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Posts Tagged ‘fresh produce’

After viewing a few television shows about the new trends in dining and hot eats – it got me wondering how it would influence my own choices as I prepared foods or choose to eat out in the coming months. Several of the trend lists I viewed were from surveys by the National Restaurant Association, insights from Technomic (a leading food service research firm), and The Food Channel. I found it interesting that a number of the trends fit well with the themes we are promoting through Ohio State University Extension. Here are my favorites:

  • Locally grown in all types of foods including produce, meats, and dairy. Extension has been promoting local foods for several years in Ohio. By buying local, you support your local economy, and you have the opportunity to learn from your local farmer or restaurant how the food was produced and harvested. To learn more about this effort go to http://localfoods.osu.edu/.vegetables
  • Children’s nutrition and more healthful meals for children. This goes back to more vegetables, fruits, and less processed foods. I hope that means restaurants will get on board with the work that many of us have been doing for years (Health Departments, State Government, and our First Lady included).  A national Extension team that I contribute to is working on this topic, so check out our work on eXtension at http://www.extension.org/healthy_food_choices_in_schools.
  • A Midwestern Food Movement is also found in restaurants and with newer television programming and recipe books. Of course growing up in Ohio, I know this is a true, we have good food! Think root vegetables, fresh foods from the garden, catfish, dairy products, pork (goes back to the Chicago hog processing from days past), and many of the traditional comfort foods.
  • Clean eating or not over processed foods is the final restaurant trend I want to focus on. Attempt to eat foods in their natural state; avoid preservatives; reduce salt and try herbs; eat whole grains rather than refined; and use natural fats like olive, canola, or walnut oil. This ties in well with locally grown and the Midwest movement.

This look at the new trends in food and dining has brought forward several messages that are good for all of us – look for foods in their natural state, buy fresh and local when you can, and encourage children to eat these foods by setting a good example. What are you doing to be part of this movement?

Sources:

Technomic, https://www.technomic.com/Pressroom/Releases/dynRelease_Detail.php?rUID=262.

The Food Channel, http://www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/2014-top-ten-food-trends-part-i/.

Ohio State University Extension, Local Foods, http://localfoods.osu.edu/ and Ohio Direct Marketing: Food and Agriculture, https://u.osu.edu/fox.264/.

Author: Lisa Barlage, MS, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Daniel Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, remley.4@osu.edu.


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With a range of medications available to help the 50 million Americans suffering from arthritis many may not know that what you eat can influence your symptoms and alsoartritis hands how the disease progresses.

Rather than supplements in the form of pills, food with certain nutrients can help.

·         Vitamin C about the amount in two oranges (152 milligrams a day) has been found to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis.  Vitamin C plays a role in the formation of cartilage, collagen and proteoglycans.  It also is an antioxidant which helps limit the free-radical oxygen compounds that can damage cartilage.

·         Vitamin D was shown to cut the progression of arthritis.  Living in the northern attitudes especially in the winter, makes it difficult to get enough Vitamin D.  This is the one vitamin that you may need to  supplement.  Vitamin D not only plays a role in bone building it seems to affect the production of collagen.

·         Beta-carotene reduced the progression of arthritis when 9,000 IU were consumed daily.  This was not seen when people consumed 5,000 IU.  Most Americans only get 3,000 to 5,000 IU a day of beta-carotene.  However, you can easily increase your amount by using orange vegetables and fruits.  One medium sweet potato contains 21,909 IU.  fruits-vegetables

·         Vitamin E – In a study with people who had knee osteoarthritis those that consumed 6-11 milligrams of Vitamin E daily (from food) saw a 60% reduction in the progression of the disease over 10 years compared to  those getting 2-5 milligrams daily.  Due to the increased risk of lung cancer, smokers should not take extra Vitamin E or beta-carotene pills.

·         Vitamin K is being studied now.  So far, the study suggests that Vitamin K may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.  Good sources of Vitamin K are spinach, broccoli, leaf lettuce, kale, asparagus and olive, soybean and canola oils.

