3 Reasons To Eat More Cranberries (You’ll Be Surprised)Written by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, December 19th, 2016

Sure, cranberries are good, especially when they’re not gelatinized into a formidable side dish, but do you know exactly how good? Recent research suggests that the humble cranberry could pack more of a punch than you know. This holiday favorite may offer a host of unexpected benefits beyond its already impressive nutritional profile. Here are a few reasons why we love delicious, organic cranberries.
cranberries-dried-organic-yogurt-toppings

Cranberries fight bacterial infections.

This may not come as news since cranberry pills and juice are commonly used to treat the bacterial infection that leads to uncomfortable urinary tract infections. Now scientists are discovering that the berry’s bacterial-fighting powers could be beneficial for treating other types of bacterial infections (think, strep throat, food poisoning caused by e. coli and meningitis). The phytochemicals in cranberries disrupt pathogens’ ability to move about the body and adhere to other cells.

Cranberries can protect your pearly whites.

Proanthocyanidine, a compound found naturally in cranberries, is shown to prevent plaque. This is the sticky substance that naturally collects on teeth, traps acid and leads to tooth decay and gingivitis. Proanthocyanidine is so beneficial for dental health that doctors are currently working on a mouthwash featuring the compound. Consider adding 100 percent cranberry juice to your diet to reduce plaque by up to 50 percent.

Cranberries contribute to gut health.

If you’re not familiar with the gut microbiome, it may be time to get better acquainted. This mini-ecosystem in the body is made up of thousands of microbes, which play a big role in regulating the health of the immune system and brain. These microbes also help the body balance energy and use carbohydrates and fat. Research shows that cranberries may support microbiome health by strengthening gut defense systems and protecting against infection – meaning they can help keep many important systems running smoothly. That’s big!

To get the most out of your fruit, avoid cranberry products that contain high-fructose corn syrup or unhealthy sweeteners.  Made In Nature Organic Cranberries are moist, sweet and free of refined sugars. We add just a touch of apple juice concentrate so you can snack in confidence.

If you need suggestions for cranberry snacking beyond grabbing handfuls from the bag, here are our favorite recipes.

Cranberry Mole
Granola with Cranberries and Raisins
Dried Apple Cranberry Conserve
Dried Cranberry & Apricot Braised Lamb Chops
Cranberry, Oatmeal & White Chocolate Cookies

#SnackOutside and Win!Written by Susan Thanavaro | Thursday, August 18th, 2016

This summer, we’re fueling your adventures with Made In Nature Supersnacks.
Whether you’re climbing up a mountain or spending the summer practicing your favorite yoga pose, we want to see where our organic Supersnacks take you!

Made In Nature #SnackOutside Contest

Enter our #SnackOutside sweepstakes for your chance to win a prize pack that includes:

  • A Topo Designs backpack of your choice
  • A $500 REI gift card
  • Our favorite Made In Nature Supersnacks

Here’s how to enter:

1. Get outside and go on an adventure (don’t forget to bring along your favorite Made In Nature snacks). Snap a picture of how our #Supersnacks fuel your adventures.

2. Share your photo with #SnackOutside and tag @madeinnature for your chance to win!

3. Make sure you follow @madeinnature on Instagram!

 

Sweepstakes entry 8/10/16 through 9/5/16 11:59pm. Official rules and restrictions can be found here.

Three foods to always buy organicWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

We get it. Buying organic is expensive. If you’re on a budget, (and, who’s not?) it can be tough to always opt for products that carry the certification. Luckily, going organic isn’t an all or nothing proposition. By just starting with the foods your family eats regularly, you can significantly minimize their exposure to harmful pesticides, ingredients and hormones. To help you get started, here are 3 easy organic swaps well worth a few extra pennies and a healthier self.

Apples. The forbidden fruit is best left untouched if not organic. Apples regularly top the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list—the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues. Check here to see if any of the produce you regularly purchase made an appearance this year. Of course unless it’s organic, all fruits and vegetables are sprayed with potentially toxic herbicides and pesticides. Beyond the produce aisle, consider your family’s exposure to juices and frozen foods. We think the benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables should always outweigh any potential costs which is why all Made In Nature products are 100 percent Certified Organic.

