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:

Your Brain on Exercise?

ThinkstockPhotos-122413055Exercise can boost brain health! A recent study by researchers at