·         Omega-3 Fatty Acids suppress inflammation in the joint.  This is what causes so much stiffness and pain.  Eating two or more servings of fish (baked or broiled) per week reduced the chance of developing arthritis.   Other sources of omega-3 are flaxseed and nuts.  Canola, soybean and olive oil have some omega-3s.   Best to avoid omega-6 fatty acids found in safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and corn oils.  These are usually also in processed foods and fried foods, so limit your consumption of them.

·         Limit consumption of sugar.   More inflammation has been linked with higher sugar consumption.

· Drink more water         Drink Water.  Water  helps all around from moisturizing, giving support to joints, carrying nutrients and removing wastes from the body.  Some medicines used for arthritis also change your thirst level.  Be sure to drink plenty of water, preferably 8 cups or more a day of liquids.

Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein along with oils rich in omega-3s.  Limit sweets and other fats and oils.  Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains will increase your fiber intake which the Arthritis Foundation says may keep inflammation down.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewer:  Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

References:

Tufts University, [2013]. Eating Right for Healthy Joints, Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter Special Supplement, June 2013.

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When it comes to fruits and vegetables, vary your colors, cooking methods, and consumption for optimal nutrition. fruits-veggies

If you are concerned about preventing or controlling many of the chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, consider visiting MyPlate.gov and consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables recommended for your age, gender, and activity level. For example – 2 cups fruits and 3.5 cups of vegetables for active male. For additional health benefits, consider the three C’s: color, cooking, and consumption.

Consuming a variety of colors can make a difference to your health. Red fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, contain lycopene which is a phytochemical, or plant chemical, that can lower the risk for certain cancers, especially prostate cancer. Anthocyanin, found in red raspberries and strawberries, and also in purple produce, such as blackberries, blueberries and eggplant, is a powerful antioxidant that can also lower the risk of cancers and heart disease. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, squash, oranges, and carrots contain plant pigments called carotenoids which can also lower risk of certain cancers, heart disease, but also eye diseases. Dark green vegetables have phytochemicals such as lutein, which can protective of eye disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Yes, even fruits and vegetables devoid of color can be beneficial to health. Onions, garlic, and parsnips, have pigments called anthoxanthins which are thought to be helpful with blood pressure.

In addition to consuming a variety of colors, consider how you consume and prepare fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables are healthiest when consumed fresh. There are exceptions however. However, the lycopene in tomatoes is more available to your body if you consume cooked tomatoes or if you consume tomatoes with a little bit of oil (try adding a little olive oil to your tomato soup!). For many vegetables, prolonged boiling can be detrimental to many phytochemicals that are heat unstable. Consider steaming or microwaving with a small amount of water to retain nutrients. Dried fruits and vegetables can add fiber to the diet, but they lose the health promoting phytochemicals during the drying process.

Sources:

Produce for Better Health Foundation, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov

North Dakota State University Extension Service, http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food

Writer: Daniel Remley, Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

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Before the days of supermarkets, many families relied on growing their own vegetables and preserving them for use over the long winter months.

If you’re thinking about putting in a vegetable garden this season, you’ll have plenty of company. Raising edible plants is the fastest-growing trend in gardening. Whether you hope to save money on your grocery bill, reduce fears about food safety, or just enjoy the flavor of straight-from-the-garden freshness, growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding.

Growing an edible family garden is a great way to get your children excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, it is a great way for children to get exercise and spend time outdoors in an activity the whole family can benefit from.MP900202043

If you teach children to garden, they will experience a joy that will be with them the rest of their lives. However, many kids grow up today without the benefit of having a garden or farming background and access to free play outdoors. They often don’t know what to do in a garden. That’s where parents and grandparents come in. Adults can help kids learn about growing plants in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it will be a special time together outdoors, exploring the land, food, and flowers.

To encourage children to garden, it is important to have them grow vegetables that will mature quickly so that they can see the results of their efforts right away.

From the first crisp carrots of early summer to the last sweet squash of fall, a vegetable garden is a constantly changing delight. There is the pleasure of anticipation in watching as beets and carrots shoulder their way into view, beans swell in their pods, cucumbers lengthen and corn put out silky tassels. Then there is the enjoyment of consuming the harvest, fresh-picked and full of flavor.

