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Archive for June, 2012

Garlic – the flavorful bulb – is an essential ingredient in many recipes.  Some studies have shown that garlic can also be good for your health!  Although it’s a pantry staple year-round, garlic is especially popular in summer dishes.  If you haven’t tried fresh garlic, now’s the time to sample the variety of bulbs in season.

Rocambole is a small, compact bulb with streaks of purple skin.  Its pungent flavor is perfect for tomato sauce.  Green garlic is another variety to try.  When it is immature, it resembles overgrown scallions.  With a sweet and delicate flavor, it pairs nicely with broths or seafood.

You’ve probably seen elephant garlic in the grocery stores.  Elephant garlic is the largest bulb but offers the most subtle flavor of all garlics.  It doesn’t overpower other flavors and mixes nicely with stews, soups or salad.

The potency of the garlic will depend on the type and how you prepare it.  The smaller you chop the cloves, the more intense the flavor.  Dishes such as pesto, ailoi, or marinades are best for using the stronger flavored garlic.  Just a small amount is needed in salad dressings or vinaigrettes.  Sauteing it quickly in a little olive oil will soften its flavor.  Roasted garlic is mellow and sweet, providing a wonderful spread for bread.  Garlic scapes, the green garlic stalk of the plant, can be used raw or lightly cooked.  Use them like chives in eggs or on potatoes.

To select the best garlic, look for bulbs that are firm without soft spots or shriveling.  The best size of a bulb is approximately the size of a golf ball, although rocambole garlic may be a little smaller.  Special utensils aren’t necessary to peel garlic.  Simply take a clove and push on it with the flat side of your knife.  Cut off the root end and remove any dark spots or green sprouts.  Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark dry place.  This will prevent it from sprouting.  Whole heads of garlic will last longer than cloves of garlic.  Be sure to refrigerate garlic scapes and green garlic.

Submitted by Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Source:  Consumer Reports, July 2012.  What to buy now:  Garlic.

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As summer kicks in full force more of us will be outdoors heating up the grill.  If you are like me, I don’t want to heat up the kitchen so I head outside with the food.  Some simple steps will keep your food safe.

KEEP COLD FOOD COLD

Keep meat in the refrigerator until ready to go on the grill and then take out only food that will be put on the grill immediately.  Foods spoils quickly as temperatures rise.

KEEP EVERYTHING CLEAN

Make sure you have plenty of clean utensils available for your outdoor grilling.  Never place cooked food on a platter that has held the raw food.  And, don’t forget to wash the thermometer.

COOK FOODS THOROUGHLY

Use a thermometer to check internal temperatures of meat.  Don’t rely on color.  According to USDA research, one out of every four hamburgers turns brown before it’s been cooked to the safe internal temperature.

SAFE MINIMUM INTERNAL TEMPERATURES

· Whole, ground and poultry pieces: 165 °F

· Ground meats, such as ground beef and ground pork: 160 °F

· Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145 °F

allow to rest at least 3 minutes.

Finally, always refrigerate leftover food within 2 hours.  Refrigerate within 1 hour when temperatures rise about 90°F

Author:  Linnette Mizer Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Ohio State University Extension.

References:

Food Safety Information, USDA, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/pdf/barbecue_food_safety.pdf

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The Sun.  We need it for light, to grow our food, and any other number of reasons.  And really, what’s better than a warm summer day sitting outside drinking lemonade?  However, like everything, there’s always a point of too much of a good thing.  Protecting yourself against the sun’s rays is a must.  With skin cancer being so prevalent it is important to be aware of what is involved with sun safety.  The following are the American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) ABC’S of sun safety.

A – Stay AWAY from midday sun.  This is the time of the day when the sun’s rays are at their most powerful.  This occurs between the hours of 10am to 3pm.  Although this is the time of day when many people are out and about, whether at work, running errands, or children playing outside, it is important to avoid exposure to these harsh rays.

BBLOCK the sun’s rays by using sunscreen while outdoors.  Sunscreen should have a SPF or Sun Protection Factor of at least 15.  The higher the SPF the more protection you have against the sun’s rays.  Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours and after activities where you are sweating and/or swimming.  Children as young as 6 months of age should be wearing sunscreen.

CCOVER UP when out in the sun.  You can do this in a variety of ways such as wearing clothes made with tightly woven fabric, wide brim hats (that cover both the neck and ears), and sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays.  This is crucial especially if you work outside and are exposed to the sun.

S – Find some SHADE.  If you are exposed to sun, especially for long periods of time, take a break in the shade.  Also, keep infants under 6 months of age out of direct sunlight.  Use an umbrella over the stroller.

By following the tips above you will increase your chances for a happy and healthy summer.

Source: www.aad.org

Author: Dana Brown, FCS Extension Educator, OSU Extension – Morrow County

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Local Foods – Fresh and Healthy!

Most of us will agree that fresh and unprocessed food is usually a healthier and tastier choice.  Now that we are heading into summer in Ohio, we will have more and more choices when it comes to choosing and using fresh foods that are grown locally. Nothing tastes quite as good as veggies or fruits straight from your own garden or from a local source!

Where are some places that we can find local foods? Here are a few suggestions:  Farmers Markets; on-farm markets and roadside stands; produce auctions; branded sections in grocery store; or, your own garden!

Whether produce is harvested from the garden, or purchased at a grocery or farm market, there are certain things that you can do to maintain both safety and quality.

First, all produce should be thoroughly washed before you eat or preserve it. This includes both produce grown at home or purchased from a grocery store or farmer’s market. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking. Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. When you are washing your produce, never use soap, bleach or commercial cleaners.  Plain cold running water is the best! You can use a clean produce brush to scrub items with firm skins such as melons, cucumbers and peppers.

