Are you ready for a history lesson of yumminess?
Granola or granula (as it was first called) has been around in some form since Dr. James Caleb Jackson started making at his sanitarium in upstate New York. That was around 1863, right in the middle of the Civil War. It wasn't until 2009 that granola was perfected when Jessica's Natural Foods was born. You see, Jessica's husband found out he had a gluten intolerance. One of the things he missed the most was granola. It was extremely hard to find granola that was gluten free to begin with and was made in a gluten free facility. So Jessica took matters into her own hands and the world is better for it. And she wasn't done there. Welcome to the latest installment in the series "Products I Love" - Jessica's Natural Foods.
The World's Best Granola
I am not kidding around when I say her granola is the very best out there. When a friend shared with me some of their Chocolate Chip granola, I was really impressed - just as good as eating a chocolate chip cookie. Then I tried the Chocolate Hazelnut and it was even better - wow - the chocolate explosion you get in your mouth working in harmony with the hazelut.
Both their Cherry & Berry and Vanilla Maple are what you want to have on top of your morning yogurt. Parfait perfection!
Why are these granolas so good? Starts with good ingredients, doesn't it always. Take a look at the ingredients on the bag (Chocolate Chip) - "Certified gluten-free rolled oats, semi-sweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), organic honey, brown sugar, expeller pressed sunflower oil, ground flax seed, water, coconut, maple syrup, pure vanilla extract, sea salt, cinnamon, tocopherols (natural vitamin E)." I know what all those ingredients are. Jessica has managed to put them together in the perfect amounts.
Before we get into more details, I wanted to let everyone know we are doing a giveaway right now with Jessica's where you can win (1) one of any Jessica's products of your choice. Head on over to the giveaway.
Now let's continue with the granola.
What Sweeteners are Used in the Granola?
Instead of just regular old sugar, Jessica uses brown sugar, maple syrup and organic honey to sweeten her granola. If you taste just plain old white sugar it just tastes sweet not much to it - feel free to pause for a moment to go and taste some sugar right now, no one is looking. No much flavor huh?
Honey, maple syrup and brown sugar taste sweet as well but their is more flavor to them. Far more. With the honey you get the essence of the flower the bees used to pollinate. The maple syrup brings that caramelizes sugar taste that is so unique it's hard to describe to those that never had maple syrup. Brown sugar has the deep bold flavor of molasses added to it. Adding all of these to the granola is going to enrich the flavor. It's like your building layers of flavor. It's the small things that add up to big flavor.
I Love The Chunks
I also love that you have some good sized chunks of granola in each bag, it's not just a bag full of crumbs. I hate when you get granola that is all crumbs, it's like a lumb of coal in your Christmas stocking.
More than Just Granola
Jessica has expanded her line to feature more than just granola. She was having difficulties getting her child to drink plain white milk. However she didn't want to just add the syrups that were already at the stores. She wanted some better. She came up with a strawberry and vanilla syrup. Both are organic. The flavor of the strawberry is so much fresher and realer (yes I am using that as word as applies here). The strawberry syrup has, get this, strawberries in it! No fake strawberry flavor. This stuff is legit. No fake color either. She adds organic beet juice to the product some color. It does a bite of color but won't make your milk glow pink and that's alright with me.
The vanilla syrup contains real organic vanilla extract. None of that fake vanilla flavor that is derived from wood pulp - yes that is true, look it up. If you are a coffee drinker, it belongs in your next iced coffee. Or drizzle it over a fruit salad.
Gluten Free Flour
There is a growing number of gluten free flours on the market. Seems like a new one is popping up at the grocery store every week. Jessica wanted to see one that wasn't just full of rice flour and starches. Why? I asked Jessica and she said that "We avoid rice because there’s increasing concern regarding the arsenic levels in rice especially for people that are gluten-free." (Learn more about this issue by visiting this website or this one). Instead she opted to make a flour that contains Whole grain teff flour, oat flour, tapioca flour, ground flax seed, xanthan gum. This flour can be used just as you would any all purpose flour.
What is Teff Flour?
Teff is a grass that is natived to Ethiopian. The grass produces seeds. These seeds can be turned into teff flour. Teff does not contain the protein gluten like wheat does. It is good for us as well as it adds iron and fiber to our diet. You can feel a little better about making your next batch of choclate chip cookies with it. Jessica's makes a Gluten Free Chcolate Chip Cookie Mix as well as a cake and muffin mix that uses teff flour.
Why Xanthan Gum?
Without gluten in a flour, you won't have the building blocks needs to for a good rise in a dough. Often xanthan gum is added to give the end result a better texture. Xanthan gum is created when sugar is fermented by a certain bacteria. Often it is derived from corn. If you are concerning about eating GMOs, Jessica's products are made with certified non-GMO ingredients.
Where to Find Jessica's Natural Foods
Whole Foods Market has been a big supporter of Jessica's. It often goes on sale there. They have a handy dandy store locator on their website to direct you to a store in your area. Their products are available on Amazon as well.
You can also go directly to the source and visit their website to buy their products directly from them. They have a web special where you can buy 6 products and then get 2 free. How awesome is that.
And don't forget to enter our giveaway!!!!