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Nectar Of The Gods: Natalie’s Guava Lemonade

In Greek mythology, the gods on Mount Olympus drank mead, a fermented combination of honey and water.

It was called “nectar of the gods” and was also consumed by the Greeks down on Earth, who made it for themselves. Along with beer, mead is one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages.

But we’ve discovered our own nectar of the gods, in the form of Natalie’s Guava Lemonade. It’s our Top Pick Of The Week.

Why of all things, pick the Guava Lemonade from Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company?

At a recent specialty food trade show featuring thousands of products (of which we tasted hundreds), the luscious, fresh flavors of Natalie’s Guava Lemonade were invigorating, restorative, exquisite, nay, divine.

We didn’t know until the next day that Natalie’s Guava Lemonade had won the gold statue for Best New Beverage in the Specialty Food Association’s 2022 Sofi Awards, triumphing over scores of entrants in the competitive beverage category.
 
 
WHAT’S IN IT?

Natalie’s Guava Lemonade is minimally processed and contains just four ingredients: fresh lemons, guava purée, pure cane sugar, and water. There are no preservatives and no artificial ingredients.

You can drink it straight (you’ll want more! more! more!) or use it as a cocktail or mocktail base.

Natalie’s has quite a few recipes on its website, that turn its Guava Lemonade into even more beverages, frozen snacks, and desserts.

Below, we include one of our own “specials,” the Guava Arnold Palmer. Recipe #2, Guava Lemonade Sorbet, and recipe #3, Guava “Bellini,” are from Natalie’s collection.

If you want to plan celebrations: June 10th is National Iced Tea Day, August 20th is National Lemonade Day, and for recipe #1, September 10th is Arnold Palmer’s birthday.

> The history of lemonade.

> The history of the Arnold Palmer.
 
 
RECIPE #1: GUAVA ARNOLD PALMER

Some people will use sweet iced tea (or regular sweetened ice tea) for this recipe. We prefer that the sweetness come only from the lemonade.

If you avoid sugar, you can make sugar-free lemonade. Here’s a recipe for homemade lemonade, with your sweetener of choice.

We also make Sparkling Guava Lemonade, simply by topping off one-fourth of the glass with club soda.
 
Ingredients

  • Iced tea (unsweetened or sweetened, to taste)
  • Natalie’s Guava Lemonade
  • Garnish: lemon wheel, mint sprig, or Tajín rim (photo #4)
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE equal amounts of iced tea and Natalie’s Guava Lemonade.

    2. FILL a glass with ice, if you prefer. Add the beverage mixture and garnish as desired.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: GUAVA LEMONADE SORBET

    See photo #5. You can also make a sorbet cocktail by scooping the sorbet into a glass of prosecco or other sparkling wine.

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups Natalie’s Guava Lemonade, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Garnish: fresh mint, edible flowers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE 1 cup of Guava Lemonade and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan. Stir to combine.

    2. BRING the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

    3. REMOVE from the heat, and stir in the second cup of guava lemonade and lemon zest. Pour into a small loaf pan and place in the freezer overnight.

    4. SCOOP and garnish as desired.
     
     
    RECIPE #3: GUAVA LEMONADE “BELLINI”

    This recipe is an homage to the Bellini, which is made with white peach purée and Prosecco (here’s the original recipe and history).

    Instead of peach purée Natalie’s substitutes guava purée and its Guava Lemonade. For garnish, you can notch a piece of frozen guava on the rim of the glass.

    Ingredients For 4 Drinks

  • ¼ cup frozen guava*
  • ¼ cup Natalie’s Guava Lemonade
  • Prosecco
  • Garnish: guava chunks, lemon curls, wedges, or wheels
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the frozen guava and Guava Lemonade and blend until smooth.

    2. DIVIDE the mixture among 4 Champagne glasses, add top with prosecco.

    3. GARNISH as desired.

     

    Guava Lemonade Cocktail
    [1] Natalie’s Guava Lemonade with a spicy Tajin rim (photos #1, #2, and #5 © Orchard Island Juice).

    Natalie's Guava Lemonade Recipe
    [2] Mix Natalie’s Guava Lemonade into a green smoothie. Here’s the recipe.

    Guava Arnold Palmer Recipe
    [3] Guava Arnold Palmer. It couldn’t be easier to make, although we have provided the recipe (photo © Torani).

