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Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we take! Pollination is important for plant reproduction and food production.

The following examples are “fruit” of the plant, even if we might call them produce, vegetables or nuts: apples, cucumbers, zucchini, almonds, and strawberries. All of those foods grow on the plant as the result of the pollination of the flowers. Even though cucumbers and zucchini are categorized as vegetables in the cookbook, botanically, they are the “fruit” of the plant because they have the seeds. They rely on a pollinator to transfer pollen from one flower to another.

Other plants that rely on pollinators include: apricots, avocados, bananas, beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, coconut, cranberries, eggplant, figs, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangos, melons, okra, onions, oranges, papaya, peach, pear, peppers, plums, pumpkin, raspberries, squash, tangerines, tomatoes, and turnips. In addition to herbs, spices, sesame seeds, sugar cane, sunflower oil, and vanilla, other favorites that rely on pollinators include coffee and chocolate.

The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. One way they do this is to promote Pollinator Week, June 21-27, 2021, #PollinatorWeek.

This week I plan to:

  1. Learn about bees and other pollinators. More than honeybees! While honeybees might be a favorite because they pollinate and provide honey, there are over 4,000 types of bees in the United States. In Ohio, there around 500 bee species. More than bees!  While bees need our support, they are not the only insect that pollinates. In Ohio, pollinators are primarily insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, and others. In addition, hummingbirds are pollinators. Certain bats are also pollinators, especially in tropical and desert areas, but none act as pollinators in Ohio.
  2. Invite pollinators of all stages to my yard. In addition to food, pollinators also need water and shelter. There are great resources on the different types of plants to help feed pollinators at different life stages. One example is to grow plants like milkweed, fennel, and dill to feed caterpillars, which eventually grow into monarch and swallowtail butterflies. Offer water in a shallow bowl or birdbath for any small pollinators.  Place a few larger rocks or sticks in the small container to provide a place for insects to land and perch.    
  3. Help others overcome their fear of “bugs”.  Not everyone loves insects, even though these small pollinators offer so much! Pollinators will not hurt you if you leave them alone. We need them to do their jobs to help us have delicious foods! PBS has a nice lesson for parents to help children overcome their fear of bugs.
  4. Appreciate my summer meals. I will slow down to appreciate and enjoy all the food that is on my plate, thanks to the work of pollinators.

How will you celebrate National Pollinator Week?

Written by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Lucas County

Reviewed by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Sources:

Bee Lab. (n.d.) Ohio State University. https://u.osu.edu/beelab/

Ellsworth, D. (2015)., Attracting pollinators to the garden. Ohio State University. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-47

McGinnis, E., Walton, N,. Elsner, E., and Knodel, J. (2018). Smart Gardening: Pollination in vegetable gardens and backyard fruit. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/smart-gardening-pollination-in-vegetable-gardens-and-backyard-fruit

Nankin, F., and McMahon, J. (2017). Overcome a fear of bugs. Public Broadcasting Service. https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/helping-children-overcome-a-fear-of-bugs

Planting for Pollinators. (2020). Kids Gardening. https://kidsgardening.org/planting-for-pollinators/

Pollinator Partnership. (2021). Pollinator Week. https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week/pollinator-week-resources

Prajzner, S., and Gardiner, M. (2015). Ohio Bee Identification Guide. Ohio State University. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-57

sun shining on a bed of wildflowers

As health restrictions are lifting from the pandemic, I have been able to interact with more people in person. When others ask how I’m doing, I say “fine” … but what I really want to say is “meh.” I’m doing okay… not depressed… but not great either. I find that I really have to psyche myself up for another week of work, and for certain tasks at work and home. I usually rise to the occasion, but it takes a lot of energy to overcome the urge to seek the solitude or even the isolation that I thought I couldn’t wait to escape.

A colleague pointed me to an enlightening article on languishing and it captured so much of what I have felt in the past few months. Psychologists describe languishing as slightly withered, wilted or faded. The pandemic has left a lot of people feeling this way. Initially, the pandemic may have incited feelings of fear, anxiety, dread and paralysis… and as these feelings have faded, they have left languish in their wake.

Emory University Professor Corey Keyes has been publishing about languishing since 2002, but it took the pandemic to bring greater attention to this work. Keyes describes languish as the absence of feeling good about life and lacking purpose or meaning in one’s life. Languish is the middle ground between depression and optimal well-being or flourishing. While depression is clinically diagnosable with the presence of certain behaviors, languish is feeling indifference, emptiness, and stagnation. Keyes’ research found languish to be a predictor of developing depression and anxiety as well as increased risk of suicide attempts. We need to acknowledge and treat languish so it doesn’t turn into depression later, and so we can live our best lives.

