Safe Preserving Using a Steam Canner

Home canned peachesThe University of Wisconsin–Madison published research saying that an Atmospheric Steam Canner is safe to use for home canning of acidic foods such as fruits, or acidified foods such as salsa or pickles, as long as the following guidelines are observed:

  • Foods must be high in acid, pH of 4.6 or below.
  • A research-tested recipe developed for a boiling water canner must be used with the Atmospheric Steam Canner. Do not rely on the recipes that come with the steam canner.
  • Jars must be heated prior to filling with hot liquid, the steamer must be vented so that the jars are processed in pure steam at 212o F for 45 minutes or less. Cooling must be minimized prior to processing.
  • The steam canner may be used with recipes approved for half-pint, pint, or quart jars.

For further information: fyi.uwex.edu/safepreserving/2015/06/24/safe-preserving-using-an-atmospheric-steam-canner/.

DESKerWhat?

occupational disease prevention - exercise in officeSitting is the new smoking. Long periods of sitting, even if you get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity in during the day, can be harmful to your health. If you have a sedentary desk job, you may find it difficult to move throughout the work day.

Try to “deskercise,” which refers to exercise that can be done during the workday right at your desk. The National Center for Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) has a deskercise poster you can download at no cost. Choose two exercises on the poster and do them twice a day. The exercises include cardio, strength, and flexibility. Challenge your coworkers as well to get active at their desks. Here is the link to download the poster: www.nchpad.org/fppics/deskercise%20poster_updated.pdf.

Apricot Pops

ApricotPopsServing Size: 1 pop (1/2 cup)
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) apricots, packed in juice or light syrup
  • 2 cartons (6 ounces each) of low fat, sugar free vanilla yogurt

Supplies:

  • 8 small paper cups
  • 8 plastic spoons or wooden sticks (for handles)

Instructions:

  1. Drain apricots.
  2. Chop the apricots finely and mix with the yogurt or blend the fruit and yogurt until smooth with a blender or food processor.
  3. Pour mixture into 8 small paper cups and put in freezer. After half an hour (when they start to freeze), stand a plastic spoon or wooden stick in the pops.
  4. Freeze 3–4 hours or until pops are solid.
  5. Remove from cup to serve. Place bottom of cup under hot running water for 20 seconds. Peel off paper cup.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 12g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 8g sugar, 2g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Visit the website for more recipes, information, and videos.

Surfing the Web for Accurate Nutrition and Health Information

tablesThe internet can be a great information resource that is quick and easy to use. You can find breaking nutrition news, healthy recipes, and sound nutrition advice. Like other media outlets, however, the web can also be crowded with misinformation and poor nutrition guidance. Here are tips to help make you a whiz on the web in searching for credible nutrition and health information.

Perform an “advanced search” to help limit the search to be more specific to your needs. For instance, you can search within a specific site or domain. The three-letter suffix on a website address such as “.com” or “.edu” is the domain. Some domains may be more credible than others.

Remember, dependable sources often state where information is coming from, who funds the studies or organization, and what credentials and education qualify the writers on the topic. For more information, download the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication.

Survivor’s Guide to Healthy Web Surfing and Phone Apps (N 3418), store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/N3418

Sources:

Foam Roll Your Way to Better Fitness

What Does It Do?

Foam rolling uses a process called “myofascial release” to stretch out tight muscles and release tension that causes an area to feel sore. The goal is to break up the tissue that connects the muscles called fascia. This long, cylindrical fitness tool is used by directly applying pressure to the target muscle area.

The Benefits

  • Increased Range of Motion: During exercise, muscles constrict and create tension, decreasing mobility. Using a roller promotes more flexible muscles, allowing them to fully reach their potential range of motion.
  • Strength and Balance: Foam rollers are not only used for stretching, but as a component of an exercise program. Yoga and Pilates utilize this tool to strengthen the core by creating instability.
  • Feeling of Relief: After exercise, muscles can feel sore and tight. Rolling out the knots relieves some of the pain created by this built-up tension.
  • Increased Circulation: Foam rolling allows more oxygen to circulate to the target muscles, assisting with recovery and performance.
  • Easy and Affordable: Foam rollers can be purchased for as cheap as $10 and are lightweight and easy to transport.

Explore exercise ideas and check out types of foam rollers to purchase for your active lifestyle.

