Jackfruit And Parmesan Cheese

2017-08-04 Meijer jackfruit

I have been seeing this unusual fruit in the produce section of the grocery-store lately. But for the first time, I noticed directions attached to it. They say: “Wear latex gloves, cover the cutting board with plastic wrap.” I wondered if something that you had to protect your skin and your cutting board from was something you should be eating. After watching a you-tube video online, I found out that 1) it’s very sticky and hard to remove from surfaces, even from the knife you use (the chef recommended coating the knife with oil), and 2) it takes about 20 minutes of careful work to get this monstrous fruit cut up. Hmm, don’t think I’ll be using this in my fruit salad anytime soon.


2017-08-04 Meijer parmesan cheese unrefrigerated

The other thing I noticed while shopping was that the grocery-store has moved all of their Parmesan cheese from the refrigerated area to the regular shelves. Curiously, the Kraft brand containers were still in a box that said in large red lettering: keep refrigerated. So I checked Kraft’s website, and they said it was safe to store unopened grated Parmesan cheese in the cupboard, although temperature variations might affect the quality. In fact, it’s even okay to leave it at room temperature after it’s opened. And all these years I’ve been storing mine in the fridge. Ha, you learn something new every day.


What IS That Fruit?


I came upon a strange sight while doing the grocery-shopping today. From a distance, there appeared to be several prickly objects keeping company with the pineapples. Porcupine was the word that came to mind, although I knew that wasn’t right. When I got closer, I could see that it was called “Jack Fruit”.


When I got home, I went online to read a bit about it. Jackfruit is the largest tree-grown fruit, with each piece weighing between ten and eighty pounds, although they can reach one hundred pounds! It originated in India thousands of years ago, but is now mostly grown in places like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, the Caribbean, Vietnam, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Ironically, it seems to be looked down on in India as a poor-man’s food, despite it starting there.

Jackfruit has a pungent odor that some people say smells like a mix of over-ripe banana and pineapple, and others say smells like Juicy Fruit Gum. It is very sweet when ripe (skin will be yellow). If you harvest it before it is ripe, however, it is not sweet, and has the texture of meat. Some vegetarians use it as a meat substitute in dishes. Until recently, it was a food found mostly in Asian grocery markets, but now the strange-looking fruit is popping up in places like Whole Foods and mainstream grocery-stores.


Have some oats!

homemade granola bars   Jennifer’s homemade granola bars

I love oats! Almost every day begins with a steaming bowl of Aldi’s old-fashioned oatmeal. (Yes, even in the summer.) It’s just the right speed for my morning wake-up. Put on the coffee in my tiny percolator, and throw a cup of oatmeal flakes in a pan with 3 cups of water. The directions say you need a ratio of 1 part of oatmeal to 2 parts of water. But I get better results with a 1:3 ration, as long as I’m willing to simmer it for 5 minutes instead of the 3 minutes in the directions. Then the burners get turned off, the oatmeal pan covered, and I let the oats and hot coffee sit while I check my e-mail and weather. The aroma of the freshly brewed coffee mixes with the mellow oats to give a relaxed, happy feel to the morning. After enjoying the smell for awhile, I finally eat half of the oatmeal (leaving the other half for my husband) and drink my large mug of coffee. Really, it’s a great way to wake up, winter or summer!

But you say, “Hot cereal just isn’t my thing!” Then consider having your oats cold. Cheerios (or just about any store’s generic equivalent) is also an excellent way to start the day. I’m not talking about the chocolate version, or the kind with sugary strawberry coating on it. No, just the basic original recipe. You can get a large box of the original, unsweetened oat cereal for under $2.00, as long as you buy it at Aldi’s.

Today was grocery day for me, so I hit my two favorite stores: Meijer and Aldi’s. At Meijer, the official Cheerios brand was on sale for the 12 oz size – regularly $3.48, on sale for $2.48.

Cheerios 12 oz at meijer

I didn’t bother to pick up any there, because I was headed for Aldi’s, where the same size of  their store equivalent is $1.79. That’s not their sale price, it’s the regular price – and it tastes exactly the same! It’s great plain, or with sliced bananas or dried cranberries on it.

Aldi cheerios 1.79

But oats aren’t just for breakfast. Our friend Jennifer made the most delicious homemade granola bars I have ever tasted. They were less sweet than the commercially-made ones, but totally satisfying to the sweet tooth. They’re great for box lunches, for that mid-afternoon lag, or in the evening instead of a rich dish of ice cream. So consider the humble oat plant, and try it out any time of the day!