How do we move from languishing to flourishing? Thankfully, there are research-backed steps we can take. In fact, there are entire programs at universities dedicated to helping others flourish: The Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University, Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma, and The Wellbeing at Work project at the University of Notre Dame. Here are some of their highlights:

Name your feelings – It helps to identify emotions and give them a name. Once you identify languish and name it, you can start to deal with it. You might start to notice examples of it all around you in family members, friends, co-workers.

Find your flow – Flow can be described as feeling fully engaged or even engrossed in an activity that motivates and excites you. For me recently, that has been home improvement projects, from the smallest detail like a broken switch plate cover, to larger re-wiring or painting projects. As long as I have something to keep me focused, I can find my flow. As one project concludes, I line up another. Perhaps the activity that will get you into flow is learning something new. The act of learning a new task or skill can engage your brain and sharpen your focus.

Free yourself from disruptions – Give yourself what your brain might be craving: time to become engrossed in an activity and let it captivate you. We find joy and purpose when we can gain a sense of progress on an activity or task.

Focus on a small goal – Is there a goal you can set to increase your skills or strengthen your resolve? Find a challenge that is meaningful to you and commit time to it each day.

Cultivate gratitude – Recognize and savor the good in your present situation. Imagine your best possible self, and volunteer or provide acts of kindness for others to make your best self a reality.

Start wherever you are… and if that is languish, decide to take a small step toward blooming and flourishing. If languish is like a fading photograph, then imagine steps toward flourishing as a color touch-up, bringing vibrancy back into your life. Share your journey with someone, as you just might help them out. It could be refreshingly authentic to answer ‘meh’ next time someone asks how you are doing.

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

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Sources:

Grant, A. (2020). There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing. New York Times. Published April 19, 2021, Updated May 5, 2021

Keyes, C.L. (2002). The Mental Health Continuum: From Languishing to Flourishing in Life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43(2), 207-222. doi:10.2307/3090197

Keyes, C. L., Dhingra, S. S., & Simoes, E. J. (2010). Change in level of positive mental health as a predictor of future risk of mental illness. American journal of public health100(12), 2366–2371. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2010.192245

VanderWeele, T.J. (2017). On the promotion of human flourishing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 31:8148-8156.

When I was little my grandmother loved everything about Hawaii and had the opportunity to travel there several times. She always wanted my sister and I to take a hula dance classes, but when you are a teenager, you don’t always want to do what your family asks of you. Fast forward 20+ years and my sister and I are making granny’s dream come true and will perform this week in our first hula dance review!

I initially thought, “I am too old for this! Who in their 40’s takes up hula dance classes?” The answer is: Anyone can take up hula dancing at any age! Hula is more than movement, it is story telling. With over 300 forms of hula, each has its own unique vocabulary of motion. A professionally trained hula dancer can recognize the lineage from teacher to teacher just by these movements.  There are two overarching umbrellas in hula dancing hula kahiko, is the traditional style of hula dance, and hula auana, which was popularized by the influx of tourists to the Hawaiian Islands and is a more modern style.

Hula is a great form of exercise. From beginners to advanced dancers, the slow, precise, focused movements help with coordination and muscle awareness, like yoga. It can also have a positive impact on hypertension and is a heart healthy exercise. One study found that 3 months after participants completed a 12-week hula class, participants’ systolic blood pressure had fallen by an average of 18.3 points—twice as much as those who did not participate in the class. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities completed a 5-year research evaluating the impact of hula, as an exercise method for cardiac rehabilitation. The findings indicated improvements with breathing, endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility, due to coordinating the music and the chanting. Furthermore, participants reported improvements in memory, cultural insight, concentration, mental stimulation and just “feeling better overall” (Maskarinec, et al. 2017).

Learning about the health benefits is encouraging, but honestly, hula (or any style of dance) helps improve quality of life. Dancing is therapeutic and is a mentally healing experience for me. It is an avenue to socialize with women of all ages, express my emotions, and a way to spend quality time with my sister. And to my granny, “Sorry it took me so long to make this dream come true. You were right, I love it!”

So, who is too old to take dance lessons? Not me and not you! I encourage you to go out and try! Who knows? You might just love it too!

