It is time again for another edition of Costco Food Finds. This month's post is going to be Sweet! and Spicy! I am going to talk about a few sweet items from the produce department. We are going to talk spicey as well including some foods with spices in them, and a quick lesson on what spices are best to buy and which ones you should avoid at Costco. So get ready for something sweet and something spicy 🙂
Sweet, Sweet Produce
There wasn't a whole lot of items I wanted to highlight from the produce section this month. For me, this is the time of year to go apple picking and enjoy the fall harvest at the farmer's market. I still did want to point out a couple things.
New Crop Gala Apples | 5.5 lbs for $6.99 (1.27/ln) | 49118
New Crop Honeycrisp Apples | 5.5 lbs for $16.99 (3.09/lb) | 99161
Whenever you see the words "new crop" that means you are getting this year's of whatever that product may be. In this case apples. Apples are held in cold storage for up to a year. They may still be edible near the end of that time but flavor and crispiness are long gone.
The new crop of Gala and Honeycrisp apples are now in season. This is the best time of year to buy both of these apples. Galas are always best in September, even better if you get them right off the tree yourself. You will have to decide whether or not Honeycrisp are worth twice the price (see why Honeycrisp apples are more expensive)
Gold Kiwi | 2 lbs for $5.99 (2.99/lb) | 35884
For those of you that are new to my Costco Food Finds series, you haven't yet heard me rave about Gold Kiwi. They are worth raving about. I think their taste is far superior to their green cousins. In fact I didn't think I even liked kiwi until I had a Gold Kiwi as well as kiwi berries. At our house we slice them in half and enjoy them with a spoon.
Some Like It Spicy!
Now it's time for the spicy side of this "Sweet & Spicy" edition of Costco Food Finds. Let's take a look at a couple of products that have some spice to them.
Rana Italian Sausage Ravioli | $8.79 ($3.91/lb) | 805151
Italian sausage isn't necessarily spicy as in hot but contains spices. Fennel is the main spice I identify with Italian sausage. Other spices may be included as well. There are hot versions of the sausage. Anyway, I love Italian sausage and I love ravioli. Putting the two together. Woah. Mind just blown! Right now I am turning out a lot of batches of tomatoes sauce from tomatoes from my garden. There is a meal right there waiting to happen. Costco tends to shift through different flavors of Rana Ravioli, so grab this while while they have it. Ever had any of their ravioli? Please leave a comment below and tell us about it.
Maple Leaf Cowboy Jack Cheese | $5.99/lb | 36452
Maple Leaf cheese out of Wisconsin make some awesome cheeses. You might have seen their cranberry cheddar around Thanksgiving. They also make the best Monterrey Jack cheese I have ever had. This Cowboy Jack cheese is just waiting to be made in a quesadilla, maybe with some chicken or beef included.
Kiolbassa Jalapeno Beef Smoked Sausage | $4.99/lb | 44303
Or maybe that cheese would be good on top of a jalapeno beef smoked sausage from Kiolbassa - a company out of Texas that has been cranking out sausage since 1949. They make their meats in small batches, cooked over Texas hardwoods. No MSG, fillers, or cereals included. Even thought we have past the unofficial official end of cookout season, you could still fire these up on the grill. As I write this it is over 90 degrees here in Michigan, so definitely not too chilly to grill (more like too hot to grill!)
To continue our talk on spicy things I wanted to give my thoughts on the spices available at Costco and what you should buy and what you should avoid buying. Here is a list of spices that I found at my local Costco. Note that I did not include any type of spice blends or mixtures. I do not recommend those types of products. They are usually more expensive, contain more salt than needed, and also have added sugars you don't need at all. I am done with having your own spice blends that you make yourself at home. Nothing wrong with that to help season food after a busy day.
Spice, Buy or Don't Buy
Himalayan Pink Salt, Buy
Mediterranean Sea Salt, Buy
Whole Tellicerry Black Peppercorns, Buy
Granulated California Garlic, Buy
Dried Basil, Buy
Dried Oregano, Buy
Ground Pepper, Don't Buy
Crushed Red Pepper, Don't Buy
Ground Cumin, Don't Buy
Chopped Onion, Don't Buy
Smoked Paprika, Don't Buy
Let me explain a few of these. Salt is well salt, it lasts forever, so a big container is a fine way to save money. If it is a whole spice like peppercorns than by all means buy it and grind it yourself a home. You can either do this with a pepper mill, a grinder meant for coffee beans, or the old fashion mortal and pestle. Whole spices can keep up to 2 years without losing any of their flavor. Ground spices tend to loose their flavor fast. Six months is about all the time you'll have them good for, especially something like cinnamon. I don't recommend buying them in bulk as they won't be very strong for long. Plus who knows how long they have been seating on those cold, metal Costco shelves.
I did say it was ok to buy granulated garlic. This is one that a lot of use all the time so you can go through the container more quickly than say smoked paprika which I don't recommend buying in bulk quantities.
The dried herbs depending on the size of the container. The Basil and oregano container was smaller than the parsley. Plus I think more recipes call for fresh parsley than dried and a lot of recipes used dried basil and oregano. Dried herbs will lose their punch too over time, so don't buy more than you could use in a year.
What spices have you bought at Costco before?
For Your Pantry
Acetum Organic Apple Cider Vinegar | 2 lbs for $5.69 ($.84/oz) |
Here is an organic apple cider vinegar that would be a great edition to your pantry. It includes the "mother". The mother is the bacteria that is used to turn the apple cider into vinegar in the first place. Some vinegar has this filtered out. You lose a lot of the health benefits when you do that. Opt to select vinegar with the mother included. Since vinegar is basically food already "gone bad" it's something you can buy in bulk to save money as long as it is something you use regularly.