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TIP OF THE DAY: Harissa & How To Use It

Homemade Harissa Paste
[1] Homemade harissa paste. Here’s a template to make your signature recipe, from Slow Burning Passion.

Shakshouka With Feta
[2] A classic Tunisian dish, shakshouka, punches up the tomato sauce with harissa.

Butternut Squash With Harissa
[3] Hot harissa ports easily to American cuisine, such as this baked squash with maple syrup and pomegranate arils (photo courtesy Cava).

Cheddar With Harissa

[4] How popular is harissa? In England, it’s become a flavoring for English Cheddar (photo courtesy iGourmet).

 

Like hot and spicy foods? Try harissa.

This “unofficial condiment of Tunisia” is extremely versatile. In Tunisia, Morocco and across North Africa, harissa flavors almost all of the local cuisine:

  • Couscous of rice
  • Grilled meat or fish
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Soups, stews and stocks
  •  
    It’s also served with bread. Harissa is both a flavor enhancer and a condiment used for dipping and spreading.

    While you can purchase harissa in jars, it’s easy to make at home (recipe below), where you can adjust the amount of heat with the type or the number of chiles.

    We use smoky chiles: chipotle (dried, smoked red jalapeño) and/or the mild ancho (dried, smoked poblano).

    For serious smoky heat, look for smoky bhut jolokia chiles, a.k.a. ghost chiles (the different types of chiles). Harissa is meant to be hot.

    Beyond heat, harissa delivers a depth of flavor not provided by hot sauces, including sriracha.

    Don’t like a lot of heat? Make red bell pepper sauce instead, and add a pinch of heat: chile flakes or hot sauce to taste.

    USES FOR HARISSA PASTE

    Harissa has a place in every meal, from breakfast to dinner. You can even add a bit in a fruit salad for dessert.

  • Beverages, from vegetable juices to Bloody Marys.
  • Breakfast eggs, from a condiment with simple egg preparations or steak and eggs, to a toast spread, to the sauce for shakshouska.
  • Burgers and meatloaf, mixed into the ground meat or the sauce or ketchup.
  • Cheeses, from mild, like ricotta, to tangy, like feta; as a condiment with stronger cheeses on a cheese plate.
  • Chicken wings: mix the harissa with some honey.
  • Dip with crudités.
  • Grilled fish especially hearty fish likesalmon.
  • Hummus, mixed in or used as a garnish on top of the bowl; or as a condiment on a hummus and roasted vegetable sandwich.
  • Pasta and pizza: add harissa to the sauce.
  • Roast chicken, baked ham, as a rub or condiment.
  • Roasted vegetables, especially carrots, fennel, potatoes and squash (toss with the vegetables before roasting).
  • Rubs and marinades: rub directly onto a pork roast, leg of lamb or chicken.
  • Tomato sauce and other vegetable sauces.
  • Vinaigrettes with lemon juice, and creamy salad dressings.
  • Yogurt, plus yogurt sauce for grilled meats and vegetables.
  •  
     
    RECIPE: HARISSA PASTE

    Seasonings vary widely, but caraway, coriander and cumin are cornerstones.

    Dried chiles are a key ingredient in harissa. You can use any combination you like.

    Ingredients

  • 1 whole roasted red pepper, seeds removed
  • 4 ounces dried red chiles of choice
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Optional: fresh cilantro or mint, maple syrup, orange juice, roasted carrots, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste
  • Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems and seeds from the chiles. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, remove from the heat and add the chiles. Cover the pot and let the chiles steep until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Drain (you can reserve the water to add flavor to other dishes, from boiled potatoes to poached eggs).

    2. TOAST the spices in a dry skillet on the stove top, until fragrant. Grind them in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Add to a blender or food processor along with the chiles and the remaining ingredients, and purée. You want a thick paste, but can add additional oil to achieve the desired consistency.

    3. STORE in a sterile jar, for six months or longer in the fridge. Cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil to keep the color from oxidizing. Each time you use some paste, add another layer of olive oil before returning to the fridge.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Best Foods To Pair With Rosé Wines

    June 10th is National Rosé Day.

    Unlike Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and the other grape varietals, there is no “rosé grape.” Rosé (French for pink) wine can be made from any variety of red grape.

    As a result, the styles and flavors from different wine-making regions vary widely.

    The pink color occurs is when the red grape skins are briefly left in contact with the pressed juice: for only a few hours, as opposed to the few weeks of skin contact when making red wine.

