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Pepper Jelly Chicken Wings

Pepper Jelly Chicken Wings

These pepper jelly chicken wings are the perfect combination of that sweet, sticky, heat we all love. And the best part… they couldn’t be easier! Whether it’s game day entertaining or just your average wing Wednesday, pepper jelly chicken wings will have everyone asking for more.


How to make Pepper Jelly Chicken Wings

One of the best parts about this recipe is that it’s not really even a recipe. It’s more of just a suggestion, which trust me, you’re gonna love! You don’t need any fancy equipment like an air frier, but if you have one you can totally use it. You can bake them, grill them, broil them or deep fry them. I’ve done it all and you really can’t go wrong, no matter how you choose to cook your wings. The secret… a little bit of baking powder and of course our Beer Blasted Jalapeno Jelly!

Tossing chicken wings in baking powder will help them get very crispy, which of course it what you want in a chicken wing. Why? Baking powder is alkaline and breaks down peptide bonds, allowing the skin to get more brown and crisp. Science!

You’ll want about 1 teaspoon of baking powder, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper for each pound of wings. Dry your wings really well with some paper towel, then mix together the baking powder, salt, and pepper. Toss with your wings, making sure they are all evenly coated. Once you’ve done that feel free to cook your wings any way you’d like. When the wings are finished cooking simply add them to a large bowl with a couple of scoops of Beer Blasted Jalapeno Jelly and toss to coat. The heat from the wings will melt the jelly and leave you with beautifully pepper jelly glazed chicken wings.

If you want to get a little fancy, you can brush some jelly directly on the wings during the last few minutes while baking or grilling the wings, flip and do the same to the other side. This will caramelize the sugars in the jelly which is delicious, but totally optional. Like I said before, this isn’t really a recipe, just more of a suggestion. If you’ve never made chicken wings at home, pick which ever method seems easiest, or try them all and let us know your favourite.

Pepper Jelly Chicken Wings

Pepper Jelly Chicken Wings

These pepper jelly chicken wings are the perfect combination of that sweet, sticky, heat we all love. And the best part… they couldn’t be easier!
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs Chicken Wings
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Taste of the Okangan Beer Blasted Jalapeno Jelly
  • (For a milder heat, try our Jalapeno Gin Jelly, and at Christmas or Thanksgiving try our Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly.)

Instructions
 

For all methods:

  • Use paper towels to pat the wings dry and place them in a large bowl. It's important to dry them REALLY well! Combine the salt, pepper and baking powder in a small bowl. Then sprinkle the seasoning over the wings, tossing to evenly coat.

To Bake:

  • Adjust your oven rack to the upper-middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack (I use a cooling rack) on top. Spray the rack with non-stick spray. Arrange wings, skin side up, in single layer on prepared wire rack.
  • Bake on the upper middle oven rack, turning every 20 minutes until wings are crispy and browned. The total cook time will depend on the size of the wings but may take up to 1 hour.
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer wings to bowl and toss with Taste of the Okanagan Beer Blasted Jalapeno Jelly.

To Grill:

  • Heat a gas grill to 425 degrees F and lightly oil the grates.
  • Arrange the wings over direct heat. Cover the grill and cook the wings for 15 to 20 minutes, turning over every 5 minutes, until they are fully cooked through (until internal temperature of 165F is reached).
  • Transfer wings to bowl and toss with Taste of the Okanagan Beer Blasted Jalapeno Jelly.

To Air Fry

  • Arrange the wings on the air fryer tray or in the air fryer basket. Then generously spray them with oil.
  • Set the temperature to 380 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then flip the wings, spray with olive oil, and air fry for another 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked through (internal temperature of 165F).
  • Transfer wings to bowl and toss with Taste of the Okanagan Beer Blasted Jalapeno Jelly.
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Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Pizza

Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Pizza

Forget tomatoes… This grilled pie combines savory and sweet with caramelized peaches, oozing mozzarella, salty prosciutto, and fragrant basil. All grilled together on your backyard BBQ, so you can skip turning on the oven.


