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Divine Bovine Gourmet Beef Jerky, Bacon, Pork & Turkey Jerky

Divine Bovine is everything we look for in a jerky: tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef with the added bonus of no nitrates, no preservatives, and no MSG. “Holy Cow It’s Terrific,” says the bag. We agree, and could not stop eating piece after piece until the aforementioned bag was empty.

This is not hard jerky; it does not give your jaws a workout. There is no smoke flavor, just sweet beefiness from brown sugar, pineapple juice and seasonings. It’s our kind of beef snack.

There are equally-yummy bacon, pork, and turkey jerkies.

So we’re naming Divine Bovine and friends our Top Pick Of The Week. Who are the “friends?”
 
 
A DIVINE JERKY LINEUP

Oh, how to choose from this embarrassment of jerky riches:

  • Divine Bovine Beef Jerky: Original, Tangy Teriyaki, Hot & Tangy Teriyaki, Spicy Jalapeño. Made from Grade A steer brisket. Once more: “Holy Cow It’s Terrific.”
  • Divine Swine Bacon Jerky: Spicy Sriracha, Bangin’ BBQ, Smoked Applewood. Made from premium quality uncured bacon. “It’s Hog Heavenly.”
  • Divine Swine Pork Jerky: Bangin’ BBQ, Blazin’ BBQ. Made from pork shoulder. “It’s [Also] Hog Heavenly.”
  • Divine Bovine Turkey Jerky: Original, Tangy Teriyaki, Hot & Tangy Teriyaki, Spicy Jalapeño. Made from turkey breast. “It’s Gobbelicious.”
  •  
     
    DIVINE BOVINE: THE BEGINNING

    As the story goes, in a small village in southern Italy, there lived a butcher who loved to make jerky. He was known to his family and friends as Pops.

    Pops experimented with different cuts of meats and seasonings and decided that the sweetest and most tender cut for beef jerky was brisket of beef.

    Although brisket had never been used for jerky before, it created a unique blend of flavor and tenderness. Pops’ new jerky was a hit!

    The tradition continues with Pops’ grandson, who lives in California. Thanks, buddy, for bringing such a divine jerky to the U.S.
     
     
    STOCKING STUFFERS & MORE

    A package of Divine Bovine is just the stocking stuffer we’d like.

    We also like the idea of Divine Turkey as Thanksgiving party favors.

    You can punch a hole in the top of the bag, thread a ribbon through, and tie a bow.
     
     
    GET YOUR DIVINE BOVINE

    Head to DivineBovineJerky.com.
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF JERKY
     
    ________________

    *“Except for that [MSG],” announces that bag, “which naturally occurs in soy sauce.”

     


    [1] Tangy Teriyaki turkey breast jerky (all photos © Divine Bovine).


    [2] Spicy Jalapeño Beef Jerky.


    [3] Great stocking stuffers!


    [4] How about turkey jerky for Thanksgiving dinner favors?

     

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    Pasta With Figs Recipe For National Fig Week


    [1] Spaghetti with fig soffrito. The recipe is below (photo © California Figs).


    [2] Dried Black Mission figs (photos #2 and #4 © Good Eggs).


    [3] Dried Golden figs.


    [4] Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Parmesan is the generic form, of more modest quality (photo © Murray’s Cheese).


    [5] Garnish with a pinch of crushed red chile flakes (photo © Silk Road Spices).

     

    National Fig Week is a good time to unveil an unusual-yet-delicious pasta dish: Pasta With Fig Sofrito & Parmesan, made with dried California figs. What’s sofrito, you may ask? It’s a staple in Mediterranean, Latin American, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese cooking.

    It’s different, but analogous to, the French mirepoix, which is blend of onion, carrots, and celery.

    Sofrito, also called sofregit (Catalan), soffritto (Italian) and refogado (Brazilian Portuguese) is a basic preparation of aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sautéed or braised in cooking oil.

    These typically include garlic, onion, bell pepper and tomato (some countries, such as Puerto Rico, don’t use tomatoes).