Sources:

Frozen Fruit Cups

frozen fruit cup

Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 medium to large banana, sliced
  • 2 kiwi, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Mix strawberries with sugar in a bowl. Let mixture sit 20–30 minutes while strawberries make juice.
  2. Add banana and kiwi to strawberries.
  3. Scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of six muffin cups lined with paper liners.
  4. Freeze. Remove from freezer about 20–30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 50 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 13g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 8g sugar, 1g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Visit the website for more recipes, information, and videos.

Organic Does Not Mean Chemical Free

Written by: Joe Hannan, ISU Extension and Outreach Commercial Horticulture Field Specialistrows of crops

A common misconception among consumers is that organic means “chemical free.” Regardless of the farming system, however, chemicals can be applied to a field. The difference is the type of products that can be applied.

  • Conventional Farming – Any pesticide that is approved by the EPA for a particular crop and pest can be applied.
  • Organic Farming – Only products that are naturally occurring in the environment can be applied.

EXAMPLE: Pyrethrum is an insecticide derived from mums and can be used in organic farming systems. Manufacturers have found that slightly modifying the chemical structure of pyrethrum, however, increases its effectiveness against insect pests. This modified insecticide cannot be used on organic farms but can be used on conventional farms.

The EPA ensures safety to the environment and to humans through the product label. The label provides the details for how to use a product, including the following:

  • what crops it can be used on
  • what pests it is effective against
  • the rate and the frequency it can be used

Human tolerance to pesticides is derived by research before products are released to market and regulated by the FDA. The label is designed to keep pesticide residues on consumed produce below a threshold that can harm humans. This is why there are often restrictions between product application and when a product can be harvested. It is illegal to sell a product that has not been sprayed according to a pesticide label or if pesticide residue is greater than FDA tolerances.raspberry This is true regardless of whether a product is grown organically or conventionally.

It is difficult to make generalizations about organic and conventional farming systems’ impact on the environment. For instance, an organic farmer may choose to use pyrethrum to control spotted winged drosophila in raspberries while a conventional farmer may use a modified pyrethrum-type insecticide. The organic farmer would need to spray more often than the conventional farmer but would have less impact on nontarget insects. On the other hand, the conventional farmer would make less trips through the field using less insecticide, water, and fuel. That’s just one example. In Iowa, most fruit and vegetable farmers fall somewhere in between certified organic and conventional by using best practices from both systems.

For more information, visit the following:

Move for Thought

family playing soccerSummertime is here—time for children to go outside and play! Whether being active inside on rainy days or outside on sunny days, children need 60 minutes or more of moderate physical activity each day. Families that are active together improve their physical as well as their emotional health.
Most days, include physical activities such as

  • walking,
  • playing outside,
  • helping with chores,
  • taking the stairs,
  • picking up toys, or
  • walking the dog.

For strength and flexibility, encourage tumbling, swinging, martial arts, rope climbing, pushups, or yoga 2–3 times a week.
For aerobic exercise, activities could include cycling, running, relay races, basketball, swimming, kickball, or soccer 3–5 times a week.

Sources: Designed to Move; Be Active (HS 4)

Buying Fresh Produce? Keep It Fresh?

Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors. Just as their nutritional benefits differ, the way in which you store fresh produce differs too! The required storage temperature and humidity level varies depending on the type of fruit or vegetable. Avoid placing produce in a sealed plastic bag on your countertop. This slows ripening and may increase off-odors and decay. Use the guides below to store your garden bounty.

fresh produceStore these at room temperature, making sure they are clean, dry, well ventilated, and away from direct sunlight:

  • Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, melons, bananas, pumpkins, and winter squash

Ripen these on the counter, then store in the refrigerator:

  • Avocado, kiwifruits, peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums

Most other fresh produce keeps best stored in a clean refrigerator at 40°F or below.

  • Store fruit in a different refrigerator crisper drawer than vegetables. Fruits give off ethylene gas, which can shorten the storage life of vegetables. Some vegetables give off odors that can be absorbed by fruits and affect their quality.

Source: Amy Peterson and Alice Henneman from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Roasted Kalettes

Total time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 1 cup | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Kalettes (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  2. Combine Kalettes, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Roast in the lower third of the oven until just tender and browned in spots, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 108 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115mg sodium, 6g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2mg
potassium, 4g protein

Source: Jan/Feb 2015 EatingWell