Forget the oven! The easiest way to cook pizza at home is on your BBQ. Grilled pizza is a backyard staple for us in the summer time (or really all year round) not just so we don’t heat up the house by turning on the oven, but because most ovens can only reach a temperature of around 450°F, where are your BBQ can get closer to 600°F. While this isn’t quite as hot as a typical pizza oven, it’s the next best thing.

What you’ll need for this Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Pizza

Good pizza is all about simple quality ingredients. Less really is more in this case so you want to make sure you’re using the best ingredients you can get your hands on, and be careful not to overload your pizza.

  • Pizza Dough – I used frozen store bought pizza dough, which makes things super easy. Ask your local pizzeria, or Italian market, they’ve usually got some in their freezer section. If you’ve got a favourite dough recipe though, go ahead and use that. No matter what dough you’re working with, let it come to room temperature (you want it to be malleable), and be sure to flour anything the dough touches—your counter, your hands, your peel, if you have one—to prevent sticking.
  • Peaches – We want fresh peaches for this recipe, frozen ones just wont cut it. Wash them, and slice them, but don’t bother peeling them.
  • Prosciutto – Again since there isn’t much to this pizza make sure you’re using quality prosciutto. Trust me you’ll taste the difference.
  • Mozzarella – I used two types of mozzarella for this pizza. Fresh, sliced mozza, spaced across the crust and shredded low-moisture mozza to top it all off.
  • Taste of the Okanagan Jalapeno Gin Jelly – We’re using this in place of your typical tomato sauce. It brings out the sweetness of the peaches with just a little bit of kick.
  • Basil – Top it all off with some fresh torn basil

How to grill pizza

Grilling pizza is not difficult, but it does require a bit of preparation and some timing. You’ll want to get your grill as hot as possible, and have all your ingredients ready to go before you start. You’re going to cook the pizza right on the grates, and it’s going to come together pretty quick.

While you’re BBQ is heating up I like to grill the peaches. Simply brush them with a little olive oil and place them directly on the grill. Leave them for about 5 minutes or until you’ve got some nice grill marks, and then flip them over. Cook for two more minutes, and then transfer them to a plate and set aside. Close the lid on your BBQ and let it come the rest of the way up to temperature.

Gather the rest of your ingredients beside your BBQ and stretch your dough into about 10-12 inch rounds, don’t worry they don’t have to be perfect. Once your BBQ is nice and hot wipe down the grates with a bit of oil, and place your stretched out dough right on the grill. The trick to grilled pizza is that you cook the plain dough first, then flip it and top it.

Grill the dough for about 2 minutes, than flip it and spread the Taste of the Okanagan Jalapeno Gin Jelly all over the grilled side. Spread your fresh mozzarella around the pizza add the grilled peaches and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella. Cook until the cheese has just melted, then remove from the grill and top with prosciutto and torn basil leaves. Drizzle with a little melted Jalapeno Gin Jelly and serve.

Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Pizza
Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Pizza

Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Pizza

Forget tomatoes… This grilled pie combines savory and sweet with caramelized peaches, oozing mozzarella, salty prosciutto, and fragrant basil. All grilled together on your backyard BBQ, so you can skip turning on the oven.
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs pizza dough
  • 250 g fresh mozzarella
  • 150 g low moisture (pizza) mozzarella
  • 1 peach cut into thin wedges
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup Taste of the Okanagan Jalapeno Gin Jelly
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat your BBQ to as high as it will go
  • Brush peach slices with oil and place them directly on the grill. Leave them for about 5 minutes or until you’ve got some nice grill marks, and then flip them over. Cook for two more minutes, and then transfer them to a plate and set aside. 
  • Gather the rest of your ingredients beside your BBQ and stretch your dough into about 10-12 inch rounds, don’t worry they don’t have to be perfect. Once your BBQ is nice and hot wipe down the grates with a bit of oil, and place your stretched out dough right on the grill. The trick to grilled pizza is that you cook the plain dough first, then flip it and top it.
  • Grill the dough for about 2 minutes, than flip it and spread the Taste of the Okanagan Jalapeno Gin Jelly all over the grilled side. Spread your fresh mozzarella around the pizza add the grilled peaches and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella. 
  • Cook until the cheese has just melted, then remove from the grill and top with prosciutto and torn basil leaves. Drizzle with a little melted Jalapeno Gin Jelly and serve.
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Roasted Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini

Roasted Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini

Don’t let cherry season pass you by without trying the perfect summer appetizer. This Roasted Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini is a beautiful balance of sweet and savory with fresh Okanagan cherries, roasted with our Sangria Wine Jelly, fresh thyme, and creamy goat cheese, all piled on toasted baguette slices.