    This recipe, from California Figs, is poetically named: garlic, onion, figs and basil or parsley make up the “sofrito.” And the ingredients are sautéed in butter, not olive oil.

    But the results of both recipes are the same: deliciousness!
     
     
    RECIPE: PASTA WITH CALIFORNIA FIG SOFRITO & PARMESAN

    You can use whatever type of pasta you like. We prefer flat fettuccine to round spaghetti. You can also use shapes (farfalle/bowties, penne, etc.).

    There are two types of dried California figs: Golden and Mission. The former is amber color, the latter is purple-black. You can use either; but for more eye appeal, how about a mixture of both?

    The anchovy fillets add a delightful counterpoint to the figs.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.
     
     
    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti or other pasta
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces California dried figs, chopped or minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 large white onion, minced
  • Optional: 2 anchovy fillets, mashed or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: red chili flakes and extra grated Parmesan
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the water and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender/al dente, about 10 minutes.

    2. MELT 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet. Add the figs, garlic, onion, optional anchovy fillets, fennel seed, and black pepper. Sauté until the onions are lightly cooked, about 3 minutes.

    3. ADD the basil or Italian parsley, briefly stir, and then remove the skillet from the heat. When the pasta is almost cooked…

    4. REMOVE ½ cup of the water from the pot and add it to the skillet with the fig sofrito. Return the skillet to the heat and bring the water to a simmer. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted.

    5. DRAIN the pasta. Do not over drain the pasta; some water should still cling to the noodles. Immediately transfer the pasta to a bowl.

    6. ADD the warm fig sofrito and the grated Parmesan cheese to the bowl. Toss the pasta to coat. Serve immediately. Garnish with red chile flakes and additional grated Parmesan cheese.
     
     
    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PASTA
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF PASTA
     
     
    > MORE RECIPES WITH FIGS

     
     
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    Food Fun: Old Fashioned Sandwich Recipes For National Sandwich Day

    November 3rd is National Sandwich Day. John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, “invented” the first so-named sandwich in 1762; but of course, man had been putting bread together with cheese and other ingredients as soon as they were invented.

    Rabbi Hillel the Elder in the 1st century created what we now call a Hillel sandwich in the first century C.E. He sandwiched two Passover foods, maror (horseradish) and charoset (chopped sweet apples and nuts) between two slices of matzoh. He may even have added sliced lamb. The concoction was called a korech. It would be 17 more centuries before “sandwich” appeared in the vocabulary [source].

    The Earl of Sandwich was simply in the right place at the right time. The time was Georgian-era England, where no person of means ate ingredients slapped between two slices of bread.

    The earl had had the need for “handheld” food to eat while at the card table, so he didn’t have to stop his game in order to eat. He figured that meat between bread would fit the bill. Here’s the history of the sandwich.

    Gambling is also the reason sushi was invented—not to be eaten with chopsticks but to be picked up with the fingers.
     
     
    THE SANDWICH COMES TO AMERICA

    An Englishwoman, Elizabeth Leslie (1787-1858), introduced the sandwich to America in 1940. Her cookbook, “Directions for Cookery,” has a recipe for ham sandwiches as a main dish:

    Cut some thin slices of bread very neatly, having slightly buttered them; and, if your choose, spread on a very little mustard. Have ready some very thin slices of cold boiled ham, and lay one between two slices of bread. You may either roll them up, or lay them flat on the plates. They are used at supper or at luncheon. [source]

    Sandwiches became very popular in the U.S. when bakeries began to sell presliced bread. Sandwiches became an easy, portable meal for school children and workers.

    By the 1920s, says Food Timeline, “recipes proliferated to the point where entire cookbooks were devoted to this topic.”

    Sandwiches were now fare for lunch, tea time, receptions. They could be plain or fancy. Just put a filling between two slices of bread.