    Even within a wine region—New Zealand, Northern California, Provence, South Africa, etc.—rosé wines are made in a variety of styles: drier, sweeter, lighter, fuller, pale in color, deep in color. See the chart below.

    IT’S MORE POPULAR THAN WHITE WINE

    Dry rosé wine is the all-occasion wine in the south of France—no surprise, since Provence is the world base of dry rosé production. There, vin rosé is paired with all the foods, all year around.

    In fact, dry French rosé outsells white wine in France!

    The dry rosés from Provence can be substituted any time you need dry wine. When you can’t decide between red or white wine, reach for the rosé.

    America rosés can be dry or sweet. Many, especially on the lower end are like blush wines, contain nearly seven times as much residual sugar as a Provençal rosé. Ask the wine store staff for guidance, or do research online.

    Sweetness in rosés can be very welcome. They’re great for dessert and for casual sipping, instead of a sweet cocktail.

    One of our favorite summer desserts or snacks is a scoop of sorbet in a wine glass, topped off with a sweeter rosé.

    You can also blend sorbet and rose into a “frozen” cocktail. Here’s a recipe for “frosé.”

    Better yet, have a rose wine tasting. It’s a great summer party idea.
     
     
    ROSÉ FOOD & WINE PAIRINGS

    With Drier Rosés

    Here’s how we like to pair dry rosé wines:

  • American appetizer fare: bruschetta, deviled eggs, cheese balls, chicken wings, crudités, stuffed mushrooms, etc.
  • Cheeses: fresh (goat, mozzarella) and semisoft (brie, camembert, gorgonzola, gruyère, havarti, young gouda, Monterey jack and provolone).
  • Egg dishes: breakfast eggs, frittata, quiche.
  • Cheese dishes: Caprese salad, crostini, fondue, grilled cheese and other sandwiches, soufflés.
  • Fish and shellfish: baked, poached, grilled, raw (chirashi, crudo, sashimi, sushi, tartare, tiradito), smoked< ./li>
  • Grain salads and other grain dishes: barley, couscous, farro, quinoa, rice, etc.
  • Green salads, plain or with chicken and seafood.
  • Pasta: lighter hot dishes and pasta salads.
  • Spicy cuisines: Indian, Mexican, Szechuan, Thai.
  • Summer soups: corn chowder, gazpacho.
  • White pizza and flatbread.
  •  
    With Sweeter Rosés

  • Cocktails, sangria, punch and casual sipping
  • Fruit and fruit salad.
  • Desserts.
  • Fresh cheeses.
  •  
     
    MORE WAYS TO ENJOY ROSÉ

    Have A Rosé Tasting

    Rosé Sangria

    Affordable Sparkling Rosé

    Frozen Rosé Cocktails

    Rosé Milkshakes
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF ROSÉ WINE

    Provence, the warm and sunny southeastern part of France, is where the France’s wine grapes were first cultivated 2,600 years ago. The ancient Greeks brought grapevines to southern France around 600 B.C.E., when they founded the city of Marseille.

     

    Rose Wine Glass & Bottle

    Rose Champagne With Dessert

    Rose Wine With Oysters

    Tartine With Rose Wine

    Shades Of Rose Wine

    Photo credits from the top: Herringbone Eats, Ruinart, 100 Layer Cakes, Kitchen Aid, Jacksonville Magazine.

     
    In the time of the Greeks, all wines were generally pale in color—the color of today’s rosés. By the time the Romans arrived in 125 B.C.E. (and named the area Provincia Romana, hence Provence), the rosé wine produced there was known throughout the Mediterranean for its high quality. Even when the Romans introduced their preferred red wines to the area, the locals continued to prefer the rosés.

    After the fall of the Roman Empire, invading tribes came and went, imposing their own preferences. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that wine-making in Provence saw growth again—thanks to the efforts of the monks in local abbeys. Rosé wines were an important revenue source for the monasteries.

    Beginning in the 14th century, the nobility and military leaders acquired many Provençal vineyards, and laid the foundation for modern viticulture. Rosé became prestigious, the wine of kings and aristocrats [source].

    So when you take a sip, think of history: the Greeks to the Romans to the French nobility to you!
     
     
    Styles Of Rose Wine

      

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    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.
     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bela Sardines & Mackerel

    School Of Sardines

    Bela Olhao Sardines

    Bela Olhao Sardines Open Can

    Bela Olhao

    Sardine Tapas

    Sardine Tapas

    [1] Close-up on a school of sardines (photo courtesy AP | Ventura County Star). [2] Cleaned, cooked and canned by BELA Brands (photos #2 and #3 courtesy BELA). [3] Open the can and… [4] Dig in (photo courtesy Food52). [5] Easy tapas, with tomato or pimento on a baguette slice (photo Wikipedia Commons). [6] Not-much-more-difficult sardine tapas at Nomad in New York City.