While straight off the tree is my favourite way to enjoy cherries, you can take your fruit to the next level by roasting it! It’s an incredible way to bring out the natural sweetness and add some flair to any dish. These roasted cherries would be delicious with grilled chicken or used to top greek yogurt & granola. Today we’re using them is this easy crostini appetizer which is sure to impress all your guests.

Roasted Cherries with Sangria Wine Jelly

What you’ll need for Roasted Cherry Crostini

When it comes to summer appetizers we’re all about simple around here. Just a few quality ingredients that let the fresh produce shine. These crostini really are incredibly easy to make but they look beautiful and feel elevated — AKA appetizer goals! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bread – A simple French baguette is the best option.
  • Cherries – We’re using sweet, dark cherries for this recipe. We’re lucky enough to live in the Okanagan and have access to beautiful local cherries this time of year, but check your local farm market or even the supermarket as BC cherries get exported all over the world.
  • Sangria Wine Jelly – We’re using this to glaze the cherries and add a little caramelization.
  • Goat Cheese – This creamy and tangy cheese balances out the sweetness, but if you’re not a goat cheese fan you could absolutely use ricotta or even brie instead.
  • Fresh Thyme – This is growing in abundance this time of year in my herb garden and I like the warm earthiness it brings to the cherries.
Roasted Cherries with Sangria Wine Jelly

How to make this summer cherry appetizer

As I’ve said before, this recipe really couldn’t be easier. The most difficult (or rather time consuming) part is pitting the cherries. If you don’t have a cherry pitter you can use a knife to cut the cherreis in half, and gently remove the pits, or check out our quick hack on pitting cherries with a straw and an empty wine bottle.

Once you’ve got your cherries pitted toss them with the Sangria Wine Jelly and a pinch of salt, then spread them on a single layer on a baking sheet. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme and roast in a 400°F oven for about 10 minutes. While the cherries are roasting slice the baguette into 1/4 inch slices and brush with some olive oil. Lay them out on a baking sheet and toast them on the top rack of the oven. You can do this at the same time as the cherries are roasting (or ahead of time) as they should take about the same amount of time. When the bread is nicely toasted remove it from the oven and let cool. The cherries can be transferred to a bowl with any of the remaining juices. Discard the thyme sprigs.

When you’re ready to assemble. Spread a generous layer of goat cheese on the toasted baguette slices. Top with the roasted cherries, drizzle with the juices and sprinkle a little more fresh thyme.

Tip: Room temperature goat cheese is easier to spread, so take it out of the fridge while you’re roasting your cherries and allow it to soften.

Roasted Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini
Roasted Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini

Roasted Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini

This Roasted Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini is a beautiful balance of sweet and savory with fresh Okanagan cherries, roasted with our Sangria Wine Jelly, fresh thyme, and creamy goat cheese, all piled on toasted baguette slices.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 baguette sliced on the bias about 1/4" thick
  • 2 cups cherries pitted and sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup Taste of the Okanagan Sangria Wine Jelly
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup goats cheese apx 1 tbsp per slice
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Toss the cherries with the Sangria Wine Jelly and a pinch of salt, then spread them on a single layer on a baking sheet. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme and roast in a 400°F oven for about 10 minutes. 
  • While the cherries are roasting slice the baguette into 1/4 inch slice and brush with some olive oil. Lay them out on a baking sheet and toast them on the top rack of the oven for about 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Spread a generous layer of goat cheese on the toasted baguette slices. Top with the roasted cherries, drizzle with the juices and sprinkle a little more fresh thyme and a touch of salt.
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Summer Fruit Salad with Cranberry Strawberry Vinaigrette

Summer Fruit Salad with Cranberry Strawberry Vinaigrette

Nothing says “Hello Summer” quite like this gorgeous summer fruit salad. Packed full of height of the season cherries, refreshing watermelon, tart raspberries and sweet strawberries, all topped off with our Cranberry Strawberry Vinaigrette.