    Tajin Seasoning
    [4] Tajín cayenne, lime, and salt seasoning makes a delicious rim to complement Guava Lemonade or any lemonade. Here’s more about Tajín (photo © Tajin).


    [5] Guava lemonade sorbet, recipe #2.

    Guava Fruit
    [6] Guavas. Some varieties have white flesh (photo © Margo Schmiederer | Pexels).

     
    ________________

    *You can purchase frozen guava, or peel, dice, and freeze fresh guava.

     
     

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    Spare Ribs Vs. Baby Back Ribs (It’s National Barbecued Spare Ribs Day)

    Happy Independence Day! For whatever reason, July 4th is National Barbecued Spareribs Day (we’re partial to the alternate, more elegant, spelling, spare ribs).

    What’s the difference between spare ribs and baby back ribs? Not a whole lot: They’re just two different pieces of the same slab of meat.

    The main difference is size. The farther down the rib cage you go, the meatier the ribs become.
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RIBS

  • Spare ribs (left side of photo #3) are cut from the bottom of the rib cage, the belly side below the back ribs, which extend about 6″ down from the spine. They are longer and flatter than baby back ribs. Compared to baby back ribs, spare ribs have more meat between the bones and less meat on top of them; but overall, they are meatier than other types of ribs. The meat is more marbled, and the greater proportion of fat makes them more tender than baby back ribs. In addition to the alternate spelling spareribs, they are also called side ribs.
  • Boneless spare ribs are not deboned spare ribs. Rather, they’re made from a boneless pork butt, the shoulder of the pig. The pork is cut into thick slices, roasted, and then cut into long thin lengths to resemble boneless spare ribs.
  • St. Louis-style ribs, also known as St. Louis cut ribs, start off as spare ribs. But they’re trimmed down to a rectangular shape that’s more uniform and easier to eat. Most ribs called spare ribs are actually St. Louis-cut. But for the purpose of this article, we’re calling them spare ribs, a better-known term in much of the country. The National Pork Board says that St. Louis-style ribs are a squared cut. Square or rectangular, they are straight and flat and work best for recipes that require browning in a frying pan.
  • Kansas City-style ribs. While St. Louis-style ribs have had the sternum bone, cartilage, and rib tips removed for a uniform size, Kansas City-style ribs are trimmed even more closely, with the cartilage left in place.
  • Baby back ribs (right side of photo #3) are cut from the top of the rib cage, near the backbone. They are curved, compared to the straighter spare ribs. They’re called “baby” because they’re shorter than spare ribs, not because they come from baby pigs.
  • Country style ribs are cut from where the loin and shoulder meet. They’re a combination of higher fat and lean meat and are sold as slabs or individual servings. They’re perfect for those who want to use a knife and fork to eat their ribs and spare themselves the messy fingers, instead of eating ribs off the bone.
  • Riblets are made by cutting a rack of ribs into 2- to 4-inch pieces.
  • Rib tips are the lower portion of spare ribs that remain after cutting St. Louis style ribs.
  •  
    Ribs are prepared with any number of rubs and sauces, and we’ve never had any that weren’t delicious.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF THE PIG

    Fossils indicate that wild pig-like animals roamed the forests and swamps of Europe and Asia some 40 million years ago.

    By 4900 B.C.E., pigs had been domesticated in China. They were being raised in Europe by 1500 B.C.E. Easy to raise, they produced meat and its by-products in a short amount of time.
     
    Pigs Come To America

    On the insistence of Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus took eight pigs on his voyage to Cuba in 1493.

    However, Hernando de Soto brought the first pigs to the American continent—13 of them, which landed in Tampa Bay, Florida in 1539.

    Three years later, at the time of his death, his herd had grown to 700 head, not including:

  • The pigs his troops had consumed.
  • The ones that ran away (they became the ancestors of today’s feral pigs).
  • Those given to Native Americans to keep the peace (the local Tocobaga tribe had become fond of the taste of pork and raided de Soto’s camps for it).
  •  
    Pig production spread throughout the Eastern U.S. and beyond. Hernando Cortez introduced hogs to New Mexico in 1600.
     
    But while pigs were quick to fatten, they were quick to destroy.