     

    Earlier in our life, we did not care at all for sardines. We turned up our nose at this “cat food.” That’s because what was available in supermarkets then was of pretty low quality. Many Americans grew up eschewing sardines.

    Often, those undesirables weren’t even sardines, but sprats—a different genus, Sprattus in the same family as sardines. They are less tasty cousins of sardines.

    To add to the confusion, sprats are sometimes called brisling sardines, after a canned variety from Norway.

    The sought-after European sardine, also called the pilchard sardine (photo #1), is species Sardina pilchardus Walbaum. You won’t find those words on a can: You have to know the best brands.

    Now we’ve become a foodie nation, and grocers are offering the world’s best. In sardines, that’s the BELA brand. They’re a boon for Mediterranean and Paleo Diet followers, as well as for anyone wanting a quick meal with quality protein.

    Check out the way we enjoy them, below.

    And did we mention they’re just $3 a can?

    BELA SARDINES

    The premium quality “gourmet” sardines from Bela Brands (photos #2, #3 and #4) have found their way into many foodie homes.

    The company also sells premium canned mackerel fillets and skipjack tuna in jars; but given the number of words in this article alone, we’ll have to feature them another time.

    BELA Brand Seafood is a family-owned business which has been sustainably fishing the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve, for generations.

    The large, juicy, delicious Portuguese sardines have been the main crop in this region for centuries. BELA lays claim to be the best canned sardine there is:

  • They’re the only Portuguese sardines packed within 8 hours of catch, for the finest flavor.
  • The fish are carefully washed and cleaned by hand and then cooked—one of the few brands of sardines that are cooked prior to canning.
  • In fact, they’re twice-cooked, which increases the proteins. One low-calorie serving delivers 11g of protein, omega-3s, vitamin D and calcium.
  • Full, premium fillets are packed fresh in organic extra virgin olive oil and organic sauces.
  • Sustainably wild-caught in nets, certified kosher (OU), gluten free and certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
  •  
    And, you get to choose your flavorings, except in the spring water option. Otherwise, the sardines nestle in seasoned organic olive oil:

  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Olive Oil.
  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Lemon Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Tomato Sauce.
  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Spring Water.
  •  
     
    HOW WE ENJOY BELA SARDINES

    You can eat them at every meal of the day.

  • Breakfast
    _Eggs Benedict à la Portugal.
    _On buttered toast or avocado toast.
  • Lunch
  • _On a grilled vegetable sandwich, with optional mozzarella.
    _A sardine Cobb salad, in addition to, or replacing, the chicken.
    _A Niçoise salad, in addition to or replacing the tuna; spinach salad with hard-boiled egg.
    _Chirashi-style, on a bed of sushi rice or regular rice, with an assortment of vegetables (raw, cooked or pickled, sliced radishes, seaweed or what you feel like. Photo #7, below, adds an egg for a super-protein bowl.

  • Lunch
    _Place the fillets on top of the salad, or the salad on top of the fillets—for example, under a crown of arugula, mesclun or watercress.
  • _On pizza: Who needs anchovies?

  • Tapas
    _With a glass of wine at brunch or cocktails (see photos #5 and #6).
    _We top Finn Crisp flatbread with sardines and pickled onions.
  • Happy Hour
    _Place pieces on toothpicks and serve with beer and wine.
  • Hors d’Oeuvre
    _Add a piece to a cucumber slice, cracker or toast point.
  • Dinner
    _First course: on an individual crudité plate, like a Greek mezze plate, along with pita, olives and optionally, hummus or babaganoush.
    _Salad: Toss pieces with a green salad, or create a sophisticated plating with endive and/or radicchio.
    _Main course: on pasta, with good olive oil as the sauce (add olives, scallions, parsley—anything else you like—and top with toasted breadcrumbs).
  •  
    A can of sardines is also a grab-and-go protein boost for backpacking and other energy-sapping pursuits.

     

    SARDINES HISTORY

    Sardines are small, oily fish within the herring family of Clupeidae, ray-finned fishes, important, nutrient-rich food fishes comprising, among others, herrings, sardines, shads and whitebait.

    They are also important for fish oil and fish meal—and as food for larger marine denizens.

    Sardines are found around the globe today, although all sardines originally came from somewhere in Europe.

    The name “sardine” first appears in English in the early 15th century. Some historians say it may be named for the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.

