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THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TIP OF THE DAY: 5 Ways To Use Melons

The summer bounty of ripe, sweet, juicy melons means that we’re having melon daily for breakfast (with berries, cottage cheese, yogurt, or just plain).

Sharon Palmer, a nutritionist who specializes in plant-based food plans, is also a melon fan.

“These fruits are not only delicious;” she says, “they are packed with hydrating fluid, fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant phytochemicals—all for a skinny little calorie load.

“Each melon has different plant compounds, offering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. That’s why I’m sharing these ‘Top 5 Ways to Use Melons.’

“Don’t forget to enjoy these a few times a week while they are in season.”

Sharon, we agree! Melons are our favorite way to enjoy sweetness without the calories.

While Sharon’s recipes are vegan, we’ve added cheese to some of the suggestions. She also recommends sustainable plant-based milk and yogurt (coconut, almond, oat, soy, etc.). Use whatever you enjoy.

In fact, here’s a mini-tip for those who are considering plant-based yogurt:

Buy a container of each plant-based yogurt and have a taste test to see which one(s) you like best.

1. Au Naturel. One of the very best ways to enjoy melons is in their natural form. Just a wedge with breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert is the way to go. (Editor’s Note: If the melon isn’t as flavorful as you’d like, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.)

2. Fruit Skewers. A favorite way to highlight melons is on pretty fruit skewers. Just chop the melon into chunks, and include other summer fruits such as strawberries, peach slices, kiwi, pineapple and grapes; and thread them onto a skewer.

Enjoy the skewers plain, with yogurt or cottage cheese, or with a healthy dip. (Editor’s Note: We use fruit yogurt, or plain yogurt seasoned with cinnamon and your sweetener of choice. We also like the skewers as a side with grilled chicken or fish.)

3. Parfaits. In the summertime, a simple melon parfait is one of the best no-fuss, no-cook, hands-down delicious-and-healthy breakfasts, lunches or snacks. Just layer cubed melon with yogurt, granola, dried fruit (e.g. cranberries, dates, raisins), and nuts or seeds.

4. Smoothies & Refreshing Drinks. Whip up a delicious fruity drink in no time. Just drop a few cubes of melon into a blender with a bit of lemon juice.

Or simply add cubed melon to your favorite smoothie recipe. Here’s one from the Watermelon Board (photo #3):

Smoothie Ingredients Per Serving

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves (or to taste)
  • 1 cup lemon yogurt
  • Dash of cinnamon
    Preparation: PUREÉ the watermelon, honey and mint quickly; do not over-blend. Pulse in the yogurt and cinnamon just until smooth.

    5. Salads. In addition to fruit salads, melons shine in green salads. They provide just the right amount of crunchy, juicy sweetness. Add cantaloupe or honeydew chunks to chicken salad, watermelon and feta salad or goat cheese with arugula or watercress.

    Take a look at Sharon’s delicious (and good-looking) Cantaloupe Salad With Radishes & Pumpkin Seeds.

  • Grilled Melon
  • Melon Cocktails (Watermelon Cosmopolitan)
  • Melon Granita or Sorbet
  • Melon Dessert (fill the center of a small half melon with sorbet)
  • Melon Salsa
  • Melon Soup (for dessert or a first course, topped with crabmeat)
  • Melon Soda (puréed melon and club soda)

    [1] Just about everyone has had a slice of melon, but there are many more ways to enjoy melon (photo © Burpee).

    Honeydew & Cucumber Salad
    [2] A honeydew and cucumber salad with mint lives and thin slices of chile (photo © Good Eggs).

    Watermelon Smoothie
    [3] Try a watermelon smoothie (recipe at right). There are also light, refreshing drinks that you can serve as mocktails. Check out watermelon agua fresca and watermelon cooler (photo © National Watermelon Promotion Board).

    [4] Watermelon, arugula and feta salad (photo © Between The Bread | NYC).



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    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Olives For National Olive Day

    Calling all olive lovers: June 1st is National Olive Day.


    The olive history is an ancient one, following figs as the earliest domesticated fruit tree.