  • On the northern edge of Manhattan island, a long, solid wall was constructed to control roaming herds of pigs. This wall conferred what would later become a world-famous name: Wall Street.
  • Semi-wild pigs conducted such rampages in the grain fields of colonial New York that a law decreed that every owned pig 14 inches or higher had to have a ring in its nose, to discourage rooting up crops, gardens, and lawns [source].
  •  
    Some readers may exclaim: a pig of 14 inches in height? A little more than a foot high?

    That’s right. The first pigs were the size of large cats or small dogs.

    After centuries of breeding for higher yields, today’s domestic pig has an overall height of 20”-38” and a body length of 35″-71”. It weighs between 250-700 pounds. On factory farms, pigs attain slaughter weight (the lower end of the spectrum) by the time they’re 6 months old.

    In addition to pork and lard, pigs contribute leather, gelatin, glue, fertilizer, hair bristles for brushes, and organs like heart valves.

    If not harvested earlier, pigs have a lifespan of 6-10 years on a farm, and 15-20 years if kept as a pet. Naturally intelligent and social, Domestic pigs are among the smartest of all domesticated animals—often credited as smarter than dogs [source].
     
     
    PIG TRIVIA

  • Pigs were the first animals to be domesticated.
  • Pigs live on every continent except Antarctica.
  • ork is the most-consumed animal protein worldwide. Pork comprises 40% of all meat consumed.
  • The Chinese are the largest consumers of pork, at 90 pounds per capita annually.
  • Pigs are omnivores meaning, enjoying both plant and animal foods.
  • Domesticated pigs eat barley, corn, hay, oats, soybean meal, vegetables, and wheat.
  • The phrase to “sweat like a pig” is fallacious. Pigs do not have sweat glands, so they are unable to sweat. Instead, to cool themselves, pigs wallowing in mud or water.
  • Pigs make more than 20 different sounds, via oinking, grunting, and squealing. Pig squeals can get as loud as 115 dB, or almost as loud as the average rock concert (120 dB).
  • National Pig Day is March 1st.
     
     
    > Check out the different cuts of pork.

  •  

    Honey Mustard Glazed Spare Ribs For National Spare Ribs Day
    [1] Mustard-glazed spare ribs (photo © Lucero Olive Oil).

    Smoked Baby Back Ribs
    [2] Smoked baby back ribs. Here’s the recipe (photo © Omaha Joe’s).

    Spare Ribs For National Spare Ribs Day
    [3] A rack of spare ribs on the left, baby back ribs on the right(photo © Weber).

    Blackberry-Glazed Spare Ribs For National Spare Ribs Month
    [4] Fruit glazes are popular, from apricot to tropical fruits like mango and pineapple. These are blackberry-glazed spare ribs, made with blackberry fruit spread (photo © Recipe Tin Eats).

    Baby Back Ribs With Corn On The Cob
    [5] There are two baby back ribs in each of the two pieces on the plate (photo © National Pork Board).

    Country-style ribs are eaten with a knife and fork.
    [6] Country-style ribs. Here’s the recipe (photo © Cook’s Country).

    Pork Chart Showing Spare Ribs For National Spare Ribs Day
    [7] The locations of the different cut of ribs (image © Rupari Food Services).

     

     
     

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    Wine Cooler Vs. Sangria: The Difference & A July 4th Recipe

    July 4th Wine Cooler Recipe
    [1] This “July 4th” wine cooler takes the extra step of cutting apple slices into stars. You can serve the same recipe all summer long with regular apple slices (photo © Daniele Aquino | Real Food Mostly Plants).

    Bottle of Boggle Chardonnay From California
    [2] Find a good, affordable Chardonnay (photo © Boggle Winery).

    Fresh Rambutan Fruit
    [3] Can’t find rambutan? Substitute lychee (photo © Melissa’s Produce).

    Bartles & Jaymes Wine Cooler Cans
    [4] Bartles & James was the #1 wine cooler in the 1980s. It’s one of the ‘80s-era coolers that’s still in business (photo © Bartles & Jaymes).

    St. Mayhem Wine Cooler
    [5] St. Mayhem is one of the 21st century “craft” wine coolers (photo © St. Mayhem).

    The Line Of Hoxie Wine Spritzers
    [6] Hoxie is another entrant into the revitalized wine cooler/spritzer category (photo © Hoxie Spritzer).