    The recipes below are from “Seven Hundred Sandwiches” by Florence A Cowles [Little, Brown:Boston] 1928. Ms. Cowles notes in her introduction: “There is a constant and insistent demand for new ideas in sandwiches, new combinations in fillings and new and attractive architectural plans for construction..” (p. v-vii)

    Here are descriptions of 20 of the 700 sandwiches. Not surprisingly, some sound quite tasty, some sound good enough, and some thanks-but-no-thanks.

    Thanks to Food Timeline for the research.
     
     
    WOULD YOU EAT THESE SANDWICHES?

    YES? NO? MAYBE?
     
    Mrs. Cowles published her cookbook almost 94 years ago. There are a couple of classics here…and also two very weird ones, in our opinion (check out Crust Butter Sandwich and Tomato Soup Sandwich).
     

  • Baked Bean Sandwich [Still Served In New England, But Not Mashed]
    “Baked beans ‘as is’ make an excellent sandwich, if mashed and spread smoothly on buttered bread, white or whole-wheat. Or mayonnaise or boiled dressing may be added to them. Adding chopped olives, onions, celery or sweet pickles results in a quite different but equally palatable sandwich.” (p. 124) (photo #1 at right)

  • Banana Sandwich [Still Enjoyed By Some Today]
    “A banana, just that and nothing else, mashed and spread on bread, makes an appetizing sandwich, particularly if made with dark breads. Use no butter.” (p. 140) (photo #2 at right)

  • Beef Jelly Sandwich [Sliced Beef In Aspic]
    “Cook together two medium-sized beef hearts, four pigs’ feet and one medium beef tongue, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove meat from broth and cut in slices; remove the meat from the pigs’ feet. Arrange in brick pan alternate layers of each, pour over the broth to cover, let cool and keep in ice box. The feet and tongue will make a jelly that will keep the loaf firm. Slices of this make good sandwiches. A little vinegar may be sprinkled over it if a pickled sandwich is preferred. This will keep indefinitely.” (p. 30) (photo #3 at right)

  • Crust Butter Sandwich [A Sandwich Filled With Chopped Bread Crusts]
    “Put the crusts from sandwiches through the food chopper as soon as trimmed. Mix with salad dressing and creamed butter and spread between other slices of bread, thereby avoiding waste. Any desired seasoning may be added.” (p. 109)

  • Cuban Sandwich [When Did Roquefort Become A Cuban Cheese?]
    “Toast thin slices of bread on both sides. Put lettuce leaves and thin slices Roquefort cheese on toast, garnish with chopped nuts. Spread on a layer of cooked salad dressing and cover with another slice of toast. Crusts should be cut from bread before toasting. Eat with knife and fork.” (p. 97)

  • Devildine Sandwich [Early Bizarro Surf & Turf]
    “Remove bones and tails from a medium-sized can of sardines and thin to a paste with lemon juice. Add a small can of deviled ham (not potted ham), one hard-boiled egg, chopped fine, a chopped olive and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Trim slices of white bread, butter, lay on a lettuce leaf and spread with devildine.” (p. 62-63) (photos #4 and #5 at right)

  • Dixieland Sandwich [So Strange It Might Be Good]
    “Put through the food chopper half a pound of roasted peanuts, three slices of fried bacon and one can pimentos. Mix with salad dressing and use on any preferred kind of bread.” (p. 118)

  • Emergency Sandwich [If Only They’d Substituted Mayo For The PB]
    “Put six sweet pickles through the food chopper, also five hard-boiled eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. Cream two tablespoons of peanut butter and one of prepared mustard and add the pickle and eggs. A little paprika or a dash of vinegar may be added to thin to spreading consistency. Good on rye or whole-wheat bread.” (p. 57)

  • Five Course Sandwich [Award: Creative Thinking]
    “Use alternate rounds of white and whole-wheat bread, diminishing in size as in the Russian Club Sandwich. Each round is buttered. The bottom round is of whole wheat and is spread with a mixture of cream cheese and jam; this is the dessert course. The next round (white bread) is the salad course, spread with tomato and water cress with a little mayonnaise. The meat course is a slice of chicken on a round of whole-wheat bread. The fish course is a round of white bread spread with anchovy paste. The little top round of bread is the canape and is spread with caviar and a little hard-boiled egg; or a slice of deviled egg may be used, or hard-boiled egg and pimento.” (p. 189)