As you make plans for a vegetable garden, there’s no better advice than this: Start small. It’s easy to get carried away during spring planting season when good intentions and enthusiasm are riding high. That jumbo veggie patch that makes you swell with pride in May can become an unmanageable, weedy monster in the hot and sweaty days of summer.

Happy Gardening!

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

Reviewed by: Joyce Shriner, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Hocking County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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Corncobs and meat on grillAs the weather warms up and fresh vegetables are readily available there are many good choices to add vegetables to your outdoor grilled meals.  It not only keeps the heat out of the kitchen, it adds variety to your family meals.  Outdoor grilling can be a healthy, low-fat way to cook.

  • Place large vegetables such as corn on the cob and asparagus directly on the grill.
  • Smaller vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes should be washed and cut into uniform pieces. Place them in an aluminum foil packet or a vegetable grilling basket.
  • For added flavor, marinate for 15 minutes before grilling by tossing them with a mixture of 2 parts oil, one part lemon juice, a crushed garlic clove and other herbs of your choice.
  • Make kabobs by putting the vegetables on a skewer, or use aluminum foil or a vegetable grilling basket
  • Cook on a medium-hot grill, turning them often.
  • When easily pierced by a fork, they are done.   

Vegetable Kabobs

2 large green peppers, cut into 1” squares

2 medium onion, quartered, separated into sections

2 small zucchini, cut into 1” pieces

4 small yellow squash, cut into 1” pieces

12 whole mushroom

1 bottle fat-free Italian salad dressing

Place vegetables in a non-metal dish, pour Italian salad dressing over all and mix.  Marinate vegetables in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Drain vegetables and thread alternately on skewers. (Or use a foil pouch or vegetable basket.) Grill kabobs 15-20 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Makes 4-6 kabobs.

Sources:

Penn State Extension http://extension.psu.edu/health/nutrtiion-links/recipes

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Are You a Nutritious Grill Master?  G2048  http://extension.unl.edu/publications

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

Reviewer: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County.

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As we quickly transfer from summer to fall, the thought of biting into a wonderful, fresh Ohio apple comes to mind!  Is there anything quite as good – and good for you? A medium raw 2 ½ inch apple contains Vitamin C, Potassium, about 4 grams of fiber and only about 75 calories.

In 2008, the average U.S. consumer ate an estimated 16.4 pounds of fresh-market apples and 33.3 pounds of processed apples, for a total of 49.8 pounds of fresh apples and processed apple products.

Eating apples helps promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.  According to the U.S. Apple Association, the health benefits of apples and apple products were first recorded as early as medieval times; giving rise to the modern version of an old English saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Ohio alone produces over 40 varieties of apples so it should not be difficult to choose one that fits your needs, whether for eating or baking!   You can choose from the sweet Honeycrisp , Cameo, Fuji, Gala, and Golden Delicious which are wonderful for eating raw and using in salads to the tart Granny Smith, Empire, and Jonagold which are perfect for pies and other baking needs.

Proper selection and storage are important for your apples to have the best flavor.

  • Select firm apples, free of bruises, decay, broken or shriveled skin.
  • Fruit should be ripe when picked to have good flavor, texture, and storing ability.
  • Apples should be well colored.
  • Keep your apples in the refrigerator; 32-35 degrees F is ideal.
  • Store in a perforated, plastic bag.
  • Check fruit often for any signs of rotting and discard spoiled apples.
  • Wash apples by rinsing in cool water just before eating or adding to a recipe.

There are probably as many serving ideas for using apples as there are apple varieties.

  • Make applesauce by peeling and dicing 4 or 5 apples and cooking over medium heat with 1 cup of water and 2 -3  teaspoons of cinnamon for about 30 minutes.
  • Apples can be paired with dried cherries or cranberries for colorful chutney.
  • Put cut up apples in a green, leafy salad to add crunch and flavor.
  •  Thinly slice apples and cheddar cheese, and place the combination between two slices of whole-grain bread. Grill for a tasty sandwich.
  • Cut apples into slices and offer to children with a low-fat vanilla yogurt dip.
  • Put an apple and some peanut butter in your lunchbag for an afternoon energy snack.