     

    A wine cooler is an alcoholic beverage made from wine and fruit or fruit juice, often with a carbonated beverage and some sweetener.

    But when you look at the ingredients in the recipe below, what’s the difference between a wine cooler and sangria?

    We have the answer below, along with the history of the wine cooler.

    This refreshing cooler recipe below is by Melissa’s Executive Chef Tom Fraker. It’s filled with juicy fruits.

    The reason it’s called a July 4th cooler is the star-cut apples that serve as playful decor, while also providing sweet apple juice and a nice crunch when you eat the wine-soaked fruit after finishing the drink.

    And although the rambutan in the recipe isn’t a common fruit to add to a cooler, you will be surprised at how nicely the floral accents blend with the other fruit flavors.
     
     
    RECIPE: JULY 4TH COOLER
     
    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Chardonnay or other dry white wine
  • 1/8 cup/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 3/4 pound strawberries, sliced
  • 1 container (8 ounces) rambutan† peeled; seeds removed; sliced
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 Delicious apple or other red variety
  • 1/2 liter sparkling mineral water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the wine, lime juice, and agave in a large pitcher; stir to combine.

    2. ADD the strawberries, rambutan, and blueberries to the pitcher.

    3. SLICE the apple crosswise and, using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut stars from the apple slices. No star-shaped cutter? Cut them freehand. Add the apple stars to the pitcher.

    4. PLACE the pitcher into the refrigerator and chill overnight.

    5. TO SERVE, stir the sparkling water into the pitcher. Add ice to drinking glasses. Pour in the cooler and top with some of the fruit.

     
     
    WINE COOLER HISTORY

    A wine cooler is a modern reinvention of sangria, a drink that has been made in Spain for more than 1,000 years (here’s the history of sangria).

    Sangria is a cold drink made with wine, fruit, a sparkling element† like club soda, ginger ale, or sparkling wine, and sometimes, a sweetener and/or a liqueur or spirit like brandy.

    Leave out the spirit, and you have a wine cooler. (A wine spritzer is simply wine and carbonated water.)

    The original wine cooler brand was California Cooler, a drink made by Michael Crete, who originally mixed together white wine with fruit juice, and club soda and brought it to the beach to share with his friends. Everyone loved it.

    At the time, Crete was working in wine and beer sales, and he saw an opportunity. In 1981 he teamed up with a friend and started a company to make what they called California Wine Cooler. It was sold in a 12-ounce green glass bottle with foil around the neck, looking like a bottle of Beck’s beer.

    While there was a long history of wine mixed with juice—not just in sangria but in wine spritzers (which originated in early-19th-century Venice—here’s the history of wine spritzers)—California Cooler was the first bottled, ready-to-drink version.
     
     
    The Cooler Category Grows, Then Fades

    It took off, selling 10 million cases in 1984. In 1985, Crete and his partner sold the company to Brown-Forman. By that time, the category had exploded: There were now more than 100 different coolers across America [source].

    In that same year, wine giant Ernest & Julio Gallo launched the Bartles & Jaymes brand, which soon took over the top spot in the category from California Cooler.

    Other big boys came to play. Seagram’s, which took over the #2 spot, hired Bruce Willis for its commercials. Sun Country Wine Coolers, also owned by Gallo, hired celebrities like Ringo Starr, Grace Jones, and Charo.

    But packaged wine coolers turned out to be a fad. The market peaked just two years later, in 1987. Sales fell by double-digit percentages.

    Brands big and small discontinued their lines; California Cooler bit the dust in the early 1990s (Bartles & Jaymes still exists).

    In 1991, a steep increase in federal excise taxes on wine made wine coolers a losing proposition.

    Seagram’s and others discontinued their wine coolers and launched cheaper malt liquor-based beverages, in a new category that soon saw brands like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Seagrams Escapes, Smirnoff Ice, and Zima.
     
     
    The New Era

    But now, some 30 years later, a new generation of wine coolers is popping up. Calling themselves spritzers or wine cocktails and positioning themselves as artisan or craft drinks are brands like Blossom Brothers, Hoxie, Pampelonne, and St. Mayhem.