Jump to Recipe

It’s hot, hot, hot here in the Okanagan, and I’ll take any excuse not to turn on the oven! Especially when all the fruit is ripe and ready for picking. This beautiful fruit salad isn’t just for looks though, it’s so refreshing and so much better than old school fruit salads where everyone just picks out the good bits. This salad is all the good bits!

What you need to make this summer fruit salad

  • Watermelon – Summer watermelon is the best for this recipe. It will make it extra sweet and delicious. Here are a couple tips for picking a good one:
    • Your watermelon should feel heavy for it’s size (this means it’s super juicy).
    • It should have a nice yellow (almost the color of a slightly ripe banana) splotch on it from where it was resting on the ground.
    • Try knocking on it – it should provide a nice “bounce” and have a hollow sound.
    • It shouldn’t be shiny.
  • Strawberries – You will need strawberries washed and sliced for this recipe.
  • Raspberries – Keep them whole and just toss them right in.
  • Cherries – This is probably the most time consuming part, pitting all your cherries. But if you want a quick little hack, check out this instagram reel for an easy way to pit cherries.
  • Fresh mint – This help bring out the freshness in this salad. Don’t have mint? No problem, you can easily swap in some basil to switch it up.

A few tips when making this salad

  • Eat this summer fruit salad immediately after you make it. As this salad sits in the fridge, the fruits continue to release moisture, making the salad soggy and watery. It still tastes good, but the textures are best when served fresh.
  • To add a note of saltiness, feel free to add crumbled feta cheese (vegan or regular) to this salad.
  • We love the monochrome pink/red berries and watermelon in this salad, but you can absolutely switch it up by adding in different berries like blueberries or blackberries, or even add some grapes or peaches.


Summer Fruit Salad with Cranberry Strawberry Vinaigrette

Summer Fruit Salad with Cranberry Strawberry Vinaigrette

Nothing says “Hello Summer” quite like this gorgeous summer fruit salad. Packed full of height of the season cherries, refreshing watermelon, tart raspberries and sweet strawberries, all topped off with our Cranberry Strawberry Vinaigrette.
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups Watermelon cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1.5 cups Strawberries Sliced in half or thirds if large
  • 1.5 cups Raspberries
  • 1.5 cups Cherries pitted and halved
  • Fresh mint leaves torn or finely sliced
  • Taste of the Okanagan Cranberry Strawberry Vinaigrette

Instructions
 

  • Prep watermelon and berries and place in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over top and lightly toss. 
  • Garnish with some torn mint.
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Sheet pan shrimp tacos with Fiesta Pear Salsa

Sheet pan shrimp tacos with Fiesta Pear Salsa

Ready to shake up taco night? These sheet pan shrimp tacos with Fiesta Pear Salsa will definitely do the trick. Quick, easy and healthy, if you’re bored with your usual taco night options, it’s time to switch things up.


Jump to Recipe

Sheet pan shrimp tacos with Fiesta Pear Salsa

This simple dish takes almost no time to make, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights. All you need is a handful of ingredients and you can have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. Simply toss shrimp with our South of the Border Taco Seasoning, roast for a few minutes until pink and juicy, then pile them into warm tortillas, filled with mashed avocado and crunchy slaw. Top with Fiesta Pear Salsa and you have your answer to Taco Tuesday. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make these sheet pan shrimp tacos:

