Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fruits & Vegetables’

This fall I want to encourage you to do something you may have been scolded for at the dinner table as a youth; play with your food! Don’t worry, playing with your food as an adult won’t look the same.  We can sometimes get stuck in a rut when it comes to our food choices or find ourselves on autopilot eating the same foods or using the same recipes over and over. We want to remind you; it is possible to have fun with food even as an adult!  Just adding a few new twists can have you exploring new foods and having fun. May we suggest:

Play with a Cuisine: build some play into the types of cuisines you are trying. Start with creating a list of foods you enjoy or that sound interesting to you. Do you have a curry dish that you love from a local Indian restaurant? Look up a similar recipe online and try it at home. Been wanting to try a new cuisine? Ask around or look online for a restaurant that offers what you’re wanting to try. Adding new cuisines to your food routine can be a great way to include new flavors and textures, and those are NEVER boring!

Play with a Group: Food can be fun to enjoy at parties, or with friends and family. Food is often tied to great memories, family traditions, and other meaningful experiences. Invite a new group of people to join you to play with your food by trying a new restaurant or invite them over to enjoy a meal in your space. Connecting food to meaningful experiences and making new friends is an enjoyable way to play with your food. . . and make a new connection!

Play with a Seasonal Food: Using seasonal food is a great way to save money and try foods when they are showing off at the peak of their freshness.  This list can be a great way to help you know what is in season. Try playing with fresh fruits and vegetables in your favorite season.  Wander the produce section of the grocery store and make a point of picking out something you’ve never tried.  Finding a new food you love will pay off in a fun way for a long time.

Play with a Style: There are so many ways to prepare foods. If you’ve passed on food before, consider trying it again in a new way. Not a fan of steamed squash? Try it roasted in the oven with some fresh herbs. Didn’t love a cut of meat at first taste? Try it in a soup, stew, curry, or pasta dish. You could even play with a new cooking method or technique.  

Now that you are inspired to PLAY with new foods, techniques, and cuisines, we hope you find something new that you love!!

Resources:

Healthy Cooking Techniques: Boost flavor and cut calories. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-cooking/art-20049346

Seasonal Produce Guide. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County  barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

pumpkin spiced drinkAre you a pumpkin spiced lover? Do you flock to the local coffee shop or bakery to pick up the latest pumpkin spiced treat? You are not alone, in 2019 the pumpkin spice market was worth over half a billion dollars in the US alone.  Some of the popular additions to the trend this year are candy, hot or cold drinks, baked goods or mixes, ice cream or cold treats, breakfast foods, and even alcoholic beverages.

True pumpkin, not just the flavoring, is packed with fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C. Just one cup of pumpkin can provide 50% of your daily recommendation for vitamin C and 450% for vitamin A in only 50 calories. The beta-carotene in pumpkin has been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and heart disease.

If you love pumpkin flavors and want to add a few pumpkin foods or treats to your diet, consider making them yourself. Not only will you save money, but you can also have better control on the calories, sodium, fat, and sugar. A typically Pumpkin Spiced Latte has anywhere from 170 to over 400 calories, but if you make this version from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach you can make a low-fat, natural sugar version for about 120 calories. The recipe even ends up being a good source of vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. Other pumpkin flavor ideas include:

  • Pumpkin Oatmeal – mix your oats with skim milk and ½ cup of pureed pumpkin. Add ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice or some cinnamon.
  • Pumpkin Smoothie – yogurt, pumpkin puree, chopped banana, ice, pumpkin pie spice, and a small amount of honey blended until smooth. Make it into a pumpkin smoothie bowl by leaving your smoothie a little thicker and sprinkling granola and a few other fruits on top.
  • Quick Pumpkin Soup – pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, skim milk, and basil, ground ginger, and garlic powder.  
  • Pumpkin Black Bean Chili – heat your pureed pumpkin, black beans, diced tomatoes, chopped veggies (onion, peppers, celery), with chicken broth and diced or canned chicken, and seasonings. Always look for the no salt added or low sodium versions of canned foods.