    There are four genera of sardines, the two most important of which are:

  • Sardina, the European pilchard, Sardina pilchardus Walbaum, the only species in the genus.
  • Sardinops, with four species including the Californian, Japanese, South American and Southern African sardines.
  •  
    They are commonly found canned, tightly packed in—leading to their metaphorical use to describe a space where people or objects are crowded together.

    Canned sardines were a staple of millions of soldiers fighting both world wars. They sustained thousands of workers—the fishermen and packers of Cannery Row in Monterey, California, during the worst years of the Depression [source]. Similarly, they provided important fish protein to ravaged parts of Europe.

    Canning is a relatively recent innovation.

    In 1795, Nicolas Appert, a Parisian chef and confectioner, began to experiment with conserving foods, without altering their flavor or texture. He ultimately developed a process using a glass jar, similar to boiling the contents in a Mason jar.

    In 1810, British inventor and merchant Peter Durand patented his own method, using a tin can [source]. So, canned sardines have been available to export for a bit more than 200 years—and they very high quality and expensive: “gourmet” fare.

    But with the Industrial Revolution (from the mid-18th to the mid-19th centuries) things began to change. Fishing grounds became polluted, and some business practices—like labeling sprats as sardines—transpired to create those less-than-pleasing cans of sardines.

    Good news: The Portuguese Algarve has no industry, and the ocean waters are clean. That’s another reason BELA sardines taste so good.

    Here’s more on the history of sardines.

    WHERE TO GET BELA SARDINES

    Check our local markets, or head online to:

  • Amazon
  • Food 52
  •  

    Sardines On Wilted Greens

    Sardine Chirashi

    Spaghetti & Sardines

    [7] Sardines top a green salad (photo Emily Chang | THE NIBBLE). [8] Sardines in tomato sauce, chirashi style, from Kitchen Gidget. [9] Spaghetti and sardines (photo courtesy Taste Australia).

     
    FRESH SARDINES: IN STORES NOW!

    The Portuguese sardine season runs from May through October (sardines from other waters have their own seasons).

    In season fresh sardines even more wonderful, grilled, pickled or smoked. Grilled sardines fresh sardines with potatoes, bread and a salad are a popular summer meal in Portugal—and will be a revelation to you if you keep an eye out for them.

    Sushi lovers: head to the sushi bar! Raw sardine nigiri is a treat!

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Jeff’s Famous Jerky

    We’ve had Top Pick jerkys before, but they are few and far between. Even small-batch artisan brands can be too tough for us, and/or leave remnants of gristle.

    Not so with Jeff’s Famous Jerky. Each variety we tried was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with exquisite flavor. When you can say jerky has exquisite flavor, you know you’ve hit the motherlode.

    Jeff’s Famous Jerkey, of Mission Viejo, California deserves to be famous, especially for its eye-opening bacon jerky. Bacon or beef, the meats are marinated in deep, layered marinades.

    Jeff’s produces more than a dozen flavors (below).

    The beef jerky has lower sodium than most brands, with no added MSG or nitrates. The bacon jerky has less sodium than pan-fried bacon.

    The only caveat with jerky in general is that it’s high in sodium (don’t buy it for anyone on a salt-restricted diet).

    But it’s almost fat free, and it’s solid protein: One ounce has about 23% of one’s daily value of protein. Before we continue, check out:

    TRENDS IN JERKY

    And America wants more of this high protein, low-fat, grab-and-go snack that’s naturally gluten-free*.

    America’s consumption of meat snacks has increased by 18% over the past five years, according to recent data from The NPD Group, a market research company.

    House-made jerky can be found more and more on the menus of fine casual restaurants.

  • At Pakpao Thai in Dallas, the Salty Thai Jerky is one of the top-selling shareable starters, paired with a crisp lager or pilsner. The Massaman Curry jerky pairs well with wheat beers.
  • The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, makes a jerky plate which includes smoked andouille jerky, pork curry jerky, black pepper beef jerky, dehydrated maple syrup and sriracha chips.
  • At Chapter One restaurant in New York City, house-made jerky is used to garnish for duck wings and Bloody Bull cocktails (a Bloody Mary with added beef broth).
  •    

    Jeff's Famous Bacon Jerky

    Jeff's Famous Maple Bacon Jerky

    [1] Oh so delicious: Jeff’s Maple Brown Sugar Jerky. [2] Hot and sweet: Jeff’s Honey & Jalapeño Jerky. (all photos courtesy Jeff’s Famous Jerky).