    They favor more modern flavors that are bittersweet, botanical, herbal, or spicy. If the flavors are fruit, they bypass the sugary fruity cooler flavors of yore in favor of two-flavor notes like white peach and jasmine flower or pink grapefruit and honeycomb (Blossom Brothers), grapefruit elderflower, and lemon ginger rosé (Hoxie) [source].

    Pamplonne, which looks like a French brand in its packaging and flavors, and is made with French wine, was started by two Americans and is produced in Modesto, California.

    The “new coolers” are largely in 8.4-fluid-ounce cans, not bottles.

    Things have come full circle.
     
     
    ______________

    *In the beginning, sangria wasn’t sparkling. Carbonation wasn’t invented until 1767, and the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, which was apparently invented by Benedictine monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne, in the South of France, in 1531 [source].

    †Fresh rambutan is available from Melissa’s. If you don’t have rambutan (fresh or canned) you can substitute equal amounts of lychees, fresh or canned. Lychees are sweeter and have a more floral bouquet, rambutan is fleshier. They are both members of the soapberry botanical family (Sapindaceae), along with the longan fruit and the horse chestnut. Here are more of the differences between lychee and rambutan. Can’t find either? Substitute peaches or nectarines.

     

     
     

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    July 4th Potato Salad Recipe: Red, White & Blue…& Delicious!

    What’s a July 4th celebration without potato salad? While we previously published a July 4th potato salad recipe, this one is distinctly different. It uses apples for the white stars.

    The apple stars are made with Envy apples (photo #3), a newer breed that was created to avoid beginning to brown (oxidize) for up to 10 hours, making it a variety to seek out for recipes.

    As a regular eating apple (the trade term is “hand fruit,” the flavor is sweet and the texture is crisp, with a satisfying crunch.

    Along with an elegant vinaigrette, the recipe is not your mother’s white-potatoes-with-mayo dish.

    Check out the potato salad (photo #1), and also our first Red, White & Blue Potato Salad recipe made with bacon and a protein-packed walnut crunch (photo #2).

    If you need more recipes for July 4th weekend, here are more than 60 red, white, and blue recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks.

    > The history of potatoes.

    > The different types of potatoes.
     
     
    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE POTATO SALAD #2
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, halved
  • 1 pound small purple potatoes, halved
     
    For The Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup Champagne vinegar (substitute white wine vinegar)*
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 20 turns of fresh cracked pepper
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • 2 Envy apples, large diced (or substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BOIL the red and purple potatoes separately in salted water (should taste like the ocean) until tender. Drain.

    2. WHISK together all ingredients for the vinaigrette and then toss with the warm potatoes.

    3. FOLD in the diced apples and parsley and serve.
     
     
    ________________

    *The different types of vinegar.

     

    July 4th Potato Salad Recipe
    [1] A red, white and blue potato salad with crunchy white stars made from non-browning Envy apples (photos #1 and #3 © Envy Apple).

    July 4th Potato Salad Recipe
    [2] Another red, white and blue potato salad with bacon, walnuts, and bell peppers. Here’s the recipe (photo © U.S. Potato Board | Potatoes USA).

    Envy Apples On A Heart-Shaped Board
    [3] The Envy apple, a sweet and crispy apple that avoids browning for 10 hours or more. Here’s more about them.

     

     
     

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    FOOD FUN: Freeze Grapes To Use As Ice Cubes

    White Wine With Frozen Grapes Instead Of Ice Cubes
    [1] Frozen grapes keep chilled drinks (photo © Foods & Wines From Spain).

    Mixed Colors Of Grapes
    [2] A medley of grape colors looks best (photo © Melissa’s Produce).

     

    Here’s a way to keep cool your glass of white wine or other cold drinks that are served without ice: Use frozen grapes as ice cubes!

    They’re decorative, and when the drink is finished, tasty grapes that have taken on a hint of the drink are left to enjoy.

    In addition to white wine, rosé, sparkling wine, use frozen grapes to chill:

  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Juice
  •  
    You can also use them in drinks that typically have ice:

  • Carbonated beverages
  • Cocktails and mocktails
  • Mineral water
  •  
    You can mix and max types of grapes, but make them seedless for more elegant consumption (i.e., no need to dispose of the pits).

    How do you eat the grapes at the bottom of the glass?

  • Long toothpicks
  • Iced tea spoons
  • Freestyle
  •  

     
     

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