  • Shrimp – I like to keep a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer for easy weeknight meals. They thaw quickly under cold running water, making them the perfect last-minute dinner solution.
  • South of the Border Seasoning – This all in all-in-one taco season brings instant flavour to shrimp, chicken, beef and even veggies. 
  • Tortillas – Flour or corn, store-bought or homemade you can use which ever type you prefect. We like to lightly toast ous in a dry skillet, but you could also warm them in the oven. 
  • Slaw – While the shrimp are roasting you can whip up this simple slaw. Just mix shredded cabbage (or coleslaw mix) with a quick dressing made from sour cream, lime juice and our South of the Border Seasoning.
  • Fiesta Pear Salsa – This sweet, tangy and Spicy Salsa is unlike anything you’ve tried before.
  • Optional Toppings – You can customize these tacos with your favourite toppings like fresh cilantro, pickled red onions, sliced jalapenos, crumbled cotija (or feta) cheese, or serve them as is. Either way you won’t be disappointed.
Making creama for South of the Border Coleslaw

HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP TACOS:

Here’s a quick overview of how to make these sheet pan shrimp tacos. Full instructions included in the recipe below…

Cook the shrimp: Preheat the oven to 425. On a sheet pan, toss the shrimp with lots of South of the Border Seasoning and arrange them on a single layer. Roast for about 8-10 minutes.

Prep the slaw: While the shrimp are roasting, prep the slaw. Mix sour cream with lime juice and South of the Border Seasoning then toss with shredded cabbage (or coleslaw mix). Feel free to add shredded carrots and chopped cilantro, but if you’re in a hurry like I usually am, straight up cabbage is all you need. 

Assemble the tacos: Mash some avocado straight on to the warm tortillas. Load on a generous serving of the slaw, add a few shrimp and spoon over some Fiesta Pear Salsa. Top with some crumbled cotija cheese, cilantro or any other toppings then dive in!

Fiesta Pear Salsa the perfect topping for Shrimp Tacos

Sheet pan shrimp tacos with Fiesta Pear Salsa

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Shrimp peeled and devined
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Taste of the Okanagan South of the Border Seasoning
  • 1-2 Avocados
  • Tortillas
  • Cotija Cheese (or feta)

South of the Border Slaw

  • 2 cups Shredded Cabbage
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp Taste of the Okanagan South of the Border Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Fresh squeezed Lime Juice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450° F
  • On a baking sheet, toss the shrimp with olive oil and Taste of the Okanagan South of the Border Seasoning. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 6-8 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked. Set the shrimp aside.
  • While the Shrimp is cooking make the slaw. Mix the sour cream, lime juice and Taste of the Okanagan South of the Border Seasoning together in a small bowl. Pour desired amount over shredded cabbage and toss. You'll have extra dressing, but you can add extra to your tacos.
  • To assemble your tacos, mash some avocado on the warm tortillas. Load on a generous serving of the slaw, add a few shrimp and spoon over some Fiesta Pear Salsa. Top with some crumbled cotija cheese, cilantro or any other toppings then dive in
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Cucumber Salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette

Cucumber Salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette

Loaded with fresh herbs, this easy cucumber salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette is light and refreshing and perfect for your next picnic or bbq.


Jump to Recipe

Cucumber Salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette

It’s that time of year when backyard BBQs are in full swing and I’m always looking for a side dish that’s not only delicious, but that travels well. Something that’s cool and refreshing and not loaded down with mayo. Enter this crisp, light, and creamy cucumber salad. Farmers market cucumbers, lots of fresh herbs like dill, mint and parsley, some chickpeas for added protein and some red onion for bite and crunch. It all gets tossed in a healthy yogurt-based dressing that is so easy thanks to our Gaga for Greek Seasoning. If you’re looking for a summer side dish that goes just as well with juicy burgers as it does with grilled salmon, you’ll definitely wanna try this recipe.

What you need to make Cucumber Salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette.

