The difference between jelly, jam, preserves and marmalade

Toast with some butter and jam is a marvelous thing. Wait. Butter and jam? Or butter and jelly? Or is it marmalade? What’s the difference between jam and jelly and every other kind of sweet, spreadable fruit? It’s a confusing, sticky world. We’re here to provide some answers. All of these condiments start with sugar, fruit and heat. Fruit naturally contains pectin, the stuff that makes jams and jellies firm up. (Not all fruits contain the same amount of pectin though, so sometimes powdered pectin has to be added to get the desired texture.) When heated, the fruit will lose liquid, causing it to reduce to a firmer consistency. The distinction between the varieties comes from how much physical fruit ends up in the final product and how firm it ends up setting. It’s a spectrum of sorts. At one end of the spectrum, you have jelly. It’s the firmest, clearest fruit condiment around. Once the fruit is cooked, it’s strained, so that only the juice ends up in the jelly. That’s why the grape stuff you spread all over peanut butter in first grade was (and is) so clear. If you’re going to find additional pectin in any of these, you’ll find it in jelly. And that means that if you turned a jar of jelly over, it would probably slide out in one solid piece, like a can of cranberry, well, jelly. Kinda gross. Kinda cool. We don’t like to play favorites, but we really like jam. It’s the chunkier version of jelly, with more pieces of actual fruit in it and a slightly looser, spoonable texture. Here, chopped or pureed fruit is cooked with sugar, so pieces of the fruit end up in the final product. It’s not clear, and it’s not solid. This is the middle of our spectrum. We like it in the middle. It’s comfortable. And tasty. If you’ve been following the trend here, you can probably guess what’s up with preserves. They contain the most fruit, more often than not in whole pieces, and have the least gel-like consistency. These are great for serving with cheese, kinda like slapping a big ol’ piece of cherry on top of your stinky gorgonzola. Remember how we were just taking about preserves a second ago? Yeah, marmalade is just preserves that are made with citrus — the whole fruit, rind and all. Lemon. Orange. Grapefruit. You get the picture. We love how aromatic and bittersweet good marmalades are, a result of all the complex flavors and fragrant oils present in those citrus peels.

Thanks to Alex Delaney over at Bon Appetit for that fun piece!    🙂

We’re Eating More Cheese Than Ever. How To Do It Better

Up to now, cheese guides have tended to focus more on where and how cheese is made than on how best to enjoy it. Meanwhile, according to the USDA, Americans’ annual consumption of natural (as opposed to processed) cheese increased from 19.3 to 29.47 pounds per capita between 1995 and 2015, and the range of cheeses to choose from has become downright daunting. The time has come for “The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide To Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love,” published this month by Flatiron Books. In it, author Liz Thorpe introduces a blessedly consumer-focused framework for making sense of the expanding cheese universe. Familiar “Gateway Cheeses” serve as points of departure to lesser-known styles with similar flavors and textures. Parmesan is the entry point to “hard, grainy cheeses with nutty character,” Swiss the portal to “smooth, pliable, brilliant melters.” As few others can, Ms. Thorpe connects the dots between supermarket brie and Sequatchie Cove Creamery Dancing Fern, “one of the most complex and thoughtful cheeses being made in America.” After beginning behind the counter at New York’s influential Murray’s Cheese, she rose to vice president and brought Murray’s kiosks to grocery stores around the U.S. Throughout the book she offers pairings, plus flavor wheels to help you develop a palate and a vocabulary. There are recipes, too…

And to see Ms. Thorpe’s Homemade Whole-Milk Ricotta recipe, click on the text above.   Thanks to Tia Keenan for bringing us this yummy-sounding recommendation!  Bon appetit!