Next, proper storage will ensure the safety and quality of your produce. Certain perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) can be best maintained by storing in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below. Produce such as uncut tomatoes, bananas, potatoes and onions are best stored at cool room temperature. Produce should not be washed before storage as excess water will encourage the growth of spoilage bacteria.

There are many delicious and simple ways to prepare fresh vegetables. This can include simple dips and sauces, salads, casseroles, stews and soups.

A great source of free recipes using fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at choosemyplate.gov   (Simply click on “sample menus and recipes” for easy, low cost, nutritious recipes) and USDA Snap Ed Connection, Recipe Finder.

One quick easy recipe for using your fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions is salsa. If you are preparing salsa to be eaten immediately or refrigerated for a few days, you can experiment with amounts and types of ingredients. If you want to preserve your salsa through canning, it is important to follow a recipe that has been designed with the proper proportions of vegetables and acids.  Always be careful when handling hot peppers. Use rubber gloves when cutting these peppers as they can irritate the skin. Do not touch your face or eyes!

 Salsa
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 chopped onion
3 finely chopped, seeded if desired, jalapeno chiles
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 juiced lime

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients.
2. Serve or store salsa in refrigerator for up to three days in a covered plastic or glass container.

Source: USDA Snap Ed Connection, Recipe          http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/index.php?mode=display&rec_id=51

Sources:

USDA Snap Ed Connection, Recipe  Finder

Ohioline.osu.edu

Foodsafety.wisc.edu/gardening.html

From Your Garden to Your Table – Webinar for OSU Your Plan for Health – Mike Hogan and Marilyn Rabe, June, 2012.

Author: Marilyn Rabe, FCS Extension Educator, OSU Extension

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We come home from work and we are hungry and are looking for something to eat right away. Are we really hungry or is it a habit? It is easy to walk in the door and be triggered to eat.
So, the next time you get a craving for foods ask yourself, how you are really feeling. Am I stressed out? Am I sad or bored? Maybe you are eating to fill a void that is an emotional void.
Many things center on food. Socializing with friends often involves food, but many other activities can be done without food. Consider taking a walk, swimming, riding bikes or playing video games that are active. Exercise helps suppress appetite.
Another important topic when discussing craving is hydration. Many times you think you are hungry when instead you are thirsty. Between meals try to drink water and wait before eating to see if the hunger still exists. Try added lemon, lime or even a cucumber slice to your water.
Enough sleep is also important in the craving area. When you are sleepy you tend to think you are hungry when you may just be trying to pry your eyes open.
The size of the container or plate may be throwing the hunger meter off too. The container or bowl holding your food can determine the amount of food you eat. A study in the American Psychological Association found that when folks went to the movie they ate 45%more popcorn from an extra –large bucket than from a large bucket. Likewise, when given a 16 ounce bowl kids ate more cereal than those given a 8 ounce bowl.
Try to ask yourself if you are really hungry or whether you are having a craving. A craving is associated more with taste then hunger. When truly hungry your stomach makes growling noises and feels empty. During this feeling you tend to eat almost anything, not just a specific food.
Being aware of this and paying attention to the cues is really important. Charting and recording your level of hunger and mood sometimes will create the awareness to make those changes that will improve your eating habits for good.

Source: http://www.extension.org/families.food fitness
Author: Liz Smith, FCS Extension Educator, OSU Extension

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As the weather is getting warmer and nicer outside, summer cleaning and yard work are on the to do list. It is exrtremely important to pay attention to your body if you have had a relatively sedentary winter and spring.  Dehydration can occur when as little as 3% body weight is lost in fluids and results in an emergency medical situation. Listen to your body when it says it is tired. Do not push yourself too far and risk injury. To make the most ouf of time, and to treat your body the right way, follow these fluida and food guidelines.

If you are performing strenous activity, regardless if inside or outside, it is important to stay hydrated. With mild hydration, symptoms may include headaches, light headedness, fatigue and of course thirst.  The main way to present deyhydration is to treat it before it even begins. Before you start any yard work, make sure you have a glass of water even if you are not thirsty. This will ensure your body starts with an adequate amount of fluids and can afford to lose some through sweat. If you are in a hot or humid environment, remember to drink fluid at least every 30 minutes or less to maintain your fluid levels.  The longer you are being physically active, the more this is important. You may only neeed one cup per hour, but it depends upon how much you are sweating and how hot/humid it is.  It may be hard to remember to drink something, but make it a priority to stop for a couple seconds and have a sip of your drink. After you finish your cleaning projects, try to have some more fluids to replace any that you lost. Just about any beverage can be used including water, lemonade, or sports drinks. Try to avoid any drinks with caffeine. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and increases fluid loss through the urine.

Beyond fluids, energy is needed to perform work. Try to have a nice meal before you begin working to provide your body with calories. A light meal can be used to prevent any stomach or GI problems. It just needs to have some carbohydrates (your main source of energy) and a little protein to repair your muscles. If you will be physically active for more than one hour, it may be necessary to have a snack while you work. This can be very small and can be as little as 100 calories or less. Some snack ideas are a granola bar, string cheese, yogurt, crackers and peanut butter or a piece of fruit. This snack will give your body some extra calories so you don’t fatigue as fast.

The best way to be prepared for your summer cleaning is to fuel up before you begin. Ensuring you are at adequate fluid levels, and have eaten within the last couple hours will help you to last longer. Also, don’t force yourself too far. It is the beginning of a long summer and you don’t need to start with an injury. By listening to your body, you can prevent dehydration, have more energy for your muscles and prevent injuries.

Writter: Susan Zies, Ohio State Univeristy Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Wood County.

Information gathered from:

Mayo Clinic. (August 2, 2011). Dehydration: Symptoms. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms

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