Navitas Naturals, a company that packages organic superfoods, offered to send me samples to try way back in May. I was expecting to try their new product, nori powder, but I received three packages — dragon fruit, cacao nibs and nori powder — and all I can say is it's a good thing they sent all three. First the good news.
I was familiar with cacao nibs and nori, but dragon fruit was new to me. According to the Navitas Naturals Web site, dragon fruit has "unusual nutrition benefits including omega 3’s, protein, iron, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support hydration. The Dragonfruit has an unusually strong nutrition profile to match its bizarre appearance. This tropical superfruit is a source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, vitamin C, protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B, phosphorus and iron. Dragonfruit also contains many antioxidants including complex phytoalbumins and lycopene. It is a bonus that the fruit is low in calories, and it’s comprised of complex carbohydrates that can easily be broken down by the body."
It was chewy and delicious, sweet but not too sweet, and slightly crunchy from seeds — in a good way. I loved it, and didn't bother to use it for anything other than a straight-out snack. Great tasting in an interesting and unusual way, it was quite unlike anything else I've eaten, and hard to describe.
The first time I ever had cacao nibs was in the rain forest in Ecuador, and much to my dismay, my opinion popped out of my mouth uncensored. "Tastes like dirt," I said. Not that I'd ever tasted dirt, but the unsweetened nibs had an earthy, raw vaguely-chocolate-like flavor that took me by surprise. Earthy. I grew to enjoy it, but my initial reaction was a bit harsh.
The Navitas Naturals Web site says, "Cacao nibs are made from pure cacao beans that come straight out of the tropical cacao fruit. Cacao was a culinary treasure to Mesoamericans for thousands of years and touted as the "Food of the Gods" for its superior nutritional profile and exceptional flavor. Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs are crunchy chocolate just as nature intended, in an easy to use and versatile form."
I prefered to make things with the nibs rather than eat them straight, though I did eat some. I made two kinds of chia pudding with almond milk, dates, chia and cacao nibs — maybe banana, too. In the first one I added the whole seeds for a traditional chia pudding — one with a little crunch. And, in the second I ground the seeds first to get a smoother, more chocolate-pudding-like texture — my preference. Delicious.
According to the Navitas Naturals Web site, "Cacao Nibs are loaded with antioxidants. In fact, cacao is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet! Cacao also contains fiber and a number of vital minerals - especially magnesium and iron. An incredibly complex food, cacao also contains unique and potent chemical alkaloids including anandamine, theobromine and phenylethylamine."
All the more reason to add them to my morning smoothie — my favorite use of the nibs. The cacao nibs add a layer of rich, satisfying chocolate flavor to fruit smoothies. I only added a teaspoon or two so the package lasted a long time. I'll probably have to buy more because I'm extremely fond of the smoothies.
This brings us to the nori powder, and I have to be honest here, I am not yet a fan. Nope. Not a fan at all. Not even close. The weird thing is I love nori. I use the whole sheets for shushi, wraps or just plain. I also have toasted nori snacks that I eat like candy.
The Navitas Naturals press release says "Navitas Naturals Raw Nori Powder is made from premium Nori seaweed grown in the Sea of Japan. Offered in a 3-ounce re-sealable bag for $19.99, this new product is certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher, vegan and raw.
To make this organic superfood powder, nori fronds are sustainably harvested in the Sea of Japan and then pressed, dried and milled to a fine powder. All of the processing is done at low temperatures to maintain nutritional integrity, flavor and its status as a raw food. Navitas Naturals nori is hand-selected for top-grade quality and flavor, and it’s carefully inspected and rinsed.
Like most seaweed, nori is a low-calorie food with an abundance of bioavailable nutrients. By weight, nori contains more than 40 percent protein – the highest of any seaweed. Nori is also a rich source of important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and lignans. In particular, it provides A and B vitamins, iodine, carotene, calcium, iron and zinc. The bioavailability and digestibility of nori’s many nutrients are enhanced by its naturally high fiber content.
Nori Powder’s salty-sweet and complex flavor is a fine example of Umami, which is known in Japan as the “5th taste,” and is defined as savory and mouth-watering. This delicious, easy-to-use powder adds a seaweed flavor and nutrition boost to soups, salads, green smoothies and many other recipes."
Sounds great, right? And I'm sure it is, but something about the concentrated fishy flavor just isn't working for me at the moment. I sprinkled nori powder onto a bowl of pasta and veggies, and I ate it, but it didn't make me happy. I'm disappointed in my attitude, and I'm hoping I'll eventually come around, but for now, I'll leave the consumption of nori powder to you.
The Navitas Naturals nori powder press release came with a recipe for popcorn, which I haven't tried. If you do, let me know how it tastes. In the meantime, I'll be munching dragon fruit and cacao nibs.
|photo credit: Navitas Naturals Web site|
- 2 tsp Navitas Naturals Nori Powder
- 1 tsp Navitas Naturals Coconut Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup organic Popcorn Kernels
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
Note: I've been popping corn with coconut oil for a long time now, and it works great. We have a Whirley Pop stove top popcorn maker that we found in new condition at Goodwill. I've seen others there on occasion so I think they show up regularly. Ours is decrepit now and could never be donated, but it still works great. We use 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to 1/4 cup of raw popcorn and it pops perfectly. The coconut oil gives the popcorn a wonderful flavor. I tried to convince my husband to make the nori popcorn for this post, but he refused. Unlike me, he hates nori.
The Navitas Naturals products were sent to me free of charge. All opinions are my own, obviously.