If you would like to pressure can your own pumpkin or winter squash my coworkers from the Ohio State University Extension Food Preservation Team recently did webinar full of tips. To access that information, go to: https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-people/food-preservation/office-hours-recordings  and click on Canning Winter Squash.

We can’t wait to hear your favorite ways to include pumpkin in your diet. Be sure to comment or share your favorite recipe or pumpkin tip.

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

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Read Full Post »

There are so many things I enjoy about summertime, and admittedly, much of it revolves around food. Fresh peaches are delightful with a wide variety of ways to enjoy them.

Though Georgia most likely comes to mind as the peach capital of the US, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension, more peaches are grown in the states of South Carolina and New Jersey than in Georgia! However, California grows far more than all those states combined. California grows about two-thirds of US peaches, and most of them are for processing canned and frozen peaches. Ohio ranks 23rd in the US for peach production.

Amazingly, the United States produces only 5 percent of the world’s peaches. The peach tree is native to China, and that country produces 45 percent of the world crop.

When evaluating fresh peaches, look at the under color, which should be a deep yellow or creamy white. Peaches that are hard and green are immature and will never ripen properly. Peaches are either clingstone or freestone.  This term refers to how easily the flesh separates from the pit.

The best way to ripen peaches is to place them in a single layer in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature for one or two days. If you stack peaches, the bottom ones will bruise from the weight. Store ripe peaches in the refrigerator for up to a week. Rinse peaches just before eating with cool, running water.

A medium-sized peach has about 60 calories and provides vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.

Peaches are versatile because they can be eaten any time of day in an assortment of sweet or savory dishes. There’s peach cobblers and crisps, fresh peach salsa, peach glazed pork loin, peach and chicken salad, grilled peaches… the list is really endless! Here are three recipes for a cool peach treat.

A simple recipe for Peach Sherbet: Peel and slice 5 or 6 peaches, and then lay them on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze the slices. Next puree the peaches and a can of sweetened condensed milk in a blender until the mixture looks like soft serve ice cream. You can serve it immediately or freeze in an airtight container until it is a firmer texture.

Scoops of orange colored sorbet or sherbet in a bowl

An easy Peach Sorbet recipe: Just blend 4 peeled and pitted peaches with 1 ½ cups orange juice and ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt. Pour this mixture into an ice cream maker and make it like you would any ice cream mix.

A foodie twist on the typical Peach Sorbet: Begin with roughly 3 cups of frozen peaches, ½ cup almond milk, 5 minced basil leaves, juice from half a lime and 4 tablespoons honey. Blend this until smooth and then freeze in an airtight container until solid.

No matter how you like them, I hope you will enjoy some peaches this summer!

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

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

Sources:

Shertzer, Julie Kennel. “Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Peaches”. Ohio State University Extension Ohioline. 2010. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5525

Kelly, Tammy and Stroud, Jennifer. “Juicy Fresh Peaches”. North Carolina Cooperative Extension. 2020. https://lenoir.ces.ncsu.edu/2020/08/juicy-fresh-peaches/?src=rss

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

A bowl of raspberries

It’s 3 pm – a few hours since lunch but not quite time for dinner. Your stomach starts to rumble a bit and you are low in energy. You open the fridge and cannot find anything you want so you turn to the cupboard and end up mindlessly snacking.

I know I am not alone when I say this: I often need a snack in the afternoon! However, a snack can turn into an additional meal if you do not have the right snacks on hand. On average, about one-fourth of daily calories are provided by snacks.  In fact, snacking more times in a day has been found to be associated with consuming more calories. For this reason, it is important to have healthy snacks available so that when you do get hungry between meals, you have something nutrient-dense ready. Follow these three simple tips to improve your snacks and avoid mindless snacking:

Plate of Hummus, sliced vegetables and pita chips

1. Plan your snacks

Next time you go to the store, make sure to add your snacks to the grocery list. Preparing single-serving snacks can help you have just enough to satisfy your hunger. Some staples that I keep on hand in the fridge are baby carrots and hummus or guacamole. Rather than eating out of the tub of hummus or the bag of carrots, portion some out onto a plate or cup. This will help you avoid excessive snacking.