Peanut Butter: Before you smear peanut butter on that organic apple, double check to see that it’s also certified. Conventional peanuts are notorious for being high in pesticides and riddled with aflatoxin a carcinogenic fungus. You don’t have to worry about these concerns with organic peanut butters which are also typically lower in added sugar and free from hydrogenated oils.

Beef. How about growth hormones and antibiotics with that steak? If you’re eating conventional beef there’s a good chance your meat contains traces of both. Approximately two-thirds of U.S. cattle are given growth hormones. The EU banned the importation of hormone-treated meat back in 1988 due to potential health risks, so why is it still available here? Milk from hormone-treated dairy cows is associated with an increase in IGF-1, a hormone considered to be a high risk factor for breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers.

Inhumane living conditions for cattle necessitate the use of antibiotics which are given regularly as a preventive measure. Experts suspect our consumption of livestock antibiotics may be one cause for the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria—also known as superbugs.

Avoid these concerns by (you guessed it) simply looking for the organic seal.

Bananas aren’t part of the dirty dozen, so why buy organic?Written by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Every year the Environmental Working Group outlines its list of the “dirty dozen.” No, this isn’t a throwback to the 1960’s classic—you know what we’re talking about. This dirty dozen is an annual list of the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues. The idea is, if you’re not buying organic produce already, you should at least look for the USDA Organic seal on the top 12 offenders. The list varies from year to year but usually thin-skinned produce like peaches, apples and celery make an appearance. Bananas have never been included (that we know of) thanks in part to their thick, peelable skins which, in theory, minimize pesticide exposure. But is this really true? We did our own research and discovered three compelling reasons why organic bananas are worth it.

  1. Social impact nightmare. Conventional bananas are sprayed with synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. Yes, this is just as bad as it sounds—but not just for you. The workers on many conventional plantations are often exposed to these toxins. This leads to a host of health conditions including skin diseases and kidney failure. A lawsuit was filed just last year against Dole Food Co., and Dow Chemical Co. by more than 1,000 Latin American banana plantation workers for injuries linked to pesticide exposure.

  2. Not so thick skin. But are those chemicals really a big deal if you’re just going to peel the skin anyway? Yes! The toxins used to grow conventional bananas are not just on the outside. They leach into the soil where the fruit is grown. So even when it’s peeled, you’re still ingesting some of them. No thanks. Organic farmers use natural fertilizers like manure and seaweed, and rely on insect predators rather than pesticides to keep pests and weeds at bay.

  3. Better for you, better for the environment. Organic foods are just better for you. Ongoing studies have shown a connection between pesticides in foods and their nutrient content. You guessed it–organic foods rate higher. But organic is not only better for your health, it’s also better for the planet. Fertilizers and pesticides make their way into the soil and water and eventually the ocean. These contaminants in our waterways are leading to ocean dead zones and blue-green algae blooms that are so dense they can be fatal to marine animals and humans.

At Made In Nature, we’re proud to work only with organic farmers to grow the best tasting, organic fruit on the planet. Our Dried Unsulfured Bananas are tree ripened in the sun with no added sugar or artificial preservatives. Sweet rounds are guilt-free snacking at its best. In fact, our dried bananas are so good they just won Delicious Livings 2013 Best Bite Award for best raw food! So, you know that when you get bananas from us, they’re the best.

 

Figs make everything taste better—10 ways to use themWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Summer is here which means we’re dreaming up all the ways we can dress up vanilla ice cream to cool off from the heat and enjoy this season. Sure, sprinkles and chocolate sauce are nice, but in the Made In Nature kitchen, we prefer to be more creative (and healthy) with our desserts. The blank slate of vanilla is perfect for showing off everything from slivered almonds to our new favorite, sautéed figs.