Here’s what you need to make this salad

  • Cucumbers – obviously you can’t make cucumber salad without cucumbers, but what kind of cucumbers should you use? We like to use English cucumbers because they have fewer seeds and the skin is nice and thin, meaning you don’t have to peel them. That being said, you can make this salad with pretty much any cucumber you have on hand. If you want to use garden cucumbers you’ll just want to peel them first and scoop out the seeds so that the salad doesn’t become watery.
  • Fresh herbs – most garden fresh herbs will work in this salad, but stick to the soft leafy variety like dill, mint, parsley or cilantro. Save the woodier ones like sage and rosemary for cooking. Just rinse them clean, pat them dry and then pull the leaves from the stems and toss them in whole.
  • Red Onion – Thinly sliced red onion gives some bite to this salad, but if you find raw onions a bit too strong you can soak them in cold water for a few minutes to soften their flavour.
  • Chickpeas – This is totally optional, but we like to add a little protein. You could totally swap this for fresh summer corn, or leave them out altogether.
  • Greek Yogurt – Bright and tangy, Greek yogurt gives the dressing some creaminess, but keeps it light and healthy.
  • Gaga for Greek Seasoning – Next to the cucumbers this is the real star of the show. Our Gaga for Greek Seasoning makes is super easy to whip up this yummy Greek Vinaigrette. It’s also great rubbed on a chicken breast, and brings instant flavour to Greek potatoes.
  • Olive Oil & Lemon Juice – just to round out the dressing and give it a bit more punch.
How to make Cucumber Salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette

How to make this Greek Cucumber Salad

  1. This salad takes a bit of prep. If you have a mandolin it really comes in handy for thinly slicing all the cucumbers, but not to worry and good sharp knife is really all you need. You’ll want to slice the cucumbers about 1/4 of an inch thick, then pat them dry with a paper towel. Add them to a large bowl along with the red onions, chickpeas and roughly chopped herbs.
  2. For the dressing, simply mix together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil and Gaga for Greek Seasoning. You can use an immersion blender, or just whisk it together in a small bowl.
  3. Toss it all together and serve right away, or put it in the fridge to chill for an hour.
Cucumber Salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette

Cucumber Salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette

Loaded with fresh herbs, this easy cucumber salad with creamy Greek vinaigrette is light and refreshing and perfect for your next picnic or bbq.
Prep Time15 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 long English cucumbers
  • 1/2 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill chopped

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Taste of the Okanagan Gaga for Greek Seasoning

Instructions

  • Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slicing all the cucumbers about 1/4 of an inch thick, then pat them dry with a paper towel. Add them to a large bowl along with the red onions, chickpeas and roughly chopped herbs.
  • For the dressing, simply mix together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil and Gaga for Greek Seasoning. You can use an immersion blender, or just whisk it together in a small bowl.
  • Toss it all together and serve right away, or put it in the fridge to chill for an hour.

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Best Before Dates vs. Expiry Dates

Everything you assume about ‘best before’ dates is probably wrong. There are two vital facts to know about ‘best before dates’ on foods in Canada: They’re not standardized, and they have nothing to do with food safety.


Best before dates, what do they really mean in Canada?

Most of us are guilty… every so often we go through the fridge, checking labels and throwing out anything that’s passed the date on the bottom. Maybe you stop to sniff, or take a second look, but more likely than not, you just figure it’s expired and into the garbage it goes.  

We all know on some intellectual level that throwing away food is wrong, but this habit is so ingrained in us that we don’t even stop to check. I mean surely the date on the bottom is more accurate than the good ol’ smell test… or is it?

What does the date on the bottom really mean? Do you know the difference between ‘Best Before’ dates and ‘Expiry’ dates? While they may seem similar at first, a ‘best before’ date is not the same as an ‘expiry’ date.

These labels cause a lot of confusion for Canadian families. People see these labels and incorrectly assume that any food near or just past the ‘best before’ date is expired and no longer edible. This simply isn’t true.  

 ‘Expiration Dates’ refer to FOOD SAFETY while ‘Best Before’ refers to QUALITY.

You’ll only find ‘Expiration Dates’ on products like meal replacements, infant formula, and nutritional supplements, and you should not eat them past their expiry date. [1]

 ‘Best Before’ dates are only required on packaged foods that have a shelf life of 90 days or less, such as milk, yogurt, and bread. They do not guarantee product safety; but rather when your food will be at its peak freshness, taste and nutritional value. Ie. When it’s BEST before.

