Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Trader Joe's Orange Flavored Cranberries

Here's a semi-apology in advance of the rest of today's review. Admittedly, Trader Joe's Orange Flavored Cranberries are far from the sexiest foodstuffs that have been reviewed on this here blog. Originally, I was planning a longwinded exposition on the unexpected and unlabeled sheer cherry-ness (no, not cheeriness, but definitely cherry-ness) and the rare implementation of the double ampersand on the Blueberry & Pomegranate Flakes & Clusters Cereal, but Nathan beat me to it by about 8 months. Though we lack a perfect track record, we try avoid doubling up on product reviews. Wanna see where we goofed? Check this and this review of strawberry lemonade, or this one and this one going over the malabari parathra. Since it's been over a week since last stopping at TJ's (the shame!) when we loaded up on a lot of old trustworthy reliables, I had to scour the depths of my pantry to find something, anything to get reviewed, so here we are. At least I'm not making up fictitious conversations abut cans of coconut milk again.

Regardless, these are some pretty good little fruity guys. I kinda want to refer to them as "Nature's SweetTarts" but that's probably a little bit inaccurate on a few different levels. Meh. I've never had (or don't remember) ever having Craisins, but these are probably pretty similar. There can't be too much difference from one dried cranberry to the next. If you're not too familiar, think raisin, except a little tougher and chewier, and tasting like, of all things, a cranberry. Go figure.

Tell ya what, though: These are some serious flavor-packed dried berries. It's much more than what I expected. It kinda takes a few bites to really get the orange flavor flowing, but once that citrus tide hits, it's there to stay, in just about equal power to the cranberry. Think super juicy mandarin for a good flavor comparison. I honestly can't eat more than a small handful or two before being done with them - the juxtaposition of sweet and tart is just too potent for mass consumption by their lonesome. But mix them in some muffins or trail mix or a salad or whatever else you'd like, and they'd make a pretty welcome flavo-burst, methinks.

One thing I wonder, though, and I didn't notice them until I snapped the picture of the ingredients and nutritional info: for all this orange flavor, there's no Vitamin C. I'm no expert on such things, but if there's "natural orange and citrus flavor", that means something like some juices, and doesn't that have to transmit some Vitamin C? Unless it's something like some "natural" orange flavor Fun Dip or something. That just strikes me as a little odd.

Anyways, TJ's orange cranberries are a fairly regular resident of our pantry. Sandy regularly makes oatmeal for a breakfast on the go on weekdays, and she usually opts for plain oatmeal with some of these and a smal handful of almonds. I thought she picked these up all the time because she really, truly enjoyed them, but come to find out, that's not the case. " Eh, I usually get them because they're about the cheapest dried fruit I like," she said. I think a sackful costs about two bucks for a seemingly generous cup and a half, so it's not a bad deal. She gives them a three, while I see that and raise half a spoon.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Orange Flavored Cranberries: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons   


  1. As far as your comment on vitamin C.. from what I was told in reference to the ingredients that there has to be a certain percentage in order to post it.. There probably is Vit. C in it but very little.

  2. Yep, that's what I was going to say. It's probably like cooking sprays or "butter" sprays, which claim to have zero calories and fat, even though they're made of oil. In a serving there's not enough to count.

  3. I love these and never make a trip to TJ's without grabbing some. They are perfect for muffins or for a pop in any salad. Reasonably priced compared to Craisins also.

  4. They're great with toasted pecans.

  5. ha that's the same reason I bought these in the first place, I wanted some dried fruit to add to my oatmeal and these were the cheapest thing I could find

  6. I like them in my oatmeal too. Last fall, I put them in some oatmeal with brown sugar, butter, and pumpkin pie spice. Pretty good.

  7. You guys HAVE to try the Hake en Papillote. I bought it about a month ago, threw it in the freezer, and totally forgot about it until just now. Microwaved it for 5 minutes and I'm SO impressed, its really really good. Really flavorful. Probably one of the best frozen dishes I've had at TJ's.

  8. I usually have the TJ's Just a handful of nuts and chocolate morsels snack pack as my afternoon snack and I like to add in these cranberries, so good and keeps me going until dinner.