2. Make healthy shifts with snacks

Try different fruits and vegetables to find the perfect snack for yourself. Foods and beverages that contribute the most calories for snacks are not the most nutritious options. By opting for a more nutrient-dense snack, you are making a healthier choice for your body and can improve your health. Rather than opting for chips and nacho cheese, try cowboy caviar and fresh veggies. Instead of opting for a granola bar with added sugar, try eating fresh fruit. Switch any refined grains to whole grains. Transition beverages with added sugars to no-sugar-added beverages. These small changes can make a big difference over time.

Plate of bean, corn and veggie salsa

3. Keep temptations out of sight

Keeping tempting foods out of sight may help you avoid choosing them as snacks. It may also be helpful to keep them out of the house altogether! If you don’t have them in your house, you cannot have them unless you go to the store to get them.

What changes can you make to enjoy healthier snacks? Are there any Healthy Snack Hacks you will try?

Written by: Miriam Knopp, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

USDA Choose MyPlate (2016). “10 Tips: MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents.” www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-snack-tips-for-parents.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020, 8th Edition. “Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.” https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/DGA_Shift-to-Healthier-Choices.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). “NHANES – What We Eat in America.” www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/wweia.htm.

UCSF Health. “Behavior Modification Ideas for Weight Management.” www.ucsfhealth.org/education/behavior-modification-ideas-for-weight-management.

Read Full Post »

The pandemic prompted many more people to plant vegetable gardens this year. Both seed companies and Extension Master Gardener programs have noticed this increase between purchases and visits to online courses and resources.  Some people had the time to plant because they were off work or working at home, others planted as a way to relieve their stress, and many planted to ensure they would have fresh produce for the summer (and maybe longer if they preserved by canning, drying, or freezing). In Ohio, these gardens are now yielding green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, fresh herbs, cucumbers, onions, sweet corn, and much more. When the first vegetables ripen everyone is excited to fix them for lunch or dinner, but after a few weeks you may be wondering “Why did I plant so much?” or “What can I do with the rest of this, because my kids won’t eat corn again this week?” If this is you – Ohio State University Extension (and other Land Grant Universities, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, and the USDA) are here to help.home canned foods

There are several key points to keep in mind when you decide you want to preserve produce for the future, here are the top three:

  1. Always use reliable, approved guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, or Cooperative Extension. You may ask “Why can’t I just use anything I see on the Internet or make my pepper relish the way my Great Grandma did?” The main reason is because especially low-acid foods (vegetables, meats, or seafood) have to be pressure canned to prevent botulism, which is serious stuff. By using resources from the above sources, you ensure that you are using safe, tested procedures that will provide high quality results. Check the date too, are you using a source from the last couple years? New research and procedures come out all the time. Make sure you are using materials dated in the last 5 years (even though it may be fun to look at a cookbook from 50 years ago, canning isn’t when you want to follow that recipe). Remember that canning is a science, not an art.
  2. Decide if are you are canning, freezing, or drying the produce based on your plans for future use and the foods your family will eat. It does not benefit your family to spend lots of time and purchase the supplies needed if they will not eat the final product you preserve. For example, there are many things you can do with tomatoes – salsa, canned whole tomatoes, tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, dried vegetable leather, and even spiced tomato jam. Consider the foods your family enjoys before you can 50 jars something that only one person likes.
  3. Ensure you have the proper supplies to make the product. Do you need a pressure canner, or can you use a hot water bath canner? Do you have enough Mason style canning jars or freezer quality containers? Do you need a food dehydrator, or can you use your oven or other drying racks? Here is a quick reference chart if you aren’t sure if you need to use a hot water bath or pressure canner.

In addition to the sources listed about for food preservation here are a few others:

Enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long by using safe preservation methods.

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.

Sources:

The National Center for Home Food Preservation, https://nchfp.uga.edu/

University of Minnesota Extension, https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/canning-quick-reference-chart

Utah State University Extension, https://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/food-preservation-tips.