Written by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Lucas County

Sources:

Essoyan, S. (2013). Hula helps heart, soul, isle study discovers. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. https://www2.jabsom.hawaii.edu/native/docs/news/Hula_helps_heart_soul_isle_study_discovers_StarAdvertiser_8-2-13.pdf

Kaholokula, J., Look, M., Mabellos, T., Zhang, G., de Silva, M., Yoshimura, S., Solatorio, C., Wills, T., Seto, T., and Sinclair, K. (2017). Cultural dance program improves hypertension management for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: A pilot randomized trial. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 4(1), 35–46. doi: 10.1007/s40615-015-0198-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5283501/

National Institute on Health. (2019, September 10). Hula for Heart Health: Using Traditional Dance to Lower Blood Pressure. https://www.nimhd.nih.gov/news-events/features/clinical-health-services/hula.html

Maskarinec, G. Look, M., Tolentino, K., Trask-Batti, M., Seto, T., de Silva, M., & Kaholokua, J. (2014, March 27) . Patient Perspectives on the Hula Empowering Lifestyle Adaptation Study: Benefits of Dancing Hula for Cardiac Rehabilitation.  Health Promotion Practice, 16(1).  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177511/

Summertime! What memories do you have of time spent as a child during June, July, and August? There may be summer chores that come to mind like tending the garden or mowing lawns. But I do hope that you have some freedom memories as well, like riding your bike, swimming, spending time in the woods, or other outside pleasures.

Child playing in spraying water

My first tendency is to create plans and then strategically schedule, schedule, schedule. How can we squeeze in this trip before that trip and still fit in camps? How can I make sure my kids are reading regularly and contributing to household chores?

Then, in the midst of this sea of questions, float images of my own childhood memories. Many of them are of the spontaneity of summer. Cannonball competitions at the community pool while 80s pop music blasted over the speakers. Swinging on the big tree swing at our family shelter by the river.

I want that for my children. In these transition years from child to adult, they are not little adults, they are adolescents. Play is so important that it has been recognized by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights as “the right of every child.” The American Academy of Pediatrics says that play, or free time in the case of older children and youth, is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.

Children paying ball outside in a grove of trees

This summer I want to intentionally let my kids be bored at times. Why is that such a button-pushing word for many parents? Have we really failed as parents if we hear “I’m bored” from our kids? We have many jobs as parents, but it is not our job to constantly entertain and provide things for our children to do. They will create their own play. Carrie Shrier, Michigan State University Extension, explains that complex play takes time to develop. It involves rules, conversation, negotiation, and organization on their part, not ours. Resist the temptation to give children something to do. You might be surprised how involved and complex their play becomes when adults don’t interfere.

In our home this summer, we will still have expected times to go to bed and rise and shine. There will also be expectations for barn chores, house chores, and yard chores. But, I hope my kids will be pleasantly surprised that their “rules making mama” expects them to play and explore in their own way – technology free – each and every day.

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Champaign County

Sources:

Shrier, C. (2016, June 8) Five rules for summer play. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/five_rules_for_summer_play

Yogman, M., Garner, A., Hutchinson, J., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. M. (2018). The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children. Pediatrics, 142(3). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-2058

Our Plastic Problem

Beach clean-ups can be exciting events with a large turnout where volunteers remove lots of waste. Sometimes there are bulky items; car tires, shopping carts, or shoes that people have left behind. I attended a clean-up recently and I am proud to report that there was little litter. My fellow Ohioans are removing the waste they bring with them. Since there were no big messes to clean up, we were able to spend more time on smaller things.

We spent two hours picking through the natural debris for small pieces of plastic. There were bottle caps, sandwich bags, and broken pieces of foam. For many of the plastic pieces, the source was unidentifiable. Trash found in and around our Great Lakes is called marine debris.

Plastic is the most common type of marine debris found in the ocean and our Great Lakes. Lake Erie breaks plastic down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics.  Microplastics are plastic pieces less than five millimeters long. The smaller the plastics, the harder they are to clean up and remove from the environment.

Plastic marine debris can have negative impacts on our bodies and those of other living organisms. Animals can mistake plastics for food. The smallest animal on our planet, zooplankton, has been shown to ingest microplastics. We also eat, drink, and breathe microplastics every day. 

One study found that microplastics were in 90% of table salts. Another study estimates that we consume a credit card worth of plastic each week. We do not yet know all the harmful effects of consuming plastic, but scientists say that it likely exposes us to harmful chemicals.