    Olives trees were native to Asia Minor. The latest findings show that the olive was first domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean basin between 8,000 and 6,000 years ago.

    (Writing itself only began some 5200 years ago, around 3200 B.C.E.)

    The olive tree spread from Iran, Palestine and Syria to the rest of the Mediterranean. It was grown on Crete by 3000 BC.E., and the crop of fruit and oil may have been the source of the wealth of the Minoan kingdom.

    The Phoenicians brought the olive tree to the north coast of Africa and to southern Europe.

    The olive culture arrived in ancient Greece, and from there to Rome. As the Romans extended their empire, they brought the olive with them.

    Here’s more on the history of the olive.

    Our personal favorite recipes are black olive tapenade and green olive tapenade.

    Here are 22 more everyday uses for olives:

  • Antipasto plates
  • Baked potatoes, sour cream and chives
  • Bruschetta and crostini
  • Canapés
  • Cream cheese (for bagels and crackers)
  • Dressing and stuffing
  • Frittatas and quiches
  • Grain dishes
  • Greek yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Martinis and cocktail nibbles
  • Meat or vegetable skewers
  • Omelets, scrambled eggs and deviled eggs
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Purée into vinaigrette
  • Puttanesca sauce (tomato sauce, capers, olives, chile)
  • Ratatouille
  • Salads: egg, chicken, tuna, shellfish and green salads
  • Sauce for grilled fish (with butter or EVOO and capers)
  • Snacks
  • Stews

    Thanks to Lindsay olives for these yummy recipes (click links):

  • Olive-Cheese Corn Bread (Keto-Friendly) (photo # 2): Spoon mild and nutty Lindsay Black Ripe Olives and tart and zesty Manzanilla Olives Stuffed with Pimiento into the batter of the corn bread before topping with cheese, more olives and scallions.
  • Olive & Cherry Tomato Panzanella (photo # 3): A great way to use up day-old baguette, Italian bread or rolls. Toss tangy Lindsay Organic Green Olives with sundried tomatoes, bell peppers and homemade croutons for a summery panzanella salad.
  • Savory Jalapeño-Olive Margarita (photo # 4): Combine tequila, lime and muddled Lindsay Jalapeno Queen Olives for this bartender-worthy marg. Kick up the flavor factor by adding olive brine.
    Find many other olive recipes at


    [1] Castelvetrano olives from Sicily, one of our favorite varieties (photo © DiBruno Brothers | Philadelphia).

    [2] Olive & Cheese Cornbread (photos #2, #3, #4 © Lindsay Olives).

    [3] Olive & Cherry Tomato Panzanella.

    [4] Savory Jalapeño & Olive Margarita.



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    FATHER’S DAY GIFTS: Koloa Single-Batch Rum & Round Barn Mint Chocolate Cream Liqueur

    [1] Koloa 12-Barrel Select Hawaiian Rum: heavenly (photo © Koloa Rum).

    [2] Round Barn Winery’s Mint Chocolate Cream is a delight for any chocolate lover [of drinking age] (photo © Round Barn Winery).


    We taste lots of spirits, and most of them are delicious. But we’re not a spirits website, so we only write about those that truly stand out.

    Just in time for Father’s Day, we have two recommendations.

    Rum is typically made from molasses, a by-product of sugar refining. Most rum comes from the Caribbean, where sugar plantations abound.

    Koloa rums have a different pedigree. Their handcrafted premium rums are not made with molasses, but with pure sugarcane.

    The second ingredient, water, is the pristine rainwater from Mount Waiʻaleʻale and nearby mountain peaks and rainforests. The water is captured after it filters through volcanic strata and into vast underground aquifers.

    The Kaua‘i Reserve 12-Barrel Select Hawaiian Rum is artfully crafted in single batches, then carefully aged for at least 3 years in charred American oak barrels.

    It is remarkably smooth on the palate. We’re not excessively poetic when we say that every drop is to be cherished.

    Take a sip: The first drops introduce you to a natural sweetness that’s profoundly different from the big brands.

    It’s not a sugary sweetness, but a profound depth of flavor from the sugarcane, followed by rich and complex flavors that linger throughout the exceptionally clean finish.

