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Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

Safe, high quality home canned foods begin with the right equipment, used properly.  Why risk losing your time and food dollar through spoilage?  Check and assemble good equipment before the season begins, then maintain it well.

Check jars and bands.  Discard chipped jars and rusted or distorted bands.

Have pressure gauges checked.  Check with your local Extension office for Food Preservation Workshop or pressure canner gauge testing dates/times.

Check seals on last summer’s produce. canned foods

Make plans to use up last summer’s produce (both frozen and canned) to make room for new products and to prevent waste of food.

Check files to make sure your food preservation information is complete and up-to-date.

HOME CANNER’S QUESTIONS

  1. I have several peanut butter, pickle and quart-sized mayonnaise jars which I would like to be able to use for canning. Is it safe to use these jars in a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner?
  2. NO! Use only standard canning jars for home canning as these jars have been specially annealed to withstand the heat necessary in the home canning process. However, these make good refrigerator storage jars, are a perfect solution for your picnic packaging  needs, or can be recycled at your local recycling center.
  3. How long is it safe to store canned food?
  4. For optimum quality of food, plan to use home-canned food within one year. After 1 year, quality of food goes down, but is still safe as long as the seal is still intact and there is no sign of spoilage.  Whatever the age, ALWAYS boil low-acid, pressure canned food a full 10 minutes.  Twenty (20) minutes for corn, spinach and meats) to destroy any botulism toxins.  DO NOT taste prior to boiling.
  5. Which pressure canner is more accurate– the kind with a dial or the one with a weight control?
  6. Both are accurate if used and cared for according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some people like numbers on a dial; others prefer the sight and sound (“jiggling” noise) of the weight control.
  7. Do I have to use a pressure canner to can low acid foods such as green beans, corn, potatoes, etc.?
  8. YES, YES, YES!!! Low-acid foods must be canned in a pressure canner. Whether food should be processed in a pressure canner or boiling-water canner to control botulinum bacteria depends on the acidity of the food. Acidity may be natural, as in most fruits, or added, as in pickled food. Low-acid canned foods are not acidic enough to prevent the growth of these bacteria. Acid foods contain enough acid to block their growth, or destroy them more rapidly when heated. The term “pH” is a measure of acidity; the lower its value, the more acid the food. The acidity level in foods can be increased by adding lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar.

Low-acid foods have pH values higher than 4.6. They include red meats, seafood, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables except for most tomatoes.  For more information – check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website at http://nchfp.uga.edu/.

Resources/References:

OSU Extension’s page on food safety:  http://fcs.osu.edu/food-safety.

National Center for Home Food Preservation – www.http://nchfp.uga.edu/.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA.

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7066102771_036ffa76ba_nWe’ve all heard that “April Showers bring May Flowers” but those same showers are ushering in allergy season. Some experts are saying that this might be an especially bad season for those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies. We had a long, cold winter and suddenly warm weather has arrived and many trees, shrubs and grasses are blooming at the same time increasing the pollen in the air. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least 17.6 million people suffer from hay fever – so you are not alone!

So what can you do to minimize the sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat? Several useful tips are provided below.

It’s important to keep pollen out of your personal environment.

• Leave your shoes at the door. Pollen coming into the house on shoes, clothing and even your pets can worsen your symptoms.

• Wash your hair and change your clothes before going to bed. If you sleep in the same shirt you wore outside, all of the pollen that has attached to the shirt will surround you all night!

• Control the air inside your home. Close windows and doors on high pollen days. Utilize your air conditioner or furnace and remember to change the air filters!

• When you are in your car, use the recirculate option with the air conditioner. Keep windows and overhead vents closed.

• Dry your clothes in a dryer – don’t hang them outside.

See your doctor. Many people are helped by over the counter medicines but others may benefit from visiting an allergist for testing and treatment.

