredients, including chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, a touch of garlic and a pinch of sea salt.

    How does shelf stable hummus compare to refrigerated or freshly made hummus?

       

    pacific-organic-hummus-trio-230r

    Two of the three flavors of shelf-stable hummus (no refrigeration required). Photo courtesy Pacific Foods.

     

    pacific-hummus-bowl-230

    No refrigerator required. Photo courtesy
    Pacific Foods.

     

    In our own office test, our favorite refrigerated varieties (including Tribe) won out, but Pacific was deemed more than worthy, with bonus points for convenience.

    And according to the manufacturer, Pacific’s Classic Hummus has “one-third fewer calories and 40% less fat than the refrigerated hummus category leader.”

    Look for them where you’d find the shelf stable salsas, in the chip aisle. They’re rolling out at Whole Foods Markets, and at other stores that carry the Pacific brand of organic products.

    Priced at $3.39 to $4.29 (based on the individual retailer)per 12.75-ounce container, these convenient little boxes are begging to accompany you wherever you go.

    Don’t forget a plastic spoon plus optional chips and veggies.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bare Coconut Chips

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    Coconut chips are a delicious snack, but so
    much more. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    The limited days of Almond Joy, Mounds, toasted coconut marshmallows are over. Coconut lovers have numerous ways to enjoy the tropical fruit. For starters, there are coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut M&Ms, coconut milk, coconut nutrition bars, coconut oil, coconut rum and the ubiquitous coconut water. (Hey: Why is it so hard to find coconut ice cream?)

    And now, there’s a snack that goes back to the basics: BARE Coconut Chips. BARE scoops the fruit from fresh coconuts, slices and bakes it into better-for-you snack chips. And they’re delicious, in:

  • Simply Toasted (vegan)
  • Show Me the Honey
  • Sweet N’ Heat (vegan)
  •  
    Coming soon are:

  • Chocolate Bliss (available August)
  • Sea Salt Caramel (available Fall)
  •  

    COCONUT: NOT A NUT!

    Let us digress for a moment in the name of food education. The coconut is not a nut!

    It’s a fruit—a drupe, like stone fruits and almonds—and not a true nut like pecans, pistachios, walnuts and others. As the immature coconut develops, the drinkable coconut water in the shell converts to edible flesh; when dried, the coconut flesh is called copra.

    The coconut tree got its name from 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish seafarers; the term “isoco,” meaning head or skull, the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.

    Coconut products are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconut oil and milk derived are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of items for furnishing and decorating.

     

    BACK TO COCONUT CHIPS

    BARE Crunchy Coconut Chips are a sister line to BARE’s outstanding line of Crunchy Apple Chips, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week and one of our favorite better-for-you snacks at home and work.

    Both product lines are minimally-processed, good-for-you snacks made from only real, whole-food ingredients. They are gluten free, Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan (except for the Show me the Honey Coconut Chips), a good source of dietary fiber, and are free of refined sugar, preservatives, cholesterol and trans fats.

    Discover more at BareSnacks.com.
     
    USES FOR COCONUT CHIPS

  • Breakfast: as a garnish for cottage cheese and yogurt, cereal, pancakes and porridge
  • Lunch: as a salad or soup garnish
  • Snacks: from the bag, in trail mix, atop cupcakes
  • Dinner: plate garnish, with rice and other grains
  •  

    bag-bowl-2-230

    Simply delicious, plain or flavored. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Dessert: atop cake frosting, ice cream, puddings, and as a general garnish
  •  
    They don’t melt, provide an energy boost, and are a great tote-along and leave-in-the-car snack. Get them from the company website or at retailers nationwide (store locator).

    Get some of the terrific apple chips while you’re at it.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Strawberry On A Stick

    Here’s a new take on strawberry lollipops: fresh strawberry “lollipops.”

    Whole strawberries are speared on lollipop sticks, dipped into honey and rolled in chopped nuts.

    This better-for-you sweet treat looks very tempting, and delivers:

  • The heart-healthy and anti-cancer power of strawberries, rich in phytonutrients and potassium.
  • The heart-healthy oil and protein of your favorite chopped nuts.
  • The minerals and vitamins of honey: amino acids, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and zinc.
  •  
    For a lower-glycemic natural sweetener, substitute agave for the honey.

    Serve them on a cake pop stand or repurpose a piece of styrofoam.

     

    A good-for-you dessert or snack. Photo courtesy MolecularRecipes.com.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Limited Edition Garrett’s Smoky Cheese Popcorn

    In advance of Father’s Day, Chicago popcorn palace Garrett’s has introduced limited-edition Smoky CheeseCorn, for gifting or party fare.

    The popcorn is handmade daily from the highest quality ingredients and a signature blend of kernels. It is hot-air popped and stirred into freshly melted sharp cheddar cheese, infused with a wisp of hickory smoke.

    Purchase at Garrett popcorn shops in Chicago, Las Vegas and New York (plus international—see the store locator), or online at GarrettPopcorn.com.

    You can send Dad a one-gallon tin for Father’s Day, or the ginormous 6.5-gallon tin to feed a whole party. The flavor will be available through the summer barbecue season.

     

    smoky-cheesecorn-garrett-230r

    Cheesy and smoky: new Smoky CheeseCorn. Photo courtesy Garrett’s.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Twinkies Day

    In 2012 and 2013, it looked like National Twinkies Day, April 6th, might be in jeopardy. Hostess Brands, the manufacturer, closed 33 bakeries in November 2012, declaring bankruptcy.

    But thanks to an investment by two private equity firms, the golden snacks were back on the shelf in July 2013.

    And a number of fans don’t ever want to be caught without their Twinkies: They’ve developed homemade versions. Here’s a recipe posted on Epicurious.com (presented as “vanilla snack cakes”).

    So buy them or bake them, and enjoy this Twinkie Trivia while you snack.
     
    TWINKIE TRIVIA

  • Birth. Twinkies snack cakes were invented in 1930 by James Dewar, manager of the Continental Baking Company (now Hostess Brands) in Chicago. The product was conceived as a way to use the company’s thousands of shortcake pans, which were employed only during strawberry season.
  •  

    twinkies-vanilla-snack-cakes-epicurious-230

    Make your own Twinkies. Photo by Lara Ferroni | Epicurious.

  • Name. Twinkies were originally called Little Shortcake Fingers. They were subsequently renamed Twinkie Fingers, inspired by a billboard that advertised the Twinkle Toe Shoe; and finally were renamed Twinkies. The third time’s a charm!
  • Price. Twinkies originally cost a nickel for two and had banana creme filling. The filling was changed to vanilla creme because there was a banana shortage during World War II. In 1999, Hostess reintroduced a limited-edition banana-creme Twinkie, but Americans refused to bite and it has not returned.
  • Science. In 1995, a group of Rice University students conducted experiments on Twinkies. See the results on here. One finding: When microwaved, Twinkies gave off noxious fumes.
  • Shelf Life. Twinkies currently have a shelf life of 45 days. The secret to their longevity is the lack of dairy ingredients, which spoil more quickly than other ingredients; not to mention, lots of preservatives.
  • Quantity. Hostess produced more than 500 million Twinkies a year, almost enough for each American to eat two Twinkies a year. Chicago, the birthplace of Twinkies, consumes more per capita than any other city.
  • Honor. In 1999, the White House Millennium Council selected the Twinkie as one of the items to be preserved in the Nation’s Millennium Time Capsule, representing an object of enduring American symbolism. (Hmm…)
  •  
    Trivia source: HunterHome.net.

      

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