What does this mean? Well, basically it means that after the best before date has passed, food may lose some freshness and flavour, and the texture or colour may change. That chip might not be as crisp, that sauce might not be as bright, but it does not mean that it is unsafe to eat.

Also remember that best before dates only apply to unopened food. The minute you open that jug of milk or pack of cheese the best before date is irrelevant.

Unfortunately, Canada doesn’t have any standards around determining best before dates, and many products have them that don’t even need them. Most companies arbitrarily determine a date that they feel their product is ‘best before’. There are no regulations or data required to help determine the date.  This confusion means that a lot of perfectly good food ends up in the garbage. And I mean A LOT! Canada is one of the biggest contributors to food waste in the world. It may not seem like a big deal but research estimates the average Canadian household wastes 140 kilograms of food per year – at a cost of more than $1,300 per year! [2]

Why we don’t use best before dates

This is just one of the reasons you will not find ‘Best Before’ dates on our products. Over the years we’ve tried both ‘Best Before’ dates and ‘Packaged on’ dates, and inevitably customers still mistake them for ‘Expiration Dates’ and end up throwing out perfectly good food. Instead, on the bottom of our jars you will find a sticker with it’s Batch Number. This is a unique code we use to track when a product was made and which batch it came from. The code does not resemble a date so as not to be mistaken for an expiry date.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, if you have forgotten about a jar in the back of your cupboard and are unsure, open it. If it smells funky or looks off, throw it out. Use your best judgment, but remember, that little sticker on the bottom was never going to tell you if a product had gone off anyway, it’s only going to tell you when it was ‘Best Before’. If you’re still unsure feel free to contact us with your batch number and we will be happy to look it up for you.


[1] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/general-food-safety-tips/how-read-food-date-labels-packaging.html

[2] https://lovefoodhatewaste.ca/about/food-waste/

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Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

Now that the weather is heating up, it’s the perfect time to whip up a big batch of pasta salad. This Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad is almost no-cook which is perfect this time of year, and it comes together so quick and easy you’ll want to make it all the time. What’s the secret? It’s as simple as opening a jar!

Jump to Recipe
Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

Our Olive Tapenade is not only a delicious dip or spread it works wonderfully with pasta. Swap out your jar of marinara for our Olive Tapenade and you’ve got yourself an easy dressing/sauce that works with both hot, or in this case cold, pasta.  Throw in a few accompaniments like veggies, nuts, herbs, or cheese and put it on repeat all summer long.

How to make Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

The ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

The Pasta – Short cut pasta works best in pasta salad. You want a shape that has lots of nooks and crannies to catch all the dressing. Think farfalle, fusilli or rotini.

The Dressing – This really is the easy part. Simply mix a jar of our Olive Tapenade with some Red Wine Vinegar and olive oil for a simple and tasty dressing. You can pick some up at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market or select wineries and specialty food shops throughout Western Canada. Or of course you can always order online.

The Accompaniments – This is where you get to mix it up and have a little fun. Use what you have in the fridge or play around with different add-ins every time you make it. Today we’re using cherry tomatoes, mixed olives, marinated artichoke hearts, cucumber, pine nuts and marinated bocconcini. We even reused the olive oil from the bocconcini to make the dressing.  If you wanted to make it a little heartier, you could add in grilled chicken, tuna, or even chickpeas would be great.

The ingredients for Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad. - Tomatoes, olives, shallots, artichokes, pinenuts, basil, and mozzarealla

Tips for cooking the pasta

  • Cook it in extra-salty water. Serving food cold tends to mute its flavors, so you want to make sure your pasta is well-seasoned as it cooks.
  • Cook the pasta a little longer. Since you’re not cooking it in sauce and serving it warm, cook the pasta a minute longer than you normally would, but don’t let it get mushy. Pasta gets hard and chewy as it cools, so this extra cooking time will keep it moist.
  • Add the dressing while it’s still warm. If you toss the pasta with the dressing while it’s still a little warm, it’ll absorb the dressing better and be more flavorful.