You can be proactive with your allergies – check the daily pollen count and then plan your activities. Pollen counts are usually lower in the evening so that might be a good time for outdoor exercises such as walking. If grass pollen is especially bothersome to you it might be worth it to hire someone else to mow the lawn for you!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Sources:
Spring Allergy Season Could be a Bloomin’ Nightmare
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=188018

Allergy Relief Tips Wherever You Go.
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-relief-10/seasonal-allergy-checklistt

Allergies and Hay Fever.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm#

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Drinking a smoothie is an easy way to sneak in a serving or two of fruits and veggies towards your daily goal. A smoothie is great for breakfast, on the go meal, or a snack. Here’s how to blend a fruit- and veggie-packed smoothie that’s nutritious, satisfying and energizing.

 kalesmoothie

  1. Choose a Base Start with a liquid base such as low-fat milk, soymilk, or nonfat Greek yogurt that delivers protein, vitamins, and minerals with a sensible amount of calories. If using juice, choose 100% grape, orange, apple, or cranberry varieties and try adding just a splash of it to a milk base so you don’t miss out on the protein. Remember juice adds extra sugar and calories so watch portion sizes.
  2. Add Fruit When adding fruit, most fresh, frozen and canned fruits shine in smoothies. For calorie control and to cap added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened frozen fruit and drain canned fruit packed in water or light syrup to reduce excess sugar. Slicing bananas and freezing them works really well.
  3. Yes…you can add veggies! Even vegetables can be added to smoothies. Just remember to use mild-tasting veggies so their flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. If using a standard blender, you may need to chop them very finely or add a little water to help the blending process. Cucumbers, spinach, kale, and beets are popular options.
  4. Nutrient Boosters Super-charge your smoothie with flavorful and nutrient-packed blend-ins such as flaxseed, chia seeds, quick oats, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger), unsweetened cocoa powder, or powdered peanut butter.
  5. Less is More Remember to keep smoothie ingredients simple and take a ‘less is more’ approach. The more ingredients in a smoothie, the more calories it contains.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana

1/2 cup coconut milk, skim milk, soymilk, nonfat Greek yogurt, or almond milk

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)

1 ripe banana, chopped

Water for desired consistency

  1. Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
  2. You can add a few almonds for extra protein if you would like!

For a great beet smoothie click here https://foodhero.org/recipes/un-beet-able-berry-smoothie.

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

www.realsimple.com

www.foodhero.org

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While you can find an app for just about anything you want to track or organize… they are not all created equal. University of Missouri Extension has some tips to help you make SMART choices when selecting health and nutrition apps.

S: What is the source of the app? Is it a research-based source like a University or at least a non-biased organization? You can learn more about an app if it has a website associated with it. Look for things like or contradicting health information and incorrect grammar to indicate poor quality.

M: Does the app meet your needs? If you are tracking food, is the database of foods large enough to reflect the types of foods you eat? If recipes are part of the app, do they reflect the types of food you like to prepare and eat? Do you have the equipment the health app is requiring?

A: What actions will you take? Does the app require you to track something, or maybe encourage social media as a source of support? Does the app provide useful information?

R: What do the reviews say? Take some time to carefully review an app before you download it. What do the professional organizations have to say? Is the app user-friendly? For registered dietician reviews on nutrition apps, check out the Visit the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

T: Do you have the time? If the app requires tracking, is this something you will take time to do?

app

Check out this list of suggested apps from Extension research professionals in Missouri and Iowa. Before you spend your time and phone storage space, make sure the app is a SMART choice for you and your health goals.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Joanna Rini, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County

Photo credit: Fairleigh Dickinson University

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What's for DinnerIs this the cry in your home as you walk in the door after a long day at work?  Here are a few ideas to assist with having a healthy meal without spending hours in the kitchen.  And, without a lot of expense of buying prepared or take-out food.  Caution:  It does take a little pre-planning time.