So whether it’s a fresh crisp apple for an easy snack, a refreshing apple salad or a piece of warm apple pie, takes advantage of this time of year to enjoy locally grown fresh apples!

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Apples   http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5507.pdf

U.S. Apple Association http://www.usapple.org/

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It is the year 2012 and our society has gradually slipped away from the concept of making and eating whole foods. When reading labels of common household food products, how many of those ingredients sound like they were made in a mad scientist’s lab?  The whole foods approach is much simpler than most people think, and can provide many benefits.

Processed foods contain several ingredients that may be detrimental to our health, while taking away the nutrients that it once contained. While you may not be able to pronounce the names of some of the ingredients on the label, some of the worst ones are most common, trans fat, saturated fat and salt. These all lead to multiple diseases inclduing heart disease. The typical American diet consumes way too much salt ( sodium) and processed foods only add more to the problem. It’s a double whammy since many processed foods remove the healthy nutrients during refinement.

Whole foods on the other hand have virtually nothing harmful to your body and high amounts of nutrients. Whole foods don’t have to be organic, free range or locally grown. They simply are just natural foods in their complete form. This can be fruits or vegetables. Which in the summer we can find at local farmer’s markets and may be locally grown and even more economical.  Natural foods also include meats. The difference is simple, a tomato or ketchup, chicken breast or chicken tenders, apple or apple juice. Most of the time the second option will have preservatives and sugar added. Neither of which we need more of.

Whole foods contain numerous amounts of nutrients in them. For example, antioxidants are common naturally occurring nutrients in most fruits and vegetables.  Antioxidants do not need to be added to already processed foods, but should be in it naturally. Research is constantly finding new nutrients that we don’t even know about that have positive health benefits in whole foods.

Remember, when you can, choose whole foods option, your body will thank you later.

Source:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-healthy-whole-foods

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Summer arrives and our dinner tables move outside, gardens overflow with an abundance of zucchini and our lunch rooms are filled with baskets of zucchini supplied by co-workers grown in their gardens with a sign that reads, Enjoy.

Zucchini has many health benefits.  Since zucchini has high water content, it’s very low in calories.  One cup of zucchini contains 36 calories and 10% of the RDI of dietary fiber.  This aids in digestion, maintains blood sugar levels, prevents constipation and curbs overeating.  Zucchini also contain Vitamins B6, C and riboflavin. This summer squash is especially rich in the minerals potassium and manganese.

Choose young tender squash, small to medium in size, with shiny, taut skin.  Avoid any with soft spots or scarring.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.  When ready to use, wash and trim the ends.  No need to peel if young and tender.  Sauté thin half-moons of zucchini and yellow squash in olive oil and garlic serve as a side dish or toss with pasta.   Use in salads, baked goods or stuffed as an entrée.  Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable and may be grilled, roasted or baked.  Here is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, zucchini chips.  Give them a try!

 

Baked Zucchini Chips

1 zucchini

Olive oil

Sea Salt

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

  • Preheat your oven to 225  degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Slice your zucchini into thin slices (about the size of a quarter)
  • Arrange on baking sheet
  • Drizzle slices with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake 45 minutes, then rotate sheet and bake another 40 – 50 min. until desired crispness.
  • If you desire to put parmesan cheese on the zucchini slices, with 5 minutes left on the cooking time, lightly sprinkle zucchini with parmesan cheese and bake for the remaining 5 minutes.

Sources:

Ohio State University Extension; Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Squash and Pumpkins: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5530.pdf

Ediblecommunities.com

Written by:  Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator

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One of the best things about summer is the availability of fresh produce – especially fresh berries. July is the peak month for blackberries and raspberries to be available, while blueberries are in season from July to September. Often during these peak months berries will be available at great prices or maybe even free if you pick your own! To select the best berries look for: plump, firm berries that are free of mold. Check containers to avoid those with staining – a sign the berries might be damaged. Fresh raspberries are the most perishable lasting only 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator, blackberries will last a little longer – 3 to 6 days refrigerated, blueberries last the longest – up to almost 2 weeks refrigerated. Refrigerate berries without washing them, for the best shelf life – wash only before using.

