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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

rhubarb

One of my favorite spring foods is rhubarb. I love rhubarb pie, rhubarb bread, and rhubarb crisp (ala mode, of course). This “pie plant” is primarily used as a fruit, but botanically, it’s a vegetable. Eaten alone, it is extremely tart. The only other comparable plant food that is as tart as rhubarb is a cranberry. And like the cranberry, rhubarb needs a little sugar or honey to balance out its acid content.

Rhubarb is a plant well suited to Ohio weather. It likes a cool, damp climate.  Rhubarb lovers believe that the highest quality rhubarb comes from our northern U.S. states and Canada. It is one of the first edible plants to appear in the spring garden.

Rhubarb is a perennial; it will come back year after year with little-to-no effort on your part. You should harvest the stalks when they are 12-18” long. The color of the stalks will range from green to dark red.  When picking rhubarb, pull it, don’t cut it.  Pull it away from the base (like celery) and give it a good tug.  It will snap off at the bottom.  Take only about 1/3 of the stalks at any one picking. More will keep growing to replace what you’ve pulled. Pick the largest stalks to use first.  And never eat the leaves; they are poisonous!

Nutritionally, rhubarb is not a powerhouse. It is 95% water, and provides some calcium, potassium, and a little bit of vitamins A and C.  However, a one-cup serving of rhubarb does contain two grams of fiber, and is only 26 calories b.s. (before sugaring). When combined with other fruits, you will pick up extra nutrients.  Good pairings include strawberries, apples, raspberries, or blueberries.

If you don’t have a rhubarb plant in your yard, you can purchase some at the grocery store or farm market. Stalks should look flat, not curled or limp.  Deep red stalks are sweeter than light pink ones.  To store, wrap rhubarb in plastic wrap and place in the vegetable crisper for up to a week. Some people like to peel rhubarb before they chop it; I don’t bother.  I just wash it and chop it. If you have extra that you want to save for winter treats, rhubarb is easy to freeze.

If you’ve never tried rhubarb bread before, the recipe below is a good one. Banana and zucchini bread will have to watch their backs with this spring-time winner!!

Rhubarb Streusel Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

TOPPING:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and oil. Add egg, mix well. Stir in milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into wet ingredients until just moistened, do not over stir. Fold in the rhubarb. Pour into two greased 8-inch loaf pans.

For topping, combine sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/rhubarb

https://extension.usu.edu/fscreate/files/uploads/FS_Vegetables/rhubarb_how_to_nourish_with_FINAL.pdf

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

Before the hunt . . .

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

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

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

Happy Spring!

Resources/References:

Food Safety Notebook, The Ohio State University Extension.

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

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

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

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

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springhealth

Spring has arrived!  Imagine warmer days, flowers blooming and the smell of fresh cut lawns!  It’s also the perfect time to take inventory of our health.

  • Schedule appointments and health screenings.  Talk with your doctor to determine a health plan that works for you.
  • De-clutter your medicine cabinet.  Medication should be stored in a dry, cool cabinet.  Check the expiration dates of all medications.   Check with the drug stores or police departments to learn how to dispose safely of old medications.
  • Discard old makeup.  Most products have a one year shelf life.  Throw out products that have an odor or separation of ingredients.
  • Find your calm.  Learn to decrease stress instantly.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, envision a place that is peaceful.
  • Choose in-season, local produce.  Visit a farmers’ market and gain nutritional benefits with spring produce.
  • Go outside-talk a walk and benefit from physical activity and the wonders of the arrival of spring.
  •  Improve your happiness – get rid of clothes in your closet that don’t flatter you.  Get rid of the stuff you don’t want.  Research reveals that helping out others improves our happiness.

Take these steps to help improve your overall health and enjoy spring!

Author:  Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD.  Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Sources:  http://www.webmd.com/allergies/spring-clean

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Candy Counts Add Up Quickly!

Many families as part of their Easter celebration, give a child a basket filled with toys and sweet treats. These treats can really add up the calories and fat… a medium size chocolate bunny (4 ounces) can have 880 calories and 48 grams of fat!

Walk it Off!
Use this calorie counter to determine how far you’d need to walk to burn the calories from the candy in your Easter basket. For example, to walk off the calories consumed from eating 1¾ ounce hollow chocolate bunny (260 calories), you would need to walk 2.6 miles! You may think twice about the treats you put in your child’s basket, and also the ones you might sneak a taste of while you’re filling the eggs!

easter

Fun Alternatives to Candy
There are many ways you can give a child a treat to enjoy without all the calories and fat:
• Fill the basket with favorite fruits. Clementines are a nice colorful fruit that are easy to peel. Dried fruit is a good alternative too… it’s still sweet and filled with nutrients.
• Small toys or activity books. Here are some ideas to get you started:
o Bubbles
o Kites
o Seeds & gardening gloves
o Sidewalk chalk
o Bug catchers
o Art supplies
o Travel games
o Kids’ cookbooks & baking utensils
• Include family fitness toys like a soccer ball or jump rope.
• If you want to include some candy, use small packages to limit consumption.
• Make it a game to find the basket… kids love scavenger hunts. You can even attach a string to the basket that the child must wind up to find the treasure at the other end.
• Themed baskets are great fun for kids too… if they are in to a certain toy, you can add to their collection.

Have a Happy, Healthy Easter!

Sources:
Calorie Counter: http://walking.about.com/library/cal/bleastercalories.htm
Steeves, Ann. “Nutritious and Delicious—Alternatives to Easter Candy.” (2013). The University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 – http://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/blogs/2013/03/alternatives-easter-candy
Image: http://www.gnclivewell.com.au/files/editor_upload/Image/healthy-easter.jpg

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.
Reviewers: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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

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