Trader Joe's fans across the world, I say welcome to my brand new series. Each season of the year (so that is 4 times!) I will share the best items at Trader Joe's that I am finding that you need to check out. Hopefully you just happen to be in the store when you are reading this post, so you can just snatch up these items right now!
I decided to do this series due to the popularity and feedback I have received from my Costco Food Finds series. I also have my Difference in Trader Joe's honey article has been quite popular. So why not?
For each season I will try to highlight 10 items that are my favorite. I try to pick things that are particularity in season that the time, but will also feature everyday items that I think are either great buys or great products.
Trader Joe's Winter Food Finds 2017
Dried White Peaches | $4.99 for 16oz
These peaches are great because they are no sugar added. White peaches are sweeter than yellow peaches to begin with. They don't pack as strong of a flavor as yellow fleshed peaches. However these are a lot better than the peaches that are imported from Chile fresh this time of year. Those peaches are picked so green and have to be shipped so far away that they rarely even soften up right. I have seen a case of fresh peaches that just came into a grocery store already a month or more away from their packing date. Stick to the dried peaches for now.
Origin Virgin Coconut Oil | $5.49 for 16 oz jar
For coconut oil you want to choose something that is the least processed. The label should feature words like "cold-pressed, virgin, unrefined". The Trader Joe's jar does and for the reasonable price (or remarkable as the sign says) of $5.49 a jar. I will be doing a full review of this oil very soon, so stay tuned.
Chocolate Chunks | $2.29 for 10 bag
I love this chocolate. These are even chunks of chocolate. They are just random chunks of chocolate. It's the perfect choice when you are needed chocolate for a recipe. Plus it is cheaper as well. It is already chopped for you so why buy a bar for more money that you have to still chop up (of course unless it's some super high quality stuff). These chocolate chunks are easy to melt. I have used it to make chocolate truffles and of course chocolate chip cookies. It is not too bitter, but not too sweet exactly what you want from a semi-sweet chocolate. I try to always have it on hand so at a moment's notice I can whip some something good. We also have been known for giving a piece or two to our kids for good behavior or my son for having a dry diaper over night.
Cara Cara Navel Oranges | $3.99 for 3 lb bag
The late winter is the best time to buy Cara Cara Navel oranges. I like these oranges because they are less acidic than other oranges. They also have a unique flavor, with hints of berry. I highly recommend picking up a bag or two now before the season ends in about a month or so.
Yuzu Hot Sauce | $4.99 for 3.4 oz jar
You may not have heard of Yuzu fruit before. It is a type of citrus that has a very flavorful rind. It's main use is it's zest. You don't really eat the fruit. It is full of big seeds. It is used a lot in Asian cuisine. I have heard it's flavor to be described as somewhere between a grapefruit and a mandarin, with hints of rosemary. As you can imagine that flavor would pair nicely with a hot sauce that would be great on poultry or fish. This is a new item at Trader Joe's. Yuzu is trendy right now, so maybe we will see it show up in more products soon.
Mull of Kintyre Scottish Cheddar Cheese | $7.99/lb
So I didn't get this post out until March 2nd (insert whatever excuse you think sounds good). You might be able to still find this spotlight cheese. Their spotlight cheeses are special cheeses that Trader Joe's highlights each month and it usually available for just the month or shortly afterward. This cheddar has a nice balance of sweetness and nuttiness to it. It's not overly sharp. I am not a fan of really aged cheddar, but this one worked for me, even at 14 months of age. I really enjoyed it on a cracker.
Frozen Fire Roasted Sweet Corn | $2.49 for 16 oz bag
Corn is no doubt a summer veggie. It is never as good as it is then. I think most of us still eat the stuff year around. I can never recommend canned corn, unless someone pays me to (and then I will quickly pretend I never did!). Frozen corn is a viable option. I like this fire roasted frozen corn. It has more character than just the regular old stuff. Good addition to winter chili or to tacos. When it first came out I liked it more. I think the quality has gone down a little. The texture is not as good. But still work giving a try if you haven't yet.
Pinata Apples | $2.79 for 2 lb bag
This is one of my favorite winter eating apples. It has decent to good flavor most of the time. It is still crisp. A better option than Honeycrisp this time of year, which are still available but don't hold up as well. When Pinata are good they have a nice tropical like flavor. Try to choose apples that have more an orange-ish undertone. Those seem to be the most flavorful. The Pinata variety is grown by Stemiit Fruit and packaged for Trader Joe's.
Blood Oranges | $2.49 for 2 pound bag
You can tell the blood oranges are getting good when the skin begins showing more red pigment. That means the fruit within is going to be dark purple. Blood oranges are great to use in recipes, like this sherbet recipe, or this granita, or strawberry-blood orange jam. As you can tell I am excited about using blood oranges. I am thinking a blood orange marmalade is in the mix in the near future as well.
Did you know that there are multiple varieties of blood oranges? Most of the time you find the Moro variety. But there is also the Taracco which I believe is far sweeter and has more flavor. There is also a new type of blood orange that is a cross between a Clementine and a blood orange called a Ruby Tango.
Trader Joe's has a new honey from the Himalayans that is raw, organic, and fair trade. Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer had this to say about the honey " This honey is foraged from naturally-occurring, wild beehives found deep in the remote forests of Northern and Central India, and on the Indian side of the Himalayan Mountains. Organic Fair Trade Raw Himalayan Honey is off-white in color, creamy, and rich with vibrant flavors of sweet butterscotch. Sounds pretty good. Another nice addition to the Trader Joe's honey line-up.
What products are getting your blood pumping at Trader Joe's. Leave a comment below and make sure to sign up for my Trader Joe's specific newsletter. I will share with you shopping tips, product reviews, and the next Trader Joe's find directly to your inbox.