If you can’t use your berries in a few days consider freezing them. Blueberries need not be washed before freezing – washing will make them tougher skinned. Blackberries and raspberries should be carefully washed and drained before freezing. To freeze place berries on a cookie sheet for a couple hours to quick freeze and then store in plastic containers or freezer bags. Berries will last up to 12 months in a freezer – mark the date on the container.

So what can you do with fresh berries? Most of us enjoy a fruit cup or parfait, but after a couple days that can get old.

Other ideas for fresh berries include:

  • Tossed on your lettuce salad.
  • Whipped with juice or milk, yogurt, and ice for a smoothie.
  • With your morning cereal.
  • In your pancake batter.
  • On a small cup of ice cream.
  • On top of angel food cake or pudding.
  • Baked into cobbler, scones, or muffins.
  • Check out Fruits and Veggies – More Matters for recipe ideas http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/main-recipes.

The best thing about berries is that they are low in calories – only 50 to 100 calories per cup, and are high in Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Remember antioxidants and fiber are linked to prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease.

Sources:

Ohio State University Extension; Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5511.pdf

The University of Maine, Cooperative Extension; Vegetables and Fruits for Health: Raspberries and Blackberries: http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4267e/.

Produce for Better Health Foundation, Fruits and Veggies More Matters: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fruit-nutrition-database.

Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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Have you tried grilling vegetables and fruit?  Grilling can bring out the flavors in fruits and vegetables, but watch out as they quickly burn.  It’s important not to get the food too close to the coals (or gas), so it heats before it starts to blacken.

Here are some suggestions from Julie Garden-Robinson, a food and nutrition specialist with North Dakota State University Extension Service, in her online column “Prairie Fare.”  She suggests trying these ideas to help add flavor, color, and fiber to your grilling menu with grilled fruits and vegetables.

  • Sprinkle wedges of apple or pear with cinnamon and a touch of brown sugar.  Grill for about five minutes per side.
  • Brush peeled, whole bananas with vegetable oil (preferably canola) and add to the grill just until it turns golden about five minutes.
  • Cut peaches or nectarines and remove the pit.  Place cut side down and grill.   You can use as a side dish with steak or pork tenderloin or cut the fruit up after grilling and make a salsa by adding fresh herbs, chili peppers, and lime juice.
  • Cut vegetables into large, pieces of even thickness and grill.  After grilling,  You can cut into smaller pieces, if desired.
  • Cut the top and bottom off of bell peppers.  Remove the core and then cut the pepper in half from top to bottom.  Grill skin side down.
  • Brushing vegetables with olive oil and seasonings can add delicious flavor.  Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with oil and season as you start to grill.  Turn them over and repeat the other side.  Asparagus is delicious this way with some garlic and thyme.
  • Marinades can add flavor.  However, sugar-based marinades will cause the exterior of the vegetables to blacken.
  • Try this for dessert, cut a ¾ inch deep slit down the length of an unpeeled banana.  Carefully, open the slit to stuff it with 2 tablespoons of chopped dark chocolate or your favorite candy bar.  Wrap the banana in foil and grill for about five minutes on each side.

You can use both moist and dry heat to cook your grilled vegetables, by grilling and then placing them in a bowl or pot.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent the steam from escaping for five to ten minutes.  This will finish the cooking and keep the vegetables from drying out.

What suggestions do you have for grilling fruits and vegetables?   I hope you enjoy grilling out this season.

Submitted by Pat Brinkman, , Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County.

Reference: Garden-Robinson, J. North Dakota State University Extension Service, downloaded at  http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/news/columns/prairie-fare/prairie-fare-fire-up-your-grill-menu-with-more-fruits-and-vegetables/?searchterm=Grilling%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables.

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