Stock Up: Expand your culinary horizons with these new flavors

Jackfruit and mangosteen-pineapple vodkas from Slapjack. Courtesy of Paul Cheney

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Jackfruit and mangosteen-pineapple vodkas from Slapjack. Courtesy of Paul Cheney

What better time than early in the year to try something new?

Jackfruit and mangosteen-pineapple vodkas from Slapjack

Flavored vodkas are growing in popularity, and fruit flavors and combinations are one of the fastest growing categories. Just over a year ago, Slapjack introduced two new tropical fruit-flavored vodkas: jackfruit and mangosteen-pineapple, produced by Dalton Distillery in North Georgia. Jackfruit, mangosteen and pineapple are widely eaten in Africa, India and southeast Asia, but jackfruit and mangosteen are just starting to be enjoyed as fresh fruits here in the U.S. These vodkas provide a 70-proof way to give them a try. Both flavors of vodka are sweet and potent; our favorite was the mangosteen-pineapple. The simple way to enjoy these vodkas is as shooters, but, like the mixologists at Clermont Lounge and Lingering Shade Social Club, the home bartender will have fun dreaming up cocktails that best put the tropical flavors to use.

$15.99 per bottle. Available at Acworth Tobacco Liquor, Bullock’s Wine & Spirits Warehouse in Woodstock, Cobb Liquor Store, Doraville Liquor Store, Eagles Landing Bottle Shop, Grapes and Grain in Johns Creek, Holiday Bottle Shop in Forest Park, Hop’s Grain and Vine in Marietta, Jax Superstore in Buford and Stonegate Bottle Shop in College Park.

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Guava snacks from Orga Foods. Courtesy of Orga Foods

Credit: Courtesy of Orga Foods

Guava snacks from Orga Foods. Courtesy of Orga Foods

Credit: Courtesy of Orga Foods

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Guava snacks from Orga Foods. Courtesy of Orga Foods

Credit: Courtesy of Orga Foods

Credit: Courtesy of Orga Foods

Guava snacks from Orga Foods

Meital Atias founded Los Angeles-based Orga Foods to create nutritious snacks that are vegan, kosher, gluten-free, organic, and keto- and paleo diet-friendly. Her company produces a line of savory and sweet “super crisps,” in flavors like spicy barbecue and spirulina. But, what caught our eye were the guava snacks. We are huge fans of guava, and combining that tropical sweetness with walnuts, almonds and flaxseed was a genius move. These sweet, chewy squares are great on their own, but also nice when paired with cheese (we matched them with manchego). And, of course, if you want to go fancy, guava and cream cheese are a very traditional pairing. These snacks are high in fiber and protein, and deliciously filling.

$7 per 4-ounce package. Available at orga-foods.com.

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Banana blossoms from Upton’s Naturals. Courtesy of Upton's Naturals

Credit: Courtesy of Upton’s Naturals

Banana blossoms from Upton’s Naturals. Courtesy of Upton's Naturals

Credit: Courtesy of Upton’s Naturals

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Banana blossoms from Upton’s Naturals. Courtesy of Upton's Naturals

Credit: Courtesy of Upton’s Naturals

Credit: Courtesy of Upton’s Naturals

Banana blossoms from Upton’s Naturals

Are you a fan of artichoke hearts? If so, you might enjoy the texture of banana blossoms, the flowering tip at the end of a bunch of bananas. Like an artichoke heart, the blossom is made up of tender, tightly packed layers. Upton’s Naturals lightly cooks the blossoms in a brine of lime juice and sea salt. The company suggests the texture is like seafood, and offers recipes for frying them, like fish fillets, in a traditional batter made with sparkling water, or cooked in an air fryer with a drier coating. You also can use them in soups or salads. You can just open the package and get started on your favorite recipe. We decided to fry ours, and served banana blossom tacos. They were quite the conversation piece. Upton’s Naturals has been offering meat alternatives — like seitan, jackfruit and, now, banana blossoms — for more than a decade, long before eating vegan was cool.

$3.99 per 7-ounce package. Available at Sprouts, Whole Foods Market, and at Amazon and veganessentials.com. uptonsnaturals.com.

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