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Posts Tagged ‘Fruits & Vegetables’

2023 words with the ocean and sunset behind the words 2023.

As we start the new year, this is a perfect time to look at our perspectives on our health and well-being. 2023 brings new possibilities especially when it comes to our health and wellness routines. After the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, many people start out highly motivated and determined that this year things will improve. However, within about six weeks, motivation dwindles.

Many times, it is challenging to know where to begin. So, if you are feeling unsure how to start, I suggest you consider small strategies that will help you achieve your goal throughout the entire year.

Here are strategies to consider for the new year.

Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. Approximately one in 10 adults are meeting this recommendation. Start by choosing one new fruit or vegetable each week to add more color to your diet

the year 2023 numbers created with fritys and vegetables

Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables. These are convenient and an effortless way to encourage you to choose fruits and vegetables when you are hungry. Check your local ads for sale items and utilize coupons while grocery shopping.

Volunteer at a local community site. Community engagement by volunteering your time can positively impact your mental health. Your health begins with mental health.

7 women smiling and wearing gray shirts with white writing with the word VOLUNTEER on their shirts.

Aim for 30 minutes of activity every day. Our bodies are meant to move. Activity promotes good circulation, which allows cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Movement increases metabolism. Non-movement leads to impaired blood circulation and decreased metabolism. Remember some movement is better than no movement.

Sit less, stand moretry having a walking meeting or stand more during the day. Choosing to sit less and move more provides benefits our health, mind, and body.

Move for 2-5 minutes every hour. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Moving more will support bone health, enhance brain power, burn calories, and increase circulation.

Start your day in a positive way. Try to listen to a positive podcase in the morning or read 5 to 10 minutes in a positive book. Try positive affirmations the morning.

Make one slight small change for your wellness this year. Whether it is from a movement perspective, a nutrition standpoint, or a mental health space. Put your goal in writing. WRITE IT DOWN! Share your change with a friend or family member to hold you more accountable. One small change can help you be a healthier person in 2023.

Author: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, M. Ed., OSU Extension Wood County

Reviewer : Casey Bishop, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, MACP, OSU Extension Paulding County

Resources:

https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/

Human Performance Institute, Inc (2018), Johnson and Johnson.

 Webinar “A Healthier You in 2023” by Dr Megan Amaya, Associate Clinical Professor, Director of Health Promotion & Wellness, Co- Director, Bachelor of Science and Health & Wellness, The Ohio State University, College of Nursing, December 14, 2022.

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2022/How-Volunteering-Improves-Mental-Health

https://www.juststand.org/the-facts/

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At a recent professional development conference for the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina I was able to take part in an in-depth tour of a family operated produce farm in Princeton, North Carolina. While I attended many great sessions at the conference, it was a tour “Locally Sweet: Understanding Local in a Global Food Market” that I told everyone about when I returned to Ohio. We were fortunate to have a tour of the Kornegay Family Farms & Produce facility by Kim Kornegy LaQuire. At this multigeneration operated family farm they grow sweetpotatoes, watermelon, corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, and butternut squash on 6,000 acres. Kim told us that she is a farmer “who sits behind a desk.” She runs the farm’s human resources, payroll, labor compliance, public relations, and food safety programs. Her brother does more of the physical farming labor.

If you are questioning my use of “sweetpotato” It is not a misspelling. According to the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commision, sweetpotato is one word. Sweetpotatoes are native to the Americas and different from yams. Yams are typically imported from Africa and have a white flesh. Sweetpotatoes can be a variety of colors including the typical orange to yellow, white, or even purple. Both vegetables can vary in size, but yams have been known to grow much larger – up to 100 pounds even.

North Carolina produces more than 65% of the nation’s sweetpotatoes. The farm I toured distributes sweetpotatoes globally across the United States, to Canada, and even Europe. The conference I attended was in September – during sweetpotato harvest, which lasts from early-September to the end of October. Sweetpotatoes are harvested by using special equipment that slides under the potatoes in the ground and pulls them to the surface. They are then gathered by hand into buckets, then dumped into large box of sweetpotatoescrates for transport and storage. Sweetpotatoes are cured after harvest and often stored for up to a year in huge climate-controlled storage buildings. When it is time to pack them in boxes for distribution, the potatoes are washed, sorted for quality, and packed into large 40-pound box for shipping. Unusual shaped, large, or small sweetpotatoes are sent to facilities where they are canned or turned into fries or even tater tots. Slightly damaged sweetpotatoes will become food for livestock.