  • Honolulu Sandwich [Maybe As A Tea Sandwich]
    “3/4 cup chopped pulled figs, 1 cup crushed pineapple, 1/3 cup sugar, Juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Cook figs and pineapple until smooth, add sugar and lemon juice and cook until thick. Remove from fire, add walnuts and cool. Spread on thin rounds of whole-wheat bread.” (p. 149)

  • Liverice Sandwich [Chopped Liver With Rice]
    “1 cup rice, 1/2 cup chopped cooked liver, 2 tablespoons butter, Parsley, mace, grated lemon rind. Boil the rice in plenty of hot water to which the salt, mace and a dash of grated lemon peel have been added. When tender, drain and add the chopped liver and butter. Pack in a glass jar and spread when cold on thin slices of bread.” (p. 40) (photo #6)

  • Pigs-in-a-Blanket Sandwich [Sounds Good!]
    “Select as many oysters as you wish sandwiches. Cut an equal number of slices of bacon. Chop one green pepper fine. Place each oyster in a slice of bacon, sprinkle with the green pepper, then fold and fasten with a toothpick. Place in moderately hot frying pan. Have a platter in the warming oven and as each piece of bacon is fired a crisp brown, place on platter. Spread slices of bread lightly with mustard or any other mixture you prefer, then place the bacon between, removing toothpicks. Do not salt the oysters, as the bacon is salt enough.” (p. 73-74) (photo #7)

  • Salmon Bite Sandwich [Nice If You Like Canned Salmon]
    “Remove bones from [canned] red salmon and mix with grated horse-radish. Spread on white or rye bread.” (p. 66) (photo #8)

  • Sardolive Sandwich [A Sardine Sandwich With Olives & Hard Boiled Eggs]
    “Mix equal parts of sardines, chopped olives and hard-boiled egg yolks and season highly with lemon juice, salt and paprika.” (p. 63)

  • Substantial Sandwich [A Classic Fried Egg Sandwich With Tomato]
    “Cut tomatoes in medium-thick slices, sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika. Fry eggs until yolks are hard. Put egg and tomato between thin slices of buttered bread. Boiled or scrambled eggs can be used in the same way.” (p. 54) (photo #10)

  • Tiger Eyes [Serve With The Turtle Sandwich, Below]
    “Cut rounds of white bread with a cutter. Butter the bottom round and spread with seasoned cream cheese. Cut a small circle from center of top round. Place on bottom round and in the center hole fit half a stuffed olive, cut crosswise.” (p. 88)

  • Tomato Soup Sandwich [Even The Campbell’s People Wouldn’t Eat This]
    “Spread rye bread with creamed butter and cover with a leaf of lettuce. Spread undiluted tomato soup, canned, on the lettuce, cover with another leaf and then with another slice of bread.” (p. 133) (photo #11)

  • Tree Sandwich [Ghastly: Chocolate & Parsle!]
    “Cut white bread slices in the shape of a pointed pine tree. Spread the tree part with butter into which finely chopped parsley has been thickly mixed. Pour melted sweet chocolate over the trunk part.” (p. 205)

  • Turtle Sandwich [Still A Farovite With Kids]
    “Cut as many thin slices of brown and white bread as you desire sandwiches. Trim off crust and shape into three and one-half inch squares. Butter lightly and spread with any desired filling. Slice small cucumber pickles lengthwise and stick one piece in each corner of the sandwich for the feet of the turtle and a tiny one for the tail. Run a toothpick through a narrow, short piece of bread and stick it in the opposite end from the tail. On the end of the toothpick put a thin slice of a small carrot, cut crosswise. And there’s your turtle.” (p. 200)

  • Tutti Fruitti Sandwich [Good For Dessert]
    “1/4 cup dates, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup dry figs, 1/4 cup walnut meats, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1/2 cup whipped cream, 1/4 cup sugar or more. Put fruits and nuts through food chopper. Mix with orange juice. Mix with whipped cream and sugar. Use between thin buttered slices of bread.” (p. 144-145)

    So…will you make one of these, or return to a good old BLT?