We can make an impact by seeking opportunities to reduce or cut plastics products from our lives. When eliminating is not possible, be sure to dispose of items properly and in ways that reduce the risk of entering our environments. Lakes in Ohio are some of the best resources we have available. Our individual choices can help keep our Great Lake and our bodies healthy!


Written by: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Cuyahoga County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County

References

Bartolotta, J. F. (2018, March 18). Plastic is Fantastic… Or So We Thought. Ohio Sea Grant College Program. https://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/products/twn25/plastic-is-fantasic-or-so-we-thought.

Loria, K. (2019, August 13). How to Eat Less Plastic. Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/health-wellness/how-to-eat-less-plastic-microplastics-in-food-water/.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2008, November 14). What is marine debris? NOAA’s National Ocean Service. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/marinedebris.html.

NOAA. What are microplastics? National Ocean Service website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html, 04/13/16.

Parker, L. (2021, May 3). Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt: potential health impacts? Environment. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/microplastics-found-90-percent-table-salt-sea-salt.

a mason jar containing refrigerator radish pickles

What do you do with freshly harvested spring radishes? I typically just eat them raw with cream cheese or hummus or occasionally add them to a salad. This year, though, I was introduced to a tasty new way to prepare spring radishes: seasoned refrigerator radish pickles!

The recipe used as a template in making the video above is customizable. Rather than using dill, we added parsley. Rather than adding garlic cloves, we used fresh chives. We added the mustard seeds and red pepper flakes recommended in the recipe, then supplemented those spices with whole, black peppercorns and celery seed. Fennel seed could be another nice addition.

For the brine, we chose to use apple cider vinegar for added flavor. While apple cider vinegar has many purported health benefits, none are supported by good evidence. Registered Dietitians from the OSU Wexner Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic caution that while apple cider vinegar is safe to use in small amounts, it is not intended for the treatment or management of medical conditions, and it is definitely not a cure-all.

Apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used to flavor and preserve foods, however, and it is ”appreciated as a culinary agent”.  We chose to use this flavorful vinegar in making the brine for our refrigerator radish pickles.  

After adding brine to prepared vegetables for refrigerator pickles, refrigerate them for at least 4 hours to allow flavor to develop; 24-48 hours is even better. Cooperative Extension resources recommend consuming refrigerator pickles within 2 weeks.

Quick pickled vegetables like radishes are great topping additions to salads, bowls, soups, and tacos, and are even a great simple snack. Will you give them a try today? If so, please leave a comment below sharing your favorite recipe and use for refrigerator pickles.

Sources:

Cleveland Clinic (2021). Exploring the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/exploring-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/

Hoover, A. (2020). Apple cider vinegar myths and facts. West Virginia University Extension Service. https://extension.wvu.edu/food-health/cooking/apple-cider-vinegar-myths-facts  

Todini, K. (2020). Quick Dill Pickled Radishes. Fork in the Road. https://www.forkintheroad.co/dill-pickled-radishes/

Treiber, L. (2015). Refrigerated pickled spring vegetables. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/refrigerated_pickled_spring_vegetables

Weber, M. (2019). Does vinegar have health benefits? The OSU Wexner Medical Center. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/does-vinegar-have-health-benefits

Written by: Jenny Lobb, MPH, RDN, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Reviewed by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County

clear glass with a red colored beverage sitting on a pool ledge

As thoughts of summer activities start to fill people’s minds, images of beaches, pool trips, and one’s favorite refreshing beverage are often visualized. As the weather heats up, people all over the world swarm to bodies of water to find a refreshing relief from the hot sun. However, what about our bodies of water? The human body is 55-65% water, and so often, people neglect to replenish themselves, which can lead to dehydration.

What causes dehydration?

            Dehydration happens when water losses from the body exceed water replacement.  Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Dehydration can be caused by a variety of medical issues, but in general, it can be caused by:

  • Failure to replenish water losses.
  • Excessive water loss from the skin due to exercise, heat, or even sunburns.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Increased aging.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

            Dehydration can be fatal, so it is essential to know the common signs and symptoms of dehydration to prevent it from progressing to a deadly point. According to the National Health Service4, common signs and symptoms of dehydration are:

  • feeling thirsty
  • dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling tired
  • a dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • peeing little, and fewer than four times daily

It is important to note that individuals with specific conditions such as diabetes or certain medications such as diuretics are more prone to dehydration.A quick and easy way to access dehydration is with a simple test of someone’s skin turgor, often called the dehydration pinch test. The great thing about knowing this tool is that it is quick, easy, and can be performed by anyone.