Here’s an easy recipe for our favorite sautéed figs, but it doesn’t just stop at ice cream and appetizers. Here are 10 other ways to incorporate figs into your summer diet.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZsSM_x45wc

Fig Bruschetta: Toast baguette slices. Top with sautéed figs and goat cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle with chopped olives. Broil until nuts begin to brown. Sprinkle with favorite herb. We like fresh Thyme.

Figgy Ice Cream: Top your favorite vanilla bean ice cream with sautéed figs. Sprinkle with pistachios for delightful crunch.

Fig stuffed pork tenderloin: Slice pork in half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Place between plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a mallet or heavy skillet. Spread fig preserves and blue cheese over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around outside edges. Roll up the pork like a jelly-roll, securing with twine as you go.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 450° for 20 minutes.

Crunchy fig, endive spears: For an easy appetizer, separate endive spears and dress with fig preserves, blue cheese and walnuts.

Goat cheese, arugula pizza with figs: Top pizza crust with olive oil, goat cheese and sautéed figs. Broil until cheese begins to bubble. Take out and top with thin slices of prosciutto and caramelized onions. Let cool slightly and top with fresh arugula. Buon appetito!

Fig ricotta: Top ricotta cheese with sautéed figs, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with thyme for a classic Italian breakfast.

Grilled chicken salad with figs: Top spinach with grilled chicken breast slices. Add toasted walnuts, blue cheese and diced figs. Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Yogurt with figs: Top Greek yogurt (we like plain, Vanilla works great as well) with figs, crushed pistachios and a drizzle of honey.

Linguine with figs and pancetta: Sauté radicchio with prosciutto and diced figs. Add mixture to linguine, toss with feta cheese and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil if the pasta is dry.

Chicken with fig sauce: Puree sautéed figs using a food processor and adding water as needed to desired texture. Serve on top of grilled or roasted chicken sprinkled with finishing pepper and rosemary for garnish.

 

What else can you do with figs? We think the possibilities are endless. Tell us about your favorite recipe in the comments section

Make your own preserves, with no sugar added!Written by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Oh, the delight of sinking your teeth into a buttery biscuit smeared with homemade jam.  Grandma (and maybe even mom) made it a tradition to preserve seasonal fruits so you could enjoy strawberries and peaches year round but in today’s go-go-go world, who can spare the time?  Well, with this done-in-a- snap recipe, you do! Beyond the lip-smacking delight of homemade preserves spread on well … anything, here are a few other reasons doing it yourself can’t be beat. Mango Preserves

 1.     Quality Control. We know exactly what fruit is going into our preserves (USDA Certified Organic of course) and exactly how much added sugar (none please!). If your family is as big a fan of jam as we are, these are two areas you’ll want to monitor. When you buy non-organic jam you can bet that in addition to the fruit listed on the label, each jar contains a host of pesticides. It’s also likely full of sugar since the sweetener is a natural preservative.  Because fruit is naturally sweet, we don’t think it needs much.

2.     Diversity. Craving plum preserves? How about mango or cranberry? They’re all within reach since many of our dried fruits can be used to easily prepare preserves that aren’t found anywhere else. Then the real fun begins—pairing and savoring. How about fig jam with brie on walnut toast points? It’s at your fingertips.

 3.     Cool points. Life just seems to come a little easier for some. Who doesn’t want to be in that crowd? Make your own preserves to earn instant wow-factor points and make your mark as a do-it-yourself gift giver. Jars can be paired with cheese and wine in a festive gift basket, or even better deliver a bag of your favorite Made In Nature Fruit and the below recipe. Now, that’s the gift that truly keeps giving.

Making your own preserves is as easy as 1, 2, 3–which you’ll see in the below video. We love these homemade mango preserves used as salmon topping or simply eaten as is. Enjoy!

 

Non-GMO Project VerificationWritten by Wendy Goldner | Monday, June 17th, 2013

Made in Nature Announces Non-GMO Project Certification

All products are verified as meeting the highest GMO avoidance standards

BOULDER, Colo. (May 21, 2013) – As the leading and longstanding brand of premium, organic dried fruit Made In Nature is committed to providing the highest quality, best-tasting products available. The company is thrilled to have taken the additional step of supporting the Non-GMO Project and obtaining their Non-GMO Project verification.