The ideal sweetpotato can fit easily into your hand. One cup of cubed sweetpotato contains 114 calories; 12% of the daily recommendation of potassium; 27 grams of carbohydrate; 4 grams of fiber; Vitamins B6, C, A; and magnesium. After selecting your perfect sweetpotato from the garden, farmers market, or grocery – store them in a cool, dry place for the best quality. Avoid storing in the refrigerator where they will develop a hard core and bad taste. Sweetpotatoes are very versatile and can actually even be eaten raw like a carrot stick. My favorite uses are cubed in my chili or taco meat (just try it – it gives a sweet taste and cuts the acid of too much tomato), roasted, or as a cranberry sweetpotato bake that I will show below. My whole family requests this dish for holidays, over the marshmallow or sugar topped versions. I typically cut everything up for it the night before, and then place it all in a slow cooker first thing in the morning. Frees up oven space that is a premium. For other sweetpotato recipes check out https://ncsweetpotatoes.com/recipes/ where the options are almost limitless.recipe card

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

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

Sources:

The North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission,  https://ncsweetpotatoes.com/.

Kornegay Family Farms & Produce, https://kornegayfamilyproduce.com/.

Much to Discover About North Carolina’s “Dirty Candy”, Coshocton Tribune, E. Marrison, https://www.coshoctontribune.com/story/news/local/coshocton-county/2022/09/25/much-to-discover-about-north-carolinas-dirty-candy/69509036007/.

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The holiday season is here!  Holiday celebrations often center around food.  We plan to manage our healthy meal plan during the holidays and avoid weight gain yet find ourselves in the office breakroom with a tray of cookies, opening the door to your neighbors’ famous peanut butter fudge or get an invite to go out with friends.   Here are some tips to help maintain weight over the holidays:

  • Eat your fruits and vegetables.  Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits.  They will satisfy your appetite and induce fullness.
  • Keep moving.  Manage your daily physical activity.  Be active daily!
  • Treat yourself just once a day!  Enjoy that one item daily.  Take a smaller serving.  Cut out an extra 100 calories later in the day.
  • Control the risk of temptation.  Clear your home and office of tempting holiday goodies. Share any gifts of foods.
  • Balance protein intake.  Holiday meals tend to be higher in carbohydrates and low in protein. Include protein with every meal.
  • Never go to a party hungry.  Eat a serving of fruit, yogurt, or raw nuts before you leave for the party. Don’t linger over the buffet table.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  Those who do not sleep adequately tend to be hungrier, consume more calories and exercise less. 
  • Manage stress.  Holidays are often stressful and stressed individuals have higher cortisol levels which is linked to increased hunger and weight gain.

Socialize with friends and family at holiday gatherings and limit access to buffet and dessert tables.  Choose from the crudities tray. Happy Holidays!

Written by Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:Michelle Treber, OSU Extension Educator, Pickaway County  treber.1osu.edu

References:   

Holiday Eating – Today’s Dietitian Magazine (todaysdietitian.com)

https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1215p20.shtmlMay Your Holiday Season Be Light: How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (todaysdietitian.com)

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Soups, stews, casseroles, and stuffing. There are many popular recipes this time of year that call for the use of broths and stocks. Not sure of the difference between broths and stocks? One of our blogs has the answer. While not too expensive, you probably have everything you need to make your own broth at home- you might even be throwing it away! 

At home, we keep a freezer bag for storing our cooking scraps. The bottom and tops of celery, red and white onions, carrots, green onions, leftover herbs, a small piece of shriveling bell pepper that wasn’t used. When the bag becomes full, we dump it all into our pressure cooker, cover it with water, and in a short time, we have stock. This is also a wonderful time to look in the fridge and pantry for other items that might be good additions: garlic cloves, a knob of ginger, I’ve even added a softening apple to the pot. 

There are hundreds of recipes online promising the perfect proportion of ingredients to make the best vegetable broth. As a sustainable alternative, here’s my method for making vegetable broth at home from things you already have. Put fresh and/or frozen vegetables and herbs into a pot, cover with water, simmer for about an hour. If you’d like to speed up the process you could use a stove or countertop pressure cooker. Once the broth is to color and flavor you like, strain, and use in your favorite recipe. While not an exact science, this method allows for simple, free, clean-out the kitchen broth.

Another benefit of storing scraps in a freezer is that it allows flexibility to use the items when it fits into your schedule. In addition to the cost-savings, convenience, and eco-friendly benefits of making broth at home, there are health benefits as well. You can control the amount of salt going into the broth, and by doing so, into the final dish. So next time you are slicing and dicing your way to a delicious meal, consider saving your scraps to give them new life!

Sources:

Christensen, E. (2020, October 24). How to make vegetable stock (it’s so easy!). Kitchn. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-vegetable-stock-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-136725.

Riley, J. (2020, January 8). Broth versus stock. Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/02/03/broth-versus-stock/.

USDA. (n.d.). Recipes- Soups and Stews. MyPlate. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes?f%5B0%5D=course%3A127.

Author: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, woelfl.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Katie Schlagheck, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, Ohio State University Extension

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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