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Freeze-dried Blueberries and Raspberries with some nuts add excitement but no added sugar to plain yogurt.  Photo by Melody Lan.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

CAITLIN BARRETT is a member of THE NIBBLE™ editorial staff. She is Just Bananas about these products.

 

 

January 2006

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fruits

Just Tomatoes, Etc.!

Just Lovely Freeze-Dried Fruit and Vegetables

 

When we saw that the hefty culinary guide Larousse Gastronomique lists freeze-drying as a food-preparation technique, we knew the line of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables would qualify for THE NIBBLE™. After all, the listing is mere pages away from the entry for fouace, a centuries-old French pastry, and not far from fricassée. The entry even states that “...as it is a costly process, it is used only for quality products.” Spain’s Ferrán Adria, the pioneer molecular gastronomist of El Bulli, introduced the world to freeze-dried foie gras shaved over consommé, and we have personally enjoyed the freeze-dried cuisine at Homaro Cantu’s Moto in Chicago.

For those whose perspective of freeze-dried is limited to instant coffee: we can’t take you to El Bulli or Moto, but we are pleased to introduce you to the Just Tomatoes, etc.! line of dried fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables like raspberries, mango slices, cherries, sliced green onions and tomatoes (of course) are freeze-dried until they become crunchy and irresistible. Not a single ingredient is added to these fruits and vegetables: if the label says Just Strawberries, what you are getting is just strawberries—freeze dried, of course. There are other brands of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, but after tasting all we could find, the Just Tomatoes, Etc.! stands out (for product quality, if not for the company name).

The tub with its cartoon graphics of smiling fruit and vegetables may look familiar—we have seen a few varieties at specialty foods stores, greengrocers, and our local Whole Foods, but never realized the line was so vast. We had previously enjoyed snacking on Just Tropical Treats (a mix of banana, kiwi, papaya and pineapple mix) and the classic Just Veggies (bell peppers, carrots, corn, peas and tomatoes); and always keep a tub of the flagship Just Tomatoes in the cupboard to augment dishes when there’s no fresh tomato on hand. realized that there was much more that could and should be done with these tasty little snacks. We almost didn’t know where to begin: should we toss them into a salad? Sprinkle them over ice cream? There were so many different fruits and vegetables to play with, and so many possibilities.

Just Tomatoes, Etc.! products aren’t listed as ingredients in Larousse, but they would work well in many of the dishes described in it. Below are some of the ways we used these gourmet little morsels.  Note that these are just a few of the varieties of Just Tomatoes, Etc.! available to cooks and snackers.

Baked Potato
Just Veggies mix of carrots, corn, peas, bell peppers and tomatoes. Shown above, a simple baked potato becomes a dazzling side with just a handful sprinkling. Photo by Melody Lan.

Fruits

 

Just Cherries

  • Use in any number of roasted duck dishes or sprinkle on duck confit or salad. Simmer in red wine, pour over vanilla bean ice cream.
Just Cherries

Just Strawberries

  • Mix freeze dried strawberries into crepe batter, or fold into fresh whipped cream and and spread over a slice of warm pound cake. Mix them (or any of the dried fruits) into dry breakfast cereals or sprinkle onto hot cereals.
Just Strawberries

Just Cranberries

  • Perfect for making biscotti, or for sprinkling into a salad of mesclun, goat cheese and walnuts. Add panache to holiday yam casserole by sprinkling cranberries on top before serving.
Just Cranberries

Just Persimmon

  • This special fruit, which can be hard to find even when it is in season, can be used to make incredible salsas. It is delightful mixed into rice pilaf with raisins. We also like it mixed into light sorbets: it retains a nice chewiness.
Just Persimmon

Vegetables

 

Just Corn

  • Mix into cornbread batter, or mix with sour cream and spread on top of freshly baked cornbread. Just Corn was one of our favorites for just munching, and it’s a great snack to pack in kids’ lunches.
Just Corn

Just Veggies

  • This well-balanced mixture of carrots, corn, peas, bell peppers and tomatoes is wonderful in soups and stews. They can be used at the beginning of a recipe to add flavor to the stock during cooking, or can be added right before serving to add color and crunch. We loved the way that Just Veggies blended with air-popped popcorn to make a dazzling and low fat snack we could take to the movies.
just veggies

Just Mushrooms

  • A handful of Just Mushrooms makes a world of difference in gravies and sauces. It adds a rich, meaty earthiness that eliminates the need for a lot of salt and other seasonings. It also makes a great mushroom barley risotto.
Just Mushrooms

Just Peas

  • Another very snackable treat right out of the container, Just Peas are a treat that we like mixing into kid-friendly foods like pasta, chicken noodle soup and macaroni and cheese. It’s one way to make sure that little ones (and some big ones) eat something green!
Just Peas

Just Crunchy Onions

  • All the flavor of freshly-cut onions with none of the tears or clean-up. With Just Crunchy Onions you can create a great onion soup, enhance salads and pastas, and dress up a boring baked potato.
Just Onions

There are dozens more flavors of fruits and vegetables to choose from on the Just Tomatoes, Etc.! website and in supermarkets nationwide, and many more uses for these little fruit and vegetable bites. Portable, easy to keep in the car, lockers, backpacks, and desk drawers, they are one of the easiest ways we've encountered for both kids and adults to easily eat their recommended five-to-nine servings a day of produce.

JUST TOMATOES, ETC!
Freeze-Dried Fruits and Vegetables

18 Fruit Varieties Plus 7 Organic Varieties
10 Vegetable Varieties Plus 6 Organic Varieties

  • 3/4 Ounce Snack Bag
    $1.75 and Up
  • 3-Ounce Ziplock Bag
    $3.65 and Up
  • 4-Ounce Tub
    $4.50 and Up
  • Half-Pound Tub
    $8.50 and Up
  • Prices Vary by Fruit/Vegetable

Purchase online at JustTomatoes.com

Shipping and tax additional. Prices and flavor availability are subject to change. Other sizes and containers are available. Also available at supermarkets nationwide.

Bagel
Just another bagel becomes a garden bagel fantasy with the Just Veggies mix of carrots, corn, peas, bell peppers and tomatoes. Photo by Melody Lan.

                                                                           

© Copyright 2005-2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their respective owners.

 



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