     
    Jeff’s Famous Jerky is so tender and tasty, you can bring it to the dinner table and pair it with fine foods.

  • We really enjoy it with oysters on the half shell, and with ceviche or pan-fried scallops.
  • You can lie it across or at the side of a protein, crumble it on top as a garnish, or mix it into other dishes like vegetables and pasta.
  • Consider Spaghetti Carbonara (which has bacon in the recipe), Fettuccine Alfredo (bacon is a delicious addition to the cream sauce), or pasta simply tossed with olive oil, bacon jerky and shaved Parmesan cheese.
  • With beer or a hearty red wine, it’s a natural.
  •  

    Jeff's Famous Beef Jerky

    Jeff's Famous Beef Jerky

    Jeff's Famous Jerky Maple Bacon

    [3] Jeff’s beef jerky. [4] and [5] Packages of Jeff’s Jerky.

     

    JEFF’S FAMOUS JERKY VARIETIES

    Jeff’s makes so many flavors of delicious, tender jerky that you won’t know where to start. (We suggest a build-your-own mixed box.)

    The flavors are variously spicy, sweet, hot, and combinations thereof. More importantly, they are clean, clear and natural, beautifully layered to imbue the meat with complex flavors.

    All are hormone-free, without added MSG or preservatives, made from American meats.

    Bacon Jerky Varieties

  • Honey Brown Sugar
  • Honey Jalapeño
  • Maple Brown Sugar
  • Sweet Cinnamon Roll
  •  
    Beef Jerky Varieties

  • Black Pepper Sea Salt
  • Cajun Style
  • Cranberry Jalapeño
  • Habanero Heatwave
  • Jalapeno Carne Asada
  • Korean Barbecue
  • Orange-A-Peel
  • Old Fashioned Original
  • Pacific Red Hot
  • Sriracha Ghost Pepper
  • Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ
  • Sweet Teriyaki
  •  
    GET YOURS NOW!

    Single-flavor packages are $6.99 at JeffsFamousJerky.com. The beef packages contain 3 ounces of jerky; the bacon packages have 2 ounces.

    Build-your-own variety packs offer a 20% savings; and there are gift boxes with personalized notes.

    For Easter treats, tie a ribbon through the punch hole on top of the bag, and maybe add some bunny stickers.

     
    SOME JERKY HISTORY

    The word jerky comes from the Quechua language of the Incas, who called their dried meat “charqui.” But they were hardly the first people to make it.

    Neither were Homo sapiens, we can deduce. Homo erectus emerged 1.5 million years ago, and evidence found five years ago in a South African cave suggests Homo erectus that built campfires.

    The remains of animal bones and plant ash could be dated to a million years ago. [source]

    By the time Homo sapiens emerged, 195,000 years ago, man had been enjoying barbecue, and by extension jerky, for some time.

    Drying food is one of the first three food preservation techniques, along with salting and, in northern climes, packing with snow in ice caves or cellars.

    Meat dried over a smoky fire is protected from egg-laying insects and multiplying bacteria (they need moisture to live). Cutting it into thin strips makes it easier to chew.

    All the fat is trimmed from the meat because fat doesn’t dry. The dried meat could (and can) then be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

    While the prehistoric method of drying the meat was used by other ancient peoples, it was not known in Europe.

    The first visitors to the New World found Native Americans making jerky† from the meat of any animal they hunted (that which wasn’t consumed immediately).

    In addition to helping early colonists stave off starvation, later pioneers who headed west quickly learned to make jerky. It was easy to transport, and was an important, high-protein addition to their diet.

    The meat for jerky could be anything from buffalo to whale. Today jerky can be found in proteins as common as turkey, tuna and salmon, to exotics such as alligator and ostrich.

    Today’s jerky eaters have the luxury of enjoying it as a snack rather than a necessity. We also have the pleasure of using tender cuts of meat marinated in a variety of spices, salt and/or sugar—seasonings that were not available to most ancients jerky-makers.

    Modern jerky is dried in low-heat smokers, as opposed to the ancient technique of hanging strips of meat racks to dry in the hot sun. (The campfire could hold only so much.)

    If your only experience with jerky has been dry and tasteless jerky, you deserve some of the good stuff.
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    *Some brands or flavors within brands may use soy sauce or other glutinous ingredient in the marinade.

    †The pemmican you may have read about in tales of early America was dried meat mixed with dried berries and rendered animal fat. It was invented by Native Americans and used extensively by immigrants in the fur trade. Many years later, it served as a high-calorie food for Arctic and Antarctic explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen.

      

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