  • Make a list before going to the grocery store.  This list should include all you will need to make meals for at least a week.  Some items can be used for more than one meal.  For example, you may cook chicken breasts for one meal but have enough left over to make chicken tacos or chicken casserole for a meal later in the week.  Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for 3-4 months.  I sometimes freeze my leftover meat or vegetables if I only have a small amount and then make soup at a later date.
  • Have nutritious snacks available before the meal.  Whole or cut-up fruits and vegetables are great before the meal and will not spoil the appetite. Keep washed, cut-up fruits or vegetables in the refrigerator for quick use.
  • Start with a salad before the main meal is ready to serve.  Doing so will add a healthy dose of vegetables to the meal, and salads can be easy to prepare.
  • Prepare the main dish the night before or use a slow cooker.  This way you can plan ahead and not be stressed at the last minute.  You can find ideas here:  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/index.html

By planning meals ahead of time you won’t be as tempted to pick up something on the way home.  You will know what is planned for dinner!  What ideas work for you?  Please share with us.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Joanna Rini, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County, rini.41@osu.edu

Resource:

Ohioline, Refrigerator Storage, http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5403.pdf

 

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easter egg huntNothing welcomes spring more than the annual egg hunt. Whether it’s a community, neighborhood or family hunt, food safety is of utmost importance. Follow these food safety guidelines to ensure your egg hunt is fun AND food safe.

Before the hunt . . .

• Wash your hands thoroughly before handling eggs at every step of preparation, including cooking, dyeing and hiding.
• Only use eggs that have been refrigerated and discard eggs that are cracked or dirty.
• When cooking, place a single layer of eggs in a saucepan. Add water to at least one inch above the eggs. Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil, and carefully remove the pan from the heat. Let the eggs stand (18 minutes for extra-large eggs, 15 for large, 12 for medium.) Immediately run cold water over the eggs. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, place them in an uncovered container in the refrigerator where they can air-dry.
• When decorating, be sure to use food grade dyes. Be careful not to crack the eggs, as bacteria can enter through those cracks into the egg itself.
• Keep hard-cooked Easter eggs refrigerated until just before the hunt. Keep them on a shelf inside the refrigerator, not in the refrigerator door.
• Consider buying one set of eggs for decorating and another set just for eating.

During the hunt . . .
• Hide the eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other potential sources of bacteria.
• To prevent bacterial growth, don’t let eggs sit in hiding places for more than two hours.

After the hunt . . .
• Discard any eggs that were cracked, dirty or that children didn’t find within two hours.
• Place the eggs back in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat them.

Happy Spring!

Resources/References:

Food Safety Notebook, The Ohio State University Extension.

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clients on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity

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As we head into spring many of the wonderful green vegetables come into season and are readily available. These green powerhouse foods are the foods most strongly associated with reducing chronic disease risk and are described as green leafy and cruciferous. Plants produce phytochemicals like antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients, flavones, and isoflavones. Green plants specifically produce the phytochemical lutein which has been shown to benefit eye health, cancer prevention, and heart health. Included in this food group are: kabr sproutsle, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuces, artichokes, and collard greens. The phytochemical beta carotene is not only found in dark orange foods, it is also found in the rich green founds of spinach, collard greens, kale, and broccoli. As we have often heard, beta carotene benefits the immune system, vision, and skin and bone health.

Cruciferous vegetables like: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, collards, and watercress are members of the “Cruciferae or Brassicaceae Family”. Plants in the Cruciferae family have flowers with four equal-sized petals in the shape of a cross. Many of these cruciferous vegetables are found to be “cancer fighting machines”, according to Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Studies show they lower the rates of prostate cancer and may even stop the growth of cancer cells in the lung, colon, liver, and breast.

Another reason to fill up on colorful vegetables is they may help you to age well. Foods rich in antioxidants (like leeks, lettuce and kale) can help fight free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that contribute to the aging process.

Many of the power house green vegetables will soon be available in farmers markets but if you would like to start your own in a container garden follow these links to resources to get you started. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1647.html or http://urbanext.illinois.edu/containergardening/herbveggie.cfm.

Try planting: spinach, leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, cabbage, peppers, herbs, or cucumbers to start your own patch of power house green foods. container garden

Writers: Lisa Barlage and Michelle Treber, Extension Educators, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, SNAP- Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Photos by: Michelle Treber and Lisa Barlage.

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