Stop Drinking When Your Lips Go Numb
We have a family rule, when drinking home brewed hard apple cider, STOP when your lips go numb. Those that don’t heed the warning open themselves to public humiliation when they face plant in their dinner plate. You know who you are. I LOVE hard cider; it reminds me of my favorite season of the year – Fall. Our family gathers for an annual cider press day at the end of October every year; we cross our fingers hoping to get a freeze on the trees before the big day. When the apples freeze before they’re picked and pressed, the sweetness improves and the juiciness increases. We get together, pick the apples from the Winesap trees, take turns pressing the apples, sampling the sweet and tart juice, and divvying it up. A few gallons are always allotted for hard cider. It’s pure and delicious without junk added to it.
Since discovering I have Celiac Disease, hard cider has become my “go-to” instead of beer. Some people think of cider as “apple beer” but craft cider is closer to wine than beer. Think different varietals and fermentation methods. However, not all ciders are created equal. Craft Cider increases in popularity and becomes more mainstream every year. And that means that imposters abound serving up lower quality ciders with added “flavors” and preservatives.
Getting Crafty With Hard Cider
What is Craft Cider? When making craft cider, the focus is on how and with what, the product is made. It has to come from 100% fresh pressed cider apples. The quality improves when apples are fermented and matured in small batches without added sugar, sometimes small amounts of quality sugars or honey are used to aid fermentation. No concentrated juice or artificial ingredients are added. Craft ciders may vary a bit from batch to batch while big producers will have more consistency. Many craft ciders are only sold locally or regionally. Like wine, there are unique characteristics to each regions apples and climate; if you see a local craft cider give it a try. It’s a lovely way to experience the area and support local producers. Commercial ciders are often produced by big beer companies and are shipped long distance increasing the environmental footprint.
This article in Bon Appetit goes into more detail about what goes into making cider, what to look for when selecting a cider. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/naturally-fermented-hard-cider
If you live in Washington or plan on visiting Washington soon, I’ve included a map and directory of Washington cider makers.
As we spiral into the holiday season, put hard cider on the drink menu this year. When out making merry, look for a local craft hard cider; ask your bartender about the producer. Look for craft cocktails made with hard cider.
But…..be careful if your lips go numb.
Washington Cider Map & Directory
Sometimes covered in dirt, mushrooms don’t always look appetizing. In Asia mushrooms are considered a symbol of healthy and longevity. They’re rich in immune-boosting properties. They’re surprisingly antioxidant rich and regular consumption can help protect against cardiovascular disease. They’re also a great food for weight-loss as they’re low in calories, good fiber, and very filling.
Eating: Raw mushrooms contain compounds that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients so it’s preferable to eat them cooked.
Preparation: To clean them, wipe them off with a damp paper towel to remove the dirt.
Selection: Organic is best because mushrooms absorb much of the pollutants in the air, water, and soil they grow in. The caps are best when smooth and unblemished, avoid slimy ones. If you’re buying small mushrooms, flip them over and see if the cap is separating from the stem. If it is, it’s less fresh so choose ones with no gap.
Storage: NEVER in a plastic bag or open container, they’ll spoil much quicker. Refrigerate them in a closed paper bag and they’ll be good for about a week.
Nutrition: The most nutritious mushrooms are shittake and maitake.
Click on the mushroom read more about the most popular varieties:
Talk to you soon!
I think all of us can honestly say at one time or another, or maybe quite frequently, (you know who you are…) are guilty of blurring the truth. Whether it was to protect ourselves, or avoid something, or to get a job, maybe to convince someone to share our beliefs. Perhaps we’ve avoided being totally TRANSPARENT….. about our past, present, money situation, history, or work.
“I’m too busy.”
Some people would debate whether or not full disclosure and transparency are the foundation of all successful relationships. “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” For too long we’ve felt this way about our food. But now, not so much. Now consumers everywhere care more about what’s in their food, where it came from, and who made it. And rightfully so.
OK, So What IS Transparency
As Savvy Shoppers we should expect more TRANSPARENCY- a clear window into the sourcing and mission of the companies behind our food. We want transparency in where and how our food is produced and how it reaches us. Trusting manufacturers’ sourcing and supply chain practices gives us a closer connection to our food. You might think of transparency in terms like “openness,” “honesty,” being “public,” “clear,” “visible,” or “not hidden”. We hear and see constant marketing messages at light speed. So much so that we’ve become quite numb to them. Many of us are grasping at straws to make sense of the messages and in turn, make smart choices in the foods we purchase, which brands to support, and which stores meet our standards.
Transparency not only applies to what products we’re shopping for, but also from where we buy it. Do you have a favorite grocery store? Savvy Shoppers are demanding easy access to relevant information, understandable and clear quality standards, sustainable and ethical business practices, and fair treatment of employees. The types of stores that are most transparent in their missions, quality standards, and take the lead in transparency are: natural & organic stores, on-line only stores, club stores, fresh-focused stores and mid-size conventional stores. The types of stores that are less likely to be transparent are: discount stores, convenience stores, super centers, dollar stores, and drug stores.
How do you know if your store is committed to transparency? A retail store should make an effort to connect with its shoppers with a “wellness” focus. They should encourage a connection with your food and where it comes from. Do they have easy access to relevant information, clear quality standards, are they proactive and accountable? Do they treat their employees fairly, and are they open about their business practices? What do they do with their garbage; recycle and compost waste? What happens to products they can’t sell? Do they donate it to local food banks?
6 CATEGORIES OF TRANSPARENCY: Openness and Honesty
Product transparency goes beyond what is on the label. To create a dynamic of trust, manufacturers and retailers should openly and honestly share this information in an easily understandable way:
- Access to product information.
- Clear quality standards. Including natural, organic, animal welfare and ingredients.
- Productivity and accountability.
- How ingredients are sourced.
- Fair treatment of employees.
- Open about business practices, ethical? Sustainable? How do they give back to their communities?
We are all “Connected”
We are always connected; the internet is now available to us wherever we’re at and whenever we want it. Being able to access information not on the label should be easy and quick to find on a brand’s website. If it’s not it may be time to look for a new brand that accommodates your interest in the information in an easy to understand way.
Online sales continue to expand as we adopt a mix-and-match attitude to grocery shopping. The food industry must adapt and respond to a more inter-connected relationship with their customers. The digital age has made it easier for us to find information on demand (or lack of information). As a result, we can communicate with manufacturers and retailers much easier and tell our friends and families about what we like and what we don’t like.
Food and beverage brands understand that transparency is a great opportunity to build trust, acquire new customers and build brand loyalty. So, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask questions and give feedback. Doing this empowers you as a shopper and gives them valuable information on how to improve.
Where do I begin? How do know what to look for?
The best place to start is the label. Another buzz word you may have heard is CLEAN LABEL. My next post will cover what that means and how it relates to TRANSPARENCY and what to look for.
I’d love to hear in the comments if TRANSPARENCY is important to you? What do you look for now and what would you like to start looking for? To you, is it more important to look for what’s in products, or what’s missing from products?
As always, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog and follow Fresh Look Foods.
Happy New Year!!