National Doughnut Day deals you can’t miss

Whether you like them plain, frosted, powdered or covered in rainbow sprinkles, it’s hard to deny the deliciousness of doughnuts. And what’s better than a doughnut? A free doughnut– or donut. Friday, June 2 is National Doughnut Day, which has been celebrated since 1938 in honor of the female Salvation Army members, known as “Lassies,” who served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI. Luckily, for anyone looking to indulge their sweet tooth, there are plenty of free ways to celebrate the day. Click here to see a few of our favorite deals available at participating store locations

Waffle House founders die less than 2 months apart

Thomas Francis Forkner Sr., who jumped from selling real estate to the restaurant business when he co-founded Waffle House in the 1950s, has died less than two months after the death of his business partner who recruited him to help launch the famous Southern diner chain. Waffle House said in a statement that Forkner died Wednesday at age 98. He grew up in DeKalb County just outside Atlanta, the company said, and returned there to sell real estate after serving as an Army intelligence officer during World War II. Forkner sold a house to his neighbor, Joe Rogers Sr., who worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain. Rogers persuaded Forkner to join him in starting a restaurant of their own. They opened the first 24-hour Waffle House in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates on Labor Day in 1955. They opened a second location two years later, and they kept building the business over the next two decades. Under Forkner and Rogers, the Waffle House chain grew to 400 restaurants by the time they sold the business in the late 1970s. Rogers died March 3, just seven weeks before Forkner. The company said Forkner’s wife of 71 years, Martha Forkner, died March 4. The Atlanta-based company now has more than 1,500 locations. Forkner was known to drop by the company headquarters regularly, up until a few weeks before his death. He would often drive there to have lunch with new manager trainees, said Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr., whose father started the company with Forkner. “Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers said in a statement. “Tom and Joe were great partners_Tom working the real estate side of the business and my father operating the restaurants.” Forkner also was an accomplished golfer, the company said, and won enough senior championships to warrant his induction into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.

What a great story!  I love their Toddle House ham & cheese omelets..   Thank you Tom and Joe for sharing your truly American story, and your great breakfasts, with us.  R.I.P.

Rob Lowe is KFC’s New Colonel Sanders

KFC, a unit of Yum! Brands, announced Friday that actor Rob Lowe is taking on the role as the company’s new Colonel Sanders. Debuting on Sunday, the former “West Wings” star will appear in a new ad campaign promoting the fast food chain’s “Zinger” chicken sandwich, which KFC has spent nearly $80 million to create over the last two years. Lowe said in statement that he signed on as a spokesman to pay tribute to his grandfather. “My grandfather was the head of the Ohio chapter of the National Restaurant Association in the 1960s and took me to meet Colonel Harland Sanders when I was as kid,” Lowe said in a statement Friday. “It was a big deal. I thought this would be a nice homage to both Colonel Sanders and to my grandfather.” Lowe joins a list of other celebrities who have filled the colonel’s iconic shoes. Comedians Darrell Hammond, Jim Gaffigan, Norm Macdonald and actors George Hamilton and Billy Zane have also played the king of fried chicken. The new spicy Zinger is the company’s first fried chicken sandwich to be made by hand, daily in-house, the company’s president said..

Finger lickin’ crazy!  To see the promo video, and read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

7 great food freebies and meal deals for Tax Day

Filing your taxes may be the worst, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel on April 18– and that light could be coming from your favorite restaurant or food shop. Even if you don’t get a mega refund on Tax Day, there are plenty of places that want to put a smile on your face with some free or discounted grub. Here’s a list of 7 of the top spots to celebrate paying off Uncle Sam. Just click here to see our list.

Where to celebrate National Beer Day

We love meeting and celebrating American makers, and the ever-expanding beer world offers tons of ways to do so, from regional beer weeks and months to annual festivals and exclusive tastings. Of course, you can experience beer across the nation any day, namely with tours and tastings along our brewery trails, featuring Asheville, N.C. and Hawaii most recently. Plus, beer halls and gardens offer quintessentially festive and lively atmospheres, which is why we showcase options across the county for any season. Click here to see some of the best beer events through October; and raise a pint, stein, bottle or can to National Beer Day at year-round destinations

Happy National Beer Day!!   Prost!!   🙂