Read Full Post »

We have all been impacted one way or another by the Coronavirus pandemic. During a health crisis, taking preventative measures is important. The CDC has listed precautions people should be taking right now. These include washing your hands, staying away from people who may be sick, and protecting your nose and mouth with an appropriate mask. Another way to protect yourself from sickness is keeping your immune system strong, which is your body’s defense against illnesses.

The Cleveland Clinic notes 3 vitamins to boost your immune system:

Vitamin C: found in many fruits especially melons, berries, and citrus, bell peppers, and dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, anFresh Vegetablesd spinach.

Vitamin B6: found in chickpeas, green vegetables, chicken, and fish.

Vitamin E: found in spinach, seeds, and nuts.

Additionally, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states these nutrients listed will also help boost your immune system:

Vitamin D: found in fortified milk and juice, eggs, and fatty fish.

Zinc: found both in animal and plant sources such as meat, beans, tofu, and nuts,

Beta carotene: found in plant foods such a potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and mangos.

Probiotics: found in cultured dairy and fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.

Protein: both animal and plant-based sources, such as nuts, eggs, meat, beans, and fish.

Eating healthily during a pandemic can be tough but having long-lasting food on-hand is a great way to ensure you and your family are fed when practicing social distancing. There are also ways to focus on consuming the food listed above to keep those immune systems in tip-top shape. Before you stock up on all the frozen and non-perishable foods you can find, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Frozen meals: Be sure those frozen meals include some of the foods listed above, for example fruits and vegetables.

Pasta: Add some razzle dazzle to pre-packaged pasta meals such by adding vegetables to the dish or pair it with your favorites on the side. You can also try this stir fry recipe that includes meat and vegetables with packaged ramen noodles for a yummy twist.

Canned goods: great way to add some fruits, vegetables, and beans to any meal. And make sure your canned soup has vegetables in it for extra nutrients, and always look for the no-salt added version.

Smoothies: Make a smoothie with your favorite frozen fruit and be sure to use a little yogurt and orange juice for some added nutrients.

Snacks: Snacking is inevitable! Snack on things such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, hummus, raw veggies, and more!

Below are two family fun snack and meal recipes that are sure to give you those nutrients that could give your immune system that extra boost!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Fruit and Veggie Snacks

All in all, you eat your way to a stronger immune system. Note that supplements are not recommended unless necessary. And always consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian first. We will get through this uncertain time together!

About the author: Carmen Bell is a senior Nutrition and Food Science-Dietetics student with a Health and Human Performance minor at Middle Tennessee State University. She is a part of the MT Nutrition Team where she works to provide nutrition education to children, students, faculty, and staff on campus. Beginning summer 2020, she will be an Iowa State University Dietetic Intern and upon completion of the program will continue her process of becoming a registered dietitian. In the future, she will obtain her master’s degree in Leadership in Nutrition and wants to work will all ages on their health.

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

Read Full Post »

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 18% or 13.7 million children and adolescents in the United States are obese. This means that they have a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC growth charts. It is projected that this epidemic will affect 50-80% of children in the United States by 2030.

Childhood obesity can result from an unbalanced diet consisting of high-calorie, low nutrient food and drink choices, lack of physical activity, and a rise in sedentary, screen-focused activities such as video gaming. Many studies have shown that children with obesity are at increased risk of developing short-term weight-related health conditions, as well as chronic conditions later in life. These children have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even premature death. This condition can also impact mental health in children, causing isolation stemming from bullying, depression, poor self-esteem, and a general lack of confidence.

BUT! There is good news. Obesity does not have to follow children into adulthood. Adopting positive lifestyle choices as children can help establish healthy habits and prevent the onset of these weight-related health conditions. Although genetics and metabolic rates differ from one child to another, healthy eating and living an active lifestyle can help manage their weight status, regardless of whether the child is at a normal weight, overweight, or obese.

You may be thinking this sounds great in an ideal world where kids get excited about eating their greens, and request grilled chicken instead of chicken nuggets, but that’s just not the world we live in. So how can we get our kids to eat nutrient-packed, lower calorie foods?

