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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Friday, October 14, 2016

Trader Joe's Sacha Inchi Seeds

I'm not really sure how to pronounce the words "sacha inchi." Even less sure how to pronounce the scientific name for this particular plant: plukenetia volubis, which apparently approximates Latin for "cross between starfruit and green pepper with somewhat hairy leaves" according to good ol' Wikipedia. I kinda had to stop reading after that part of the leaves.

But I did read just long enough to learn the seeds of the sacha inchi plants can be referred to also as things like "Incan peanuts." Okay, I can get around that, thank you...doesn't explain how this bag of Trader Joe's Sacha Inchi Seeds came from Thailand, but I'll just roll with it.

I'll admit I never heard of these before, and so while feeling brave enough to try them, I'll admit feeling a bit apprehensive too. I mean, these seeds are huge! Bigger than a shelled peanut, or at least any I'm familiar with. They smell like peanuts, though. And taste like peanuts, and crunch like roasted peanuts...with a healthy mix of balsa wood for good measure. You know, what they make those flimsy wooden toy airplanes out of.

That sounds like an insult, but really, it's not. It's just the only way I can think of describing them. They're lighter and munchier, and kinda crispier in a way, than a peanut, which one would expect from a seed, I guess...yet so much else about them is so nutty that it makes nuts the easier comparative. There's an earthy, roasty taste, accented by a respectful dose of sea salt, with a somewhat muted munch. The center of the seed is hollow which wasn't entirely expected and it definitely affects the bite, though how is tough to quantify.

And...there's an aftertaste. This is going to make me sound crazy, I'm sure, but when I mentioned it to not just Sandy but also a coworker or two, they understood: there's a vague fishy flavor. It's light and not unpleasant, but it's almost like a briny aspect one could expect from a slab of fish is somehow present, too. As I ate more, or quickly chased a handful of seeds with a drink of water, that sensation diminished. Could be taste bud acclimation, Could be me coming to my senses. Not sure which way to say, but there you have it.

This sack a' sacha seeds cost no more than few bucks and is a welcome addition to my work snack drawer. The protein and fiber in there make a good little boast to hold me over til lunch or dinner. There's also some superfood powers ascribed to these particular seeds, so take what you will from that. I'm happy just to have them as is for a snack. Just don't ask me to pronounce it.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sacha Inchi Seeds: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

7 comments:

  1. Just a botanical note: peanuts aren't actually nuts; they're legumes (seeds). Yup, gonna pick these up today...

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    1. OK, bought and tasted. Pretty good snack, zero net carbs to boot. I can't quite place the extra flavor (balsa? maybe), but it was almost a tiny hint of seaweed (like your "fishy" aftertaste, but I didn't get it as an aftertaste). Maybe a hint of pumpkin seed? Anyway, tasty and a very healthy crunchy snack. Not cheap tho; an 8-oz bag costs $6.99!

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    2. update: these are still cheaper than most places, where they tend to sell for around $10 or more for 8 oz.

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    3. You're right about the vaguely woody/fishy flavor. Also, I thought they tasted like a crunchy ball of plain TVP mixed with PB2. Not bad, but not a whole lot there. I will enjoy them for the crunch and the protein, but I won't buy them again.

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  2. TVP is textured veggie protein; it's a powder that's used as an alternate for meat/dairy protein (think smoothies, faux-meat products, etc). I think it's usually made from soy. PB2 is a brand of powdered peanut butter.

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