To make the pasta Salad

Start off by cooking your pasta according to the package instructions. Remember to cook it about one minute longer

While the pasta is cooking you can prep your other ingredients. Mix the tapenade with the red wine vinegar and olive oil. Chop your cucumber, shallots and tomatoes. Toast your pine nuts and tear some pieces of basil so they’re bite sized.

Once your pasta is cooked and drained, combine everything together in a big bowl, toss with tapenade and either serve immediately, or place in the fridge, covered, until you’re ready to eat it.

This is a nice recipe for prepping ahead of time for parties or even work lunches. The pasta holds up really well in the fridge and would be great to make on a Sunday for the week ahead. It actually takes on even more flavor as the salad sits!

How to make Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad
Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad

Now thatthe weather is heating up, it’s the perfect time to whip up a big batch of pastasalad. This Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad is almost no-cook which is perfect thistime of year, and it comes together so quick and easy you’ll want to make itall the time. What’s the secret? It’s as simple as opening a jar!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g Short Cut Pasta
  • 1 jar Taste of the Okanagan Olive Tapenade
  • 2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Shallots finely diced
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • 1 Cucumber diced
  • 1 jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Mozzaralla Balls I like the marinated ones
  • 1/3 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 3/4 cup Mixed Greek Olives pitted
  • 4 Pepperoncini Peppers thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta 1 minute longer than the package directions. 
  • Mix Taste of the Okanagan Olive Tapenade with Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta to a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and pour over the dressing. Toss while it's still warm.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Fiesta Shrimp Dip

Fiesta Shrimp Dip - the perfect dip for easy entertaining


If you’ve been following along here for a while, you might be familiar with our Fiesta Shrimp Dip recipe. It’s definitely a fan favourite and the number one request whenever I’m asked to bring a dish to any sort of function. We’ve shared the recipe a few times, but given everything going on this year, I thought it might be fun to reimagine it in a more Covid friendly way. Not only do the layers look super pretty in the individual glasses, but now you don’t have to share! 

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Fiesta Shrimp Dip

Ingredients

  • 12-16 shrimp cleaned and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 Jar Taste of the Okanagan Fiesta Pear Salsa
  • 150 g shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 125 g Cream Cheese softened
  • 125 g Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp Taste of the Okanagan South of the Border Seasoning
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (sub parsley if preferred)
  • 2-3 green onions chopped

Instructions

  • Melt butter & garlic in a pan and sauté shrimp until cooked through.
  • While shrimp are cooking mix softened cream cheese with sour cream and seasoning mix. Spread evenly on the bottom of your serving dish. This will be your first layer.
  • Next, layer the jar of Fiesta Pear Salsa, on top of the cream cheese layer.
  • When shrimp is cooked, rough chop into small pieces, and layer on top of the salsa. Top shrimp with shredded cheese, and then top cheese with the chopped cilantro and green onions.
  • Serve with tortilla chips.
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Apple Cabbage Slaw

Apple Cabbage Slaw - Top your pulled pork sandwiches or tacos

This fresh take on coleslaw makes a great side dish to cozy fall dinners… but we especially love it on top of our pulled pork sandwiches (see yesterday’s post). Apples and pork are an age-old combination and we love how the tartness from fresh apples mixed with our flavourful Apple Chutney helps cut through the richness of the pork. Plus it’s super easy!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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You can shred your own cabbage & carrots or do what I do and just grab a bag of coleslaw mix from the grocery store. Then just cut a granny smith apple into matchstick pieces and chop up some parsley or cilantro. For the dressing mix 2 parts of Taste of the Okanagan’s Apple Chutney with 1 part Olive Oil and 1 Part Apple Cider Vinegar.

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Apple Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Coleslaw Mix⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple cut into matchstick size pieces⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1/4 cup TASTE OF THE OKANAGAN APPLE CHUTNEY⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

Instructions

  • Mix the coleslaw mix, chopped apple and chopped parsley or cilantro together in a large bow. In a separate bowl mix the TASTE OF THE OKANAGAN APPLE CHUTNEY with the apple cider vinegar and olive oil and then drizzle over the slaw and toss to dress.