    This is a special expression that any connoisseur of fine spirits will appreciate. Non-rum drinkers who have only tasted the big brands will discover how wonderful rum can be.

    It’s a great sipping rum, straight up or on the rocks, and a wonderful discovery.

    Koloa Rum does ship to all 50 states via partnerships with Mel & Rose and Drizly, among others.

    > Discover more about the brand at Koala brand at

    > Check out the history of rum and the different types of rum.


    Round Barn Estate in Baroda, Michigan began in 1997, when the Moersch family discovered a 1912 round barn in northern Indiana, and envisioned it as a place to enter thirsty and leave happy.

    Today it is Round Barn Winery, Distillery and Brewery: a lovely home to the family’s handcrafted wines, spirits and brews.

    What a contribution to the community: great drink, entertainment, beautiful grounds and event space.

    In the liqueur category, they began with Black Walnut Cream Liqueur, then Salted Caramel Cream, and now the latest, Mint Chocolate Cream.

    Based on our tasting of the Mint Chocolate Cream, our next liqueur purchases will be the Black Walnut and the Salted Caramel.

    The Mint Chocolate Cream liqueur tastes like a chocolate shake with a hint of mint—and a hint of distilled spirits.

    Served it after dessert and/or coffee, add it to coffee or hot chocolate, make adult chocolate milk, top off a dish of ice cream.

    If you need a gift for a lover of chocolate, this is it!

    Discover more at

    [3] A lovely destination in Michigan: Round Barn Estate (photo © Round Barn).


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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: The Best Cheeses, From Jasper Hill Farm

    While we have been hunkered down at home for the quarantine, we have been treating ourselves to great foods from artisans nationwide.

    One of them is Jasper Hill Farm, in Greensboro, Vermont (in the “Northeast KingdomNortheast Kingdom”).

    Jasper Hill sold its first wheels of Bayley Hazen Blue, their flagship cheese (photo #3), in 2003. Since then, with their own microbiology lab and scientists, they have been able to make incredible cheeses.

    The cheeses are sold at fine retailers and e-tailers nationwide, and also on the Jasper Hill website.

    Half of the cheeses online are made by Jasper Hill Farm, others are made by neighboring dairies and sent to Jasper Hill to take advantage of the huge, state-of-the-art, underground aging cellars.

    The technology helps to make better cheeses. Just one bite of any of them tells you that you’ve arrived in cheese heaven.

    Twice a month we order a shipment of our favorite cheeses, comparing similar styles (bloomy rinds, blues, cheddars, washed rinds) to pick the one from each group that we like the best.

    We then re-order the “winner” along with our next group (and we keep notes on our preferences for future orders). And we never fail to add a wheel of our very favorite, the bloomy-rind Moses Sleeper.

    We’re never without great cheeses on hand. We’d like to point the way to every turophile (connoisseur or fancier of fine cheeses).

    Before you head to Jasper Hill Farm’s online storeJasper Hill Farm’s online store, check out the description of the cheeses that follow.

    If you can’t make up your mind among the different cheeses, there are 13 curated gift boxes (scroll down), for yourself or for gifting.

    We hope we’ve made it easier for you to choose among the 15 memorable cheeses.