How to Avoid Dehydration

            As the weather continues to heat up, consuming the appropriate amount of water is vital for one’s overall health. Adequate amounts for water have been determined for generally healthy people and are based on age and gender. For women, the amount of total water is about 11.5 cups per day, and for men, about 15.5 cups. Basic tips to help meet your recommended daily fluid intakes and avoid dehydration are:

  • Eat foods with high amounts of water like fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid or limit drinks with alcohol.
  • Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.
  • Carry around a full water bottle with you wherever you go.

Not everyone is a fan of plain water, and if you are one of these people, try one of these recipes to not only spice up your water but help increase your daily water consumption.

If you or your loved one has severe dehydration symptoms, including excessive thirst, fever, rapid heartbeat, fast breathing, little or no urine, concentrated urine with a dark color and pungent odor or confusion, contact your doctor immediately!

Written by: Madison Barker, Guest Author from Middle Tennessee State University, Nutrition and Food Science major with a concentration in Dietetics.

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

References

  1. Taylor K, Jones EB. Adult Dehydration. [Updated 2020 Apr 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555956/
  2. Alcohol use and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  3. Schols JM, De Groot CP, van der Cammen TJ, Olde Rikkert MG. Preventing and treating dehydration in the elderly during periods of illness and warm weather. J Nutr Health Aging. 2009;13(2):150-157. doi:10.1007/s12603-009-0023-z
  4. Dehydration. National Health Service UK. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/. Published August 9, 2019. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  5. Gordon B. How Much Water Do You Need. EatRight. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-much-water-do-you-need. Published November 6, 2019. Accessed April 11, 2021.

Strawberry Season

While May is considered National Strawberry Month, late May and early June are the perfect time to pick your own or purchase locally grown berries in the Mid-West. To select the very best berries – choose those with full red color, as they will not continue to ripen like some other fruits. The caps should be attached, bright green, and fresh looking. Check berries before refrigerating to ensure there is no mold or damaged areas, these areas can spread to other berries. Refrigerate berries quickly, wash and remove caps only when ready to use. Do not float berries in water when washing, as they will lose color and flavor. Use fresh within 3 days.

If you want to save strawberries that may be low cost now for future use, consider tray freezing. After a quick rinse and pat dry, place berries on a cookie sheet covered with wax or parchment paper and freeze for 1 – 2 hours. Your choice if you remove the stem before or after freezing – it depends on what you want to do with them in the future. Once frozen, roll paper to slide fruit into freezer safe storage container. Remove any air from bag or fill other containers almost full to prevent damage from freezer burn.

The wonderful thing about strawberries is that you get a large serving – 1 cup of fruit = approximately 50 calories. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, and contain fiber, folate, and potassium. Their low glycemic index makes them a great choice for diabetics looking for low carbohydrate, healthy foods. Be creative with your use of strawberries in meals or snacks.

Try:

  • On salads
  • On pancakes with no syrup
  • On cereal or oatmeal
  • In your smoothie or yogurt parfait
  • Infused strawberry and basil water
  • Chopped into muffin or quick breads in place of blueberries
  • Sliced on angel food cake – no icing
  • Making a breakfast pocket with a whole wheat tortilla – spread a little light cream cheese with cinnamon on the tortilla, cover with sliced berries, and toast both sides on a lightly sprayed griddle or pan
  • Or made into a quick, less sugar strawberry freezer jam. This recipe is easy for even young children to make.

STRAWBERRY FREEZER JAM

1 quart of strawberries (about 1 2/3 cups)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons instant pectin

Yields 4 jars of jam – freeze for storage

Directions: Wash hands and preparation area before beginning. Remove leaves/stems and any bad spots from washed strawberries. Add sugar, pectin, and strawberries to bowl and begin crushing strawberries. Stir for 3 minutes. Fill jars/containers with jam and freeze or refrigerate to store. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.

Sources:

Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Strawberries, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5531.

Source: “Put It Up”, National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and Clemson Extension.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Kate Shumaker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Holmes County.

This is the time of year when family and friends gather to enjoy outdoor activities and meals together.  Whether you are sitting on a blanket with a picnic basket or are the grill master in your backyard it is important that we all stay safe and healthy!