  •  


    [1] A modern baked bean sandwich doesn’t mash the beans. Here’s the recipe (photo © New England Today | Aimee Seavey).


    [2] A mashed banana sandwich doesn’t look as appealing as today’s sliced banana and peanut butter version. Here’s a modern recipe (photo © Life Needs Sweets).


    [3] A beef jelly sandwich is beef in aspect, sliced onto bread instead of onto salad greens. Here’s more about different meat aspics (photo © Vintage Recipes & Cookery).


    [4] We can’t quite imagine mixing a can of sardines with a can of deviled ham… (photo © La Tienda).


    [5] …but we’re willing to try it if someone wants to join us. Here’s more about deviled ham (photo © New England Today | Aimee Seavey).


    [6] This chopped liver sandwich is a big improvement over the Liverice. Hold the rice, add onions and hard-boiled eggs (photo © Katz’s Delicatessen).


    [7] Before the arrival of cocktail franks, “pigs in a blanket” referred to oysters and bacon. Here they are, looking delicious as is. Why would you want to put them in a sandwich with mustard (photo © Aquaculture Association Of Nova Scotia)?


    [8] Make a sandwich with canned salmon. Here’s a recipe (photo © Jenny Can Cook).


    [10] A classic: fried egg sandwich with tomato (photo © Cracker Barrel).


    [11] Would you put the contents of this can onto bread and lettuce (photo Larry Lamsa CC-BY-2.0 License).

     

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    Fig Recipes For National Fig Week


    [1] Brown Turkey figs are available fresh from California (photo © Heather Barnes | Wesual | Unsplash).


    [2] Chocolate-covered figs: Delicious for entertaining and gifting (photo © California Figs).


    [3] A classic appetizer: melon with figs and prosciutto (photo © Good Eggs).


    [4] America’s best-known fresh fig varieties: Brown Turkey, Calimyrna, Kadota and Mission (photo © California Figs).

    Frisee Fig Salad
    [5] Another classic salad with figs: frisée and prosciutto, but you can substitute bacon lardons (photo © Stock Xchange).


    [6] For a cheese course: blue cheese with honey and hazelnuts (photo © The French Farm).


    [7] Appetizer bites: dried fig, jalapeño and fig (photo © California Figs).


    [8] An easy hors d’oeuvre or snack: prosciutto- or -bacon-wrapped figs (photo © Canard).


    [9] Eggplant stuffed with figs and leek. Here’s the recipe (photo © G Free Foodie).


    [10] Lamb chops with roasted figs (photo California Figs | Facebook).

     

    National Fig Week is the first week in November. Dried figs are available year-round, but resh figs from California are available only from mid-May through November. So gather ye figs while ye may!

    One of the simplest desserts, enjoyed since ancient times, is fresh figs with honey. It couldn’t be easier: just decide how many figs you want to serve to each person (we serve three or four, depending on size), and plate them with a drizzle of honey.

    Other decisions: Should you serve just one variety of fig, or three different ones: a black Mission fig, a green Adriatic fig, and a brown turkey fig, for example.

    You can garnish one with chopped hazelnuts, one with pistachios and one with almonds.

    Next question: With or without cheese? Figs, honey and nuts are natural pairings with cheese. Some cheese lovers call it one of the world’s great desserts—and you don’t have to cook a thing!
     
     
    MORE DELICIOUS FIG RECIPES

    Figs are often thought of for sweet recipes: fig scones, tarts, chocolate truffles, and of course, figgy pudding, a popular Christmas pudding.

    Figs, fresh or dried, are delicious in yogurt or in hot or cold breakfast cereals.

    Figgy foods aren’t just for sweet dishes. Figs are often cooked with pork, lamb, and even on pizza. Add them to stuffing; and whenever a recipe calls for prunes, you can substitute figs.