Use fun colors! – Instead of using traditional colored foods, here are some fun ideas to make your child’s plate more vibrant:

  • Try rainbow colored carrots instead of regular carrots.
  • Make a rainbow veggie wrap with bright colored peppers, spinach, and red cabbage.
  • You can also use red cabbage juice, blueberry juice, or other natural dyes to color cauliflower, rice, and yogurt a new color!

Use fun shapes! – Try creating fun, new shapes with ordinary foods. rocket shaped sandwich with vegetables

  • Use cookie cutters to cut fruit or veggies into interesting shapes.
  • Try using a spiralizer or a spiral veggie knife to present vegetables into noodles or zoodles.

Hide the fruits and veggies! – Disguise fruits and vegetables in your child’s favorite foods

  • Create a tasty, nutrient-rich smoothie with your child’s favorite fruits and vegetables and freeze it into ice pops for a tasty treat.
  •  Substitute traditional dishes with healthier options that appear the same. Examples include mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or spaghetti squash to replace regular pasta.
  • Add healthier substitutes in a dish that looks similar. Try adding squash to macaroni and cheese, chopped vegetables in meatballs, or making chocolate pudding with banana, avocado, cocoa powder, and vanilla!

Lastly, get your kids involved in the kitchen! Letting children help in meal preparation can motivate them to eat the dish they helped create.

  • Mother and daughter shopping for fruit.It begins at the grocery store – Consider bringing kids along and let them help you pick the produce they find most appealing.
  • Encourage your child to find a recipe they want to make, which includes a fruit or vegetable, and make it together.
  • Give your child age-appropriate tasks during meal prep such as washing the produce, mixing ingredients, and setting the table!

Check out the Ohio State University Extension Office’s Nutrition page for information about additional activities, classes, and education. Incorporating these fun, simple ideas into your child’s routine can help them develop lifelong healthy habits which prevent the onset of conditions related to obesity. Teaching our children how to practice these lifestyle changes can impact this generation, and generations to come!

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html

The Harvard Gazette: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/11/harvard-study-pinpoints-alarming-obesity-trends/

About the Author: Olyvia Norton is a senior student in the Nutrition and Food Science, Dietetics program at Middle Tennessee State University. Her interests are in clinical nutrition, specifically pediatric nutrition and nutrition support. She serves as the President of the Students of Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is an active member of the Nutrition and Dietetics Association at Middle Tennessee State University and works as a dietitian’s assistant in Middle Tennessee for patients with special needs. Olyvia also enjoys serving on medical mission teams outside of the United States to bring better nutrition to underserved populations in developing countries.

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

Read Full Post »

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  – Audrey Hepburn

We’re moving into fall and eventually those long winter days and nights, so what better time to “Plan” a Vegetable Garden?”  According to Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Natural Resources, Wayne County Ohio State University Extension, “The potential benefits of home vegetable gardening are numerous.  Successful gardens are the result of good planning, management, and careful workmanship.”

Interested in learning more about the various activities required for a successful home vegetable garden?  If you said “yes,” then you’ve come to the right place!

Why Have A Garden?

  • A well planned and a properly cared for garden can provide considerable food for family use from a small plot of land.  planting garden
  • Most home gardeners agree that “home grown” vegetables, freshly harvested, prepared, and eaten are the ultimate in fine vegetable flavor.
  • Fresh or preserved homegrown vegetables can help reduce family expenditures for food and make a valuable contribution to family nutrition.
  • Vegetable gardening can be an educational and fun activity for all individuals, families, and communities.
  • You can create real-life experiences and connections between gardening, health, cooking, food preservation, local foods, grocery stores, farmers markets, and community kitchens.
  • Good gardening results can be shared with others through vegetable exhibits at local, county, and state fairs. Gardeners find these activities exciting, fun, and challenging.

The “Favorite Fives” for a Successful Home Vegetable Garden!