  • Alpha Tolman, an Appenzeller-style wheel made from raw cow’s milk, for a cheese plate, fondue or raclette (from Jasper Hill Creamery†).
  • Bayley Hazen, a blue wheel made from raw cow’s milk, famous for its fudgy texture, with a natural rind (from Jasper Hill Creamery—it’s their flagship cheese, photo #3).
  • Bridgman Blue, a blue wheel made from blend of raw cow’s and goat’s milks, with a natural rind (from Jasper Hill Creamery).
  • Cabot Clothbound, an bandage-wrapped cheddar wheel with a crystalline texture (from Cabot Cooperative Creamery—photo #1).
  • Eligo, a washed rind brick made from pasteurized cow’s and goat’s milks (from Jasper Hill Creamery).
  • Harbison, a pasteurized cow’s milk wheel with a bark-wrapped, bloomy rind (from Jasper Hill Creamery—photo #2).
  • Highlander, a raclette-style wheel made from raw cow’s and goat’s milks (from Jasper Hill Creamery).
  • Kinsman Ridge, a semi-soft tomme made from unpasteurized cow’s milk (from Landaff Creamery).
  • Landaff, a traditional Welsh-style cheddar wheel made from raw cow’s milk (from Landaff Creamery).
  • Little Hosmer, a bloomy-rind pasteurized cow’s milk wheel (from Jasper Hill Creamery).
  • Moses Sleeper, a bloomy-rind wheel made from pasteurized cow’s milk—and our personal favorite (from Jasper Hill Creamery).
  • Oma, a washed rind tomme of pasteurized cow’s milk, certified organic (from Von Trapp Farmstead—photo #4).
  • Weybridge, a bloomy rind wheel of pasteurized cow’s milk, certified organic (from Scholten Family Farm).
  • Willoughby, a washed rind wheel made from pasteurized cow’s milk (from Jasper Hill Creamery).
  • Winnimere, a bark-wrapped washed wind wheel made from raw winter cow milk (from Jasper Hill Creamery—photo #5).

  • Alpine/Swiss-Style Cheeses: Alpha Tolman, Highlander
  • Bloomy Rind Cheeses: Harbison, Little Hosmer, Moses Sleeper, Weybridge
  • Blue Cheeses: Bayley Hazen, Bridgman Blue
  • Tomme* Cheeses: Kinsmans Ridge, Oma
  • Washed Rind Cheeses: Eligo, Willoughby, Winnimere

    *Tomme is a class of cheese produced mainly in the French Alps and Switzerland.

    †Jasper Hill Farm is a working dairy farm. Jasper Hill Creamery is the on-site creamery where the cheeses are made.


    [1] Cheddar lovers will find joy in Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar (all photos © Jasper Hill FarmJasper Hill Farm).

    [2] A bloomy rind enthusiast’s delight: Harbison, with a creamy, spreadable center.

    [3] One of the best blue cheeses anywhere: Bayley Hazen, Jasper Hill Farm’s flagship cheese.

    [4] Oma, a washed rind tomme.

    [5] Winnimere, a washed rind wheel, wrapped and ready to ship.



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    FOOD FUN: Avocado Burger Or Sandwich

    [1] An avocado “burger” or “sandwich” filled with whatever you like (photo © Love One Today).

    [2] We made simple fruit skewers but love this rainbow fruit recipe from (photo © Clean Food Crush).


    What’s inside this avocado burger? Anything you want.

    The idea is from Love One TodayLove One Today, the consumer website for the Hass Avocado Board and a source for everything avocado, including recipes.

    Starting with two avocado halves that form the “buns” or “bread,” you can add:

  • Any type of patty
  • Any type of sandwich fixings
  • Chicken, egg or seafood salad
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce, onion and tomato
  • Other raw vegetables (artichoke hearts, arugula, cucumbers, kale, radishes, red cabbage, shaved vegetables (broccoli stems, carrots or fennel), snow peas, sprouts, watercress
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Salad dressing (blue cheese, ranch, Russian)
  • Slaw
  • Condiments: chutney, mostarda, mayonnaise (ideally, flavored mayo*), olives, salsa, slaw, tapenade
    For our first avocado burger, we created the Ultimate Veggie Burger: veggie burger, lettuce and tomato, sweet onion, pickled vegetables, raw vegetables, roasted vegetables, sprouts…and melted gruyère cheese.

    (Frankly, we went through everything in the fridge.)

    We placed the gruyère in a ramekin, melted it in the microwave, and poured it over the other ingredients piled onto the bottom avocado half; then put the top on and garnished the veggie burger with a toothpick of assorted olives.

    We served our Ultimate Veggie Burger with a fruit skewer made from what we had on hand: melon balls, seedless grapes and strawberries.

    A good lunch was had by all!


    *Bacon, blue cheese, curry, garlic (i.e., aïoli—here’s the recipe), Dijon, hot sauce, lemon or lime zest. Just add any particular seasoning to taste.


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