  • Arugula & Fig Salad With Popcorn
  • Brie Torte With Fig Jam
  • Chestnut, Fig & Honey Stuffing
  • Chocolate Covered Figs
  • Dried Chocolate Dipped Figs
  • Fig & Brie Bruschetta
  • Fig & Maple Fizz Cocktail
  • Fig, Goat Cheese & Pancetta Crisps
  • Figgy Blue Cheese Bacon Bites
  • Fig Panna Cotta
  • Grilled Halloumi Cheese With Figs
  • Pasta With Fig Soffrito & Parmesan
  • Pasta With Prosciutto & Goat Cheese-Fig Sauce
  • Pickled Figs
  • Prosciutto & Fig Appetizer Pinwheels
  • Roast Figs, Honey & Chopped Hazelnuts
  • Roast Loin Of Pork With Gingered Figs & Jalapeños
  • Ways To Use Dried Figs
  • Ways To Use Fig Spreads
  • Ways To Use Fresh Figs
  •  
     
    FIG NUTRITION

    Figs are a naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free food. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, along with B6, and K.

    They are also rich in minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

    Figs are high in soluble fiber (which makes them a natural laxative, like prunes).

    A half cup of figs has as much calcium as a half cup of milk.

    Ounce for ounce, figs have more fiber than prunes and more potassium than bananas.

    One medium (2¼ inch) fig contains 37 calories.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF FIGS

    Fossils of common fig (Ficus carica), dating to about 9400 B.C.E. have been found in an early Neolithic village near Jericho, in the West Bank.

    Based on this find, fig cultivation in the Fertile Crescent precedes the domestication of barley, legumes, and wheat, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture*.

    By the time of the Bible, figs had been cultivated for thousands of years (some Biblical scholars believe that figs were actually the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden).

    Figs may have been the first crop* cultivated—perhaps first in Egypt. From there they spread to Crete and around the 9th century B.C.E., to Greece, where they became a staple.

    In the millennia before Europe and the Middle East had access to cane sugar or beet sugar, figs were used, in addition to honey, as sweet snacks and in cakes, puddings, and other desserts.

    Figs were brought from Asia Minor to Greece and Rome, then throughout the Mediterranean, and east to India. Figs spread throughout the Mediterranean.

    The ancient Greeks loved figs so much that they enacted a law forbidding the export of the best quality figs (in the ancient world, at least 29 varieties of figs were cultivated).

    Figs trees can produce two crops a year in warm climates, and became common food. In 160 B.C.E., Cato the Elder wrote of several different varieties that were grown in his area.

    A fun fact for foie gras lovers: The Romans used figs to fatten geese for an early version of foie gras.

    From the 15th century onwards, figs were growing in Northern Europe (although yielding just one crop a year in cool climates).

    The word fig, first found recorded in English in the 13th century, derives from the Old French figue, from the Occitan (Provençal) figa, from the Classical Latin ficus (fig or fig-tree). (Go back far enough and almost every word in the English language derives from Latin or Greek.)
     
     
    Figs In The New World

    Figs arrived in the New World around 1520, with Spanish explorers. When Spanish missions were established in what is now southern California, the Franciscan priests cultivated planted fig trees.

    The missionaries brought a variety of figs from southern Spain to southern California. By the 1760s, they had planted them up and down the California coast.

    The priests at Mission San Diego originally planted a Spanish fig variety in 1769. This dark purple fig, grown on the property of missions, became known as the “Mission” fig.

    In the 1850s, settlers and Gold Rush participants brought other varieties to California: from the East Coast of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Africa.

    California, particularly central California, had an ideal climate for figs. It became America’s primary fig-growing region [source].
     
     
    Figs Today

    Today, Turkey is the world leader in fig production and consumption. The rest of the Top 10 are, in order, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Algeria, Greece, Syria United States, Spain, and Tunisia,

    Nearly all of the figs in the U.S. are grown in California, which has an ideal climate for fig cultivation: 100% of the nation’s dried figs and 98% of the fresh figs.

    The large commercial crops in California comprise six fresh and two dried types.

  • The dried varieties are Golden and Mission figs. The Golden dries to an amber-colored, slightly nutty-flavored fig; and the dark purple Mission fig is the sweetest.
  • The fresh varieties are Brown Turkey (purple with brown highlights), Kadota (green), Mission (purple-black), Sierra (green), and Tiger (green striped).
  •  
    There are more than 7,000 acres dedicated to fig growing in the state.
     
    Learn more about them and find many recipes from the California Fig Commission.
     
     
    FIG TRIVIA

    Thanks to Valley Fig Growers of California for these fun fig facts.
     
     
    Growing Figs

  • The fig is not actually a fruit. It is an inflorescence, a cluster of many inverted flowers and seeds contained inside a bulbous stem. The seeds are technically the ovaries of the fig.
  • There are more than 700 types of fig trees, but only a fraction of them produce the kind of fig that humans consume.
  • numerous in California; but t

  • Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches. The blossom is inside of the fruit! Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little edible seeds that give figs their unique texture.
  • Fresh figs are fully ripened on the tree. Dried figs are partially dried on the tree.
  • The fig tree was a classic symbol of abundance, fertility, and sweetness.
  •  
     
    Cooking With Figs

  • Figs naturally help hold in moisture in baked goods, keeping them fresher.
  • Fig purée can be used to replace fat in baked goods.
  •  
     
    Eating Figs

  • The early Olympic athletes used figs as a training food. Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners, becoming the first Olympic “medal.”
  • In Roman times figs were considered to be restorative. They were believed to increase the strength of young people, to maintain the elderly in better health, and to make them look younger with fewer wrinkles. Source: Pliny the younger (61-113 C.E.).
  • The first commercial product made with figs was Fig Newtons cookies, in 1892.
  •  
     
    ______________

    *Agricultural historians believe the order of cultivation to be figs, wheat, and barley, grapes, olives, sugar, tea, rice, and sesame. Different historians have different orders, and archeological digs regularly reveal new information.

     

     

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    Advent Calendars: Delightful Holiday Gifts That You Need To Buy Now

    We love Advent calendars, both giving them and receiving them. But they’re not a last-minute gift: You need to give it to the recipient before December 1st. That’s why for the past few years, we’ve turned to giving them to our loved ones at Thanksgiving dinner. We would spend hours poring over websites to find the right calendar for each person. This year, Aldi has made it oh-so-easy for us, as you’ll see below.

    The 2021 wine and beer Advent calendars (which are the priciest) have already been released*. Others start rolling out tomorrow, November 3rd, which is National Advent Calendar Day.

    “Rolling out” means that not all calendars will be available on November 3rd, so you may have to come back. However, anyone who shops at one of the 2,100-plus Aldi stores in the U.S. is probably a “regular.”
     
     
    WHAT’S AN ADVENT CALENDAR?

    The Advent calendar dates to the beginning of the 19th century, when German Lutherans made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count down the days leading up to Christmas.

    The first-known Advent calendar is from 1851, appearing in a children’s book by Elise Averdieck.

    Gerhard Lang (1881-1974) was the inventor of the printed Advent calendars, beginning in 1904.

    Lang’s calendar was inspired by one that his mother had made for him: 24 cookies sewn onto the lid of a box. He was allowed to eat one of them every day during the Advent period. Other parents created their own handmade versions.

    Remembering mom’s cookie countdown, Lang created a pilot calendar in 1904, and produced the first printed, commercially distributed Advent calendar in 1908 [source].

    The calendars became commercially viable and were made with both religious and non-religious themes.

    Strictly religious calendars counted down each day with a prayer or a religious image. Secular versions for children had pieces of candy or tiny toys. The now-familiar windows were created, which opened out of the cardboard, revealing each day’s item.

    The first Advent calendars were called “Nicholas calendars,” since they were given out on December 6th, St. Nicholas’ Day.