  • Location – A good location provides adequate plant exposure to sunlight, fertile and well-drained soil, a nearby source of water, is close to the house, and is appropriate to the service area of the home landscape.
  • Soils – Vegetable plants grow best in a fertile, well-drained soil of loamy texture. However, most gardeners do not have such soil. Don’t overlook the aspect of soil preparation as less desirable soils can be modified with soil conditioners such as peat moss, compost, sawdust, or other available organic materials.
  • Garden Size – The garden should not be so large that the crops fail to receive proper care. Often times more high quality vegetables are obtained from small, well cared for plots than from large, neglected gardens. Don’t have any available ground?  Don’t forget about container gardening and/or community/rent-a-garden space.
  • What to Grow – More than 40 different vegetable crops can be grown in Ohio. If you’re from another state or location, check with your local cooperative extension service and/or agencies to see what’s available to you. The choice of crops depends largely upon the needs and tastes of the family and the amount of available growing space. If space is limited, consider planting crops that will be more productive.
  • The Fall Garden – Late summer or early fall plantings of vegetables that make rapid growth and mature crops before extremely cold weather sets in will enable the home gardener to extend the gardening season and get best use of the garden area.

Please refer to an excellent publication titled “Planning for the Garden” by Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Natural Resources, Wayne County Ohio State University Extension.

Adapted by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Program Assistant, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County, dellifield.2@osu.edu

Sources:

Planning for the Garden.  Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Natural Resources, Wayne County Ohio State University Extension.
https://wayne.osu.edu/sites/wayne/files/imce/Program_Pages/ANR/Garden/Planning%20and%20Planting%20%20the%20Garden.pdf

Ohioline.  Ohioline is an information resource produced by Ohio State University Extension. Through Ohioline, you have access to hundreds of OSU Extension fact sheets covering a wide array of subjects such as agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community development, and 4-H youth development.
https://ohioline.osu.edu/about

Food Safety in Gardens.  Sanja Ilic, PhD, Assistant Professor and Food Safety State Specialist, Department of Human Sciences, Human Nutrition and Melanie Lewis Ivey, PhD, Assistant Professor, Fruit Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology.
https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1153

Read Full Post »

Have you had a bounty of okra in your garden this summer? My co-workers have had great luck with the okra they grew – evidently the plants like the heat and extra rain we had in Southern Ohio. Because of their bountiful okra harvests, we have had a number of discussions of recipes and how to prepare this vegetable that you may not be as familiar with as others. Here are some okra basics.

Selection – okra pods are best when they are small to medium in size, about 2 to 4 inches long and bright in green color. Okra plant

Storage – the pods can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For best storage, refrigerate unwashed (but dry) okra pods in a vegetable crisper. They may be loosely wrapped in a perforated plastic bag. The ridges and tips of the pods will turn dark, which indicates deterioration and need for immediate use.

Freezing for Longer Storage – By water blanching okra for 3 minutes you can hold the quality when freezing. Start by carefully washing, then lower okra into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Use a metal blanching basket if you have one. Immediately plunge blanched okra into an ice bath for 3 minutes and carefully dry. Package into freezer containers and date.

Okra can also be pressure canned, follow this link to more information on that process OKRA.

Nutritional Value – 7 okra pods = a 25 calorie serving. They contain no fat or cholesterol, and are very low in sodium. They have 6 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber. You can also get 30% of your Vitamin C for the day, as well as some folate, and magnesium with okra.

Skillet of roasted vegetables with okra, tomatoes, onions, and beansHow to Prepare – while there are a number of ways to prepare okra, several popular choices are roasted, grilled, or with tomatoes. Here is a link to several from the USDA Mixing Bowl – go.osu.edu/okra. The Italian Vegetable Medley with Okra, the Spicy Okra, or the Veggie Stir-Fry with Okra look like great ways to clean out the end of summer produce in your garden or to use up wonderful Ohio produce from the Farmer’s Market. Leave a comment below to let us know your favorite okra dish, especially something creative like the roasted okra, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and beans with olive oil and mixed herbs that my co-worker fixed this week.

Sources:

National Center for Home Food Preservation, https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/okra.html.

USDA Mixing Bowl, http://go.osu.edu/okra.

Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/resources/michigan_fresh_okra

Photo credit: Debra Calvin, Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

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

Reviewer:  Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »