I’ll be the first to admit that our sample jar of Jem almond butter sat on the tasting table for a few days before I ventured to try it. At Great Ciao, we are always looking to procure the tastiest grub we can get our hands on, but we often find that products laden with health claims seldom provide the benefit of great flavor to match. Jem’s nut butters have all of the labels that make us wary – they are: USDA organic, made with sprouted almonds, raw, vegan, non GMO, high in vitamin E, made without processed sugar, made with superfood ingredients, and fair trade to boot. Fortunately, their nut butters are only exceeded in their nutritional value by their flavor. When I finally tasted the coconut cardamom almond butter, the sample jar mysteriously found its way from the public tasting table to the privacy of my office desk – the jar was gone within a few days.
Business partners Tim Moore, Jen Moore and Nik Rueth initially set out to make raw chocolate bars. They purchased a stone grinder from India traditionally used for making curry. The same gentle heat (never exceeding 118°) and long grinding time that draws out the maximum flavor in curry is perfect for slowly grinding cocoa beans, or as they soon discovered: almonds. With her background as a nutritionist, Jen knew that almonds are one of the healthiest nuts. Unfortunately, un-sprouted almonds contain enzyme inhibitors that keep us from being able to absorb all of their nutritional value. The three began experiment using their stone-grinder to make small batches of almond butters, and soon redirected their focus from chocolate to full-time nut butter production.
The twenty-four hour grinding time is unique and yields silky smooth texture. Each flavor is made with a short ingredient list of the best stuff they can find. Raw California almonds are soaked in a Himalayan sea salt brine, and are sprouted in-house. The whole vanilla beans are of the Madagascar Bourbon varietal, and coconut palm sugar is used as an unrefined, low-glycemic sweetener that adds a nutty caramelized flavor.
In addition to their 6oz jars, Jem also makes gallon sized food service tubs by special order – for restaurant or home* use.
*If you like them as much as I do.
Cinnamon Red Maca Almond Butter
The first signature almond butter from Jem, this blend of sprouted almonds, warming cinnamon and energizing raw maca tastes like shopping mall cinnamon buns, with the benefit of making you feel good about yourself afterwards. Enjoy it stirred into oatmeal, or slathered on crispMinnesotaapples.
Coconut Cardamom Almond Butter
Katie’s favorite – sprouted almonds are slowly ground with shredded coconut, fragrant cardamom, and tropical lucama fruit (which is chocked full of Vitamen B and tastes like sweet potatos and maple syrup.) Try it on toast with sliced bananas – or straight from the jar on a spoon.
Maqui Camu Super Berry Almond Butter
Jem’s creamy almond butter is blended with two super-berries from Patagonia and theAndes. Loaded with anti-oxidants and nutrients, this fruity spread will have you ready to climb either mountain range – or both depending on how much of it you eat.
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Jem’s chocolate hazelnut spread is their singular departure from almond butters, and contains sproutedOregonhazelnuts and cacao nibs for a deep chocolate flavor. It an be enjoyed as a rectifying counterbalance to vanilla ice cream, or much like their other flavors – on a spoon straight out of the jar.