Each year millions of people contract and are hospitalized from a foodborne illness. The most common factors of foodborne illness are poor personal hygiene, cross contamination, cooking to the incorrect temperature, and time and temperature abuse. 

Anytime you prepare or handle food you want to wash your hands! Washing hands before and after any task and between handling different food items along cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards and countertops can prevent cross contamination.  Washing your hands can eliminate bacteria from being spread to other food items. 

The USDA temperature “Danger Zone” is between 40°F and 140°F this is when bacteria grows the most rapidly.  This means any cold food items that rise above 40°F and hot food items that drop below 140°F has entered the danger zone and can become hazardous.  Food should not be left at room temperature for more than a two-hour cumulative period. Any food that has been in the “danger zone” for more than two hours should be discarded. 

Another cause of foodborne illness is cooking foods at the incorrect internal cooking temperature.  Cooking meat at the correct internal temperature is an important step to preventing foodborne illness.

Internal Cooking temperature: 

Poultry- 165°F

Ground Meat- 160°F

Fish and Shellfish- 145°F

Steaks and Chops- 145°F

An inexpensive gadget to have to ensure you are staying out of the temperature “danger zone” and cooking to the correct internal temperature is a thermometer.  There are a variety of types so when buying a thermometer make sure you purchase the correct type for what you want to use it for. 

Following these simple rules can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and will keep your family and friends safe at all your meals together!

References:

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Retrieved May 17,2021 from  https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Retrieved May 17,2021 from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Retrieved May 18,2021 from https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/features/coronavirus/returning-to-work/protection/handwashing

Written by:  Kellie Lemly, MEd, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Laura Halladay,NDTR, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County, Halladay.6@osu.edu

When was the last time you fell in love? Maybe it was when you found a special someone, got a new puppy or saw a beautiful grand-baby for the first time. What about falling in love with nature? It only takes a moment to stop and notice things happening in nature, and the good news is you do not have to be a naturalist to reap the benefits of bringing nature into your daily life!

Experiencing nature can be a simple as stopping to notice the big, puffy white clouds in the sky or watching the sun set from your window. The other day I found beautiful bright pink pinecones on a tree that I walk by every single day and never noticed. When we stop and notice the little things in nature, we begin experiencing a deeper connection to something more.

Pink pinecones
Photo source: Shari Gallup, 2021. “Pink Pinecones.”

Nature has a way of calming and healing the human mind and body. Have you ever noticed that you feel happier when you spend time in nature?

Spending time in nature can reduce blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. Research done in hospitals, offices and schools found that the presence of a plant in a workroom can decrease stress and anxiety, and office plants have been shown to reduce employee sick days and improve work productivity.

It is easy to let daily life go by with the busyness of ballgames, work, and other activities, but it only takes a moment to stop and “smell the roses.”  If it is not possible to get outside, here are a few ways to bring nature inside:

Bring plants indoors: I keep a mint plant on my desk and between meetings, I scratch the leaf to release the oil scent and take a few deep breaths in through my nose. My eyes naturally begin to close, and I become calm. Plants help reduce stress and tension. Choose plants that you enjoy and that are easy to grow indoors, or bring in fresh flowers and place them in a container where you can see them.  

Bring the smell of nature indoors: Bring in aromatic flowers, herbs, or pinecones, or use diffusers, candles, or sprays in natural scents like pine, citrus, lavender, or lemon.

Watch the birds:  Set up a bird or suet feeder near a popular window, grab a pair of binoculars if you have one, and watch nature from indoors. There is a lot of great information available from the National Audubon Society if you are new to bird watching, and there are many benefits to becoming a bird nerd

If you want to fall in love with nature, start with something small at first, or choose just one of the suggestions above and go slow…that’s the whole idea!

If you would like to learn more, please join me for a free class on Nature and Nutrition on June 9th at noon!  Register at https://go.osu.edu/wellnessweds.

Written by Shari Gallup, MS, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Licking County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, MPH, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County and Laura Stanton, MS, Family and Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Warren County.

Sources:

Beans, Laura (2014).  Study Shows Living Close to Nature Improves Mental Health. https://www.ecowatch.com/study-shows-living-close-to-nature-improves-mental-health-1881858780.html

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (2015). #PlantsDoThat. https://consumerhort.org/plantsdothat-3/

University of Minnesota. Taking Charge of Your Wellbeing. Healing Environment. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/healing-environment