    Then, calendars were made to start on December 1 and were called “Christmas calendars.” These typically didn’t follow the full four-week period of Advent, because the date varies in any particular year (it’s the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas, which can range from November 27th to December 3rd). Instead, they marked the 24 days leading up to Christmas.
     
     
    The Name “Advent Calendar” Appears

    The name “Advent calendar” was established when some calendars were published with the annually variable number of Advent days [source].

    Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means “coming.” It’s a time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, on Christmas Day.

    The fun of modern Advent calendars is opening one of the 24 closed windows/doors, that mark each day until Christmas. Young or old, opening the daily window has anticipation and surprise.

    For most of its history, the Advent calendar was targeted to children. The surprises behind the window were a piece of candy, a charm, a mini toy or a holiday-themed image (Santa, Rudolph). There are still inspirational versions. They calendars can be basic or very elaborate.

    In recent years there’s been a trend to adult-appropriate Advent calendars, that focus on bottles of beer or wine, fine chocolates, coffee and tea, even beef jerky.
     
     
    ALDI ADVENT CALENDARS

    OMG: The Advent calendar choices are so great at Aldi, we need go nowhere else. But caveat emptor: Some sell out quickly.

    Some calendars have windows for the full 24 days, others are for 12 days. The Sparkling Wine Countdown To The New Year has seven 187ml bottles of wine. Take your pick of 26 calendars:
     
     
    Beverage & Cheese Advent Calendars

  • Barissimo Coffee Advent Calendar ($9.99)
  • Beer Advent Calendar ($49.99; in select markets)
  • Connellys 12 Days of Irish Cream ($29.99)
  • Emporium Selection Cheese Advent Calendar ($14.99)
  • Sparkling Wine Countdown to the New Year ($29.99) 
  • The 2021 Collection Wine Advent Calendar ($59.99)
  •  
     
    Chocolate Advent Calendars

  • Choceur Advent Calendar ($1.49) 
  • Moser Roth 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar With Truffles ($4.99)
  • Moser Roth 24 Days of Christmas Nutcracker Advent Calendar With Chocolates and Truffles($8.99) 
  • Moser Roth Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar ($14.99)
  •  
     
    Personal Care Advent Calendars

  • Bee Happy Craft Advent Calendar ($12.99)
  • Huntington Home Advent Calendar Candle ($4.99)
  • My Beauty Spot 12 Days of Bath Fizzers ($12.99) 
  •  
     
    Pet Advent Calendars

  • Pure Being Cat Advent Calendar ($5.89)
  • Pure Being Dog Advent Calendar ($5.89)
  •  
     
    Toy Advent Calendars

  • Lego City Advent Calendar ($29.99)
  • Lego Friends Advent Calendar ($29.99)
  • Lego Marvel Avengers Advent Calendar ($39.99)
  • Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar ($39.99)
  • Mattel Cars Advent Calendar ($16.99) 
  • Mattel Polly Pocket Advent Calendar ($16.99) 
  • Mattel Kids Toys Advent Calendar ($24.99) 
  • Merry Moments My Friend Gnome Kit ($24.99; limit one per customer) 
  • Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Advent Calendar ($19.99)
  • Warner Brothers Elf Advent Calendar ($29.99)
  • Warner Brothers Christmas Story Advent Calendar ($29.99)
  •  
    Personally, we’ll take the sparkling wine!

     


    [1] Twelve days of chocolate (all photos © Aldi).


    [2] Twenty-four different cups of arabica coffee await brewing.

    ]
    [3] Twelve days of different Irish cream liqueurs: caramel, hazelnut, white chocolate and nine more.


    [4] Twenty-four milk chocolate figures.


    [5] Twenty-four different 187ml bottles of red and white wines.


    [6] Cheers and beers: 24 bottles from 11.2 ounces to 12 ounces.


    [7] Seven bottles of sparkling wine—including cava, prosecco, moscato and others—celebrate the countdown to the New Year.

     
    ________________

    *For wine and beer calendars, note that not all states or municipalities allow alcohol sales at grocery stores.
     
     

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