Non-GMO Project Certification verifies that all of Made In Nature’s organic ingredients are produced in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard, including ongoing testing of any potential risk ingredients. The Non-GMO Project is currently North America’s only independent verification for products that are made according to the best practices for GMO (genetically modified organism) avoidance. GMOs have never been properly tested for human consumption and have yet to be proven safe.

Made In Nature supports sustainable organic farming not only because it produces the best tasting fruit on the planet, but because it is safe and healthy for their consumers as well. They are committed to developing products without the use of GMOs and will hold their products accountable to ongoing testing of GMO risk ingredients. Made In Nature believes their customers have a right to know what is in their food and deserve the healthiest food available.

Made in Nature, the #1 organic dried fruit brand in the U.S., keeps its promises to its customers and Mother Nature taking the path less chosen in dried fruit production and never uses added sugar, sulfur or artificial additives, colors, flavors, genetically modified organisms, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.

 

For more than 25 years Made In Nature has remained committed to environmental stewardship, helping to convert thousands of acres of land to organic farming. Many of these farms use renewable energy and provide shade and habitat for endangered species. By procuring only 100 percent certified organic fruit from dedicated organic farmers from around the globe, the company believes they offer the best tasting and most nutritious dried fruit on the planet. Made In Nature is available nationwide at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Costco and leading natural, specialty and regional grocers. Made In Nature also offers organic fresh produce and organic artisan frozen pizzas.

Welcome! Now sit back and relaxWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Life should be more like a bowl full of cherries, don’t you think? Let us help.

We know you’re busy. Between shuttling the kids between practices, figuring out what’s for dinner and maintaining your own health and wellness goals, who couldn’t use a few resources to boost sanity?  We hope to be that extra hand that helps you keep it all together. That’s why our 100-percent organic dried fruits use only the best tasting, most mouth watering ingredients. How do we do it? We work with the most dedicated family of farmers to grow the highest quality fruit – fruit that shines with the ‘taste of place’ like no other. So, when you support Made In Nature, you’re doing your part to nourish not only your family but also the planet. And of course, we’re always striving to offer more. We’ve been brainstorming in what other ways we can connect with and be a resource to you, and  we think our new blog is just the ticket.

To make life just a little less hectic we’ll provide quick tips (gleaned from our many trial and errors) and information to motivate, empower and streamline how you approach your day-to-day. We’ll keep it short, sweet and fun, so you can easily absorb and implement what works best for you. Here’s a sneak peak at what we’ll be covering:

Quick and easy recipes. Impromptu dinner party? No problem. Nutrient dense kids snacks? We got you covered. Our quick and easy recipes will streamline mealtimes and make you look like a whiz in the kitchen. Don’t worry, we don’t need the credit.

Tips to promote balanced living. Why you should buy organic bananas if they have such a thick peel? How can you easily manage clutter to make your space a true sanctuary? Get the answers to inform your decisions in the home, kitchen, grocery store and more.

The down low on free stuff.  We love getting free samples and suspect you do as well! Our contests and giveways will be announced here, so check back often. We promise to make it worth your while.

We love any excuse for a celebratory treat so to kick things off, and keep cool in June’s heat, we’d love to share this festive and easy freezer staple to sustain you through the summer.

Look for a new post each week and please submit any feedback. We’re here for you!

Fruit-infused Ice

 Ingredients:

1/3 cup Made In Nature Organic Pineapple and/or Made In Nature Organic Mangos (diced)

Ice Tray of your choosing

Water (or juice, i.e lemonade, punch or lime juice)

 Directions

1. Dice the mangos and/or pineapple. Make sure the pieces are small enough to fit in your ice tray mold

2. Drop diced fruit pieces into the ice tray mold

3. Fill ice tray with water (or juice)

4. Place the tray in the freezer for about 8 hours or until frozen

5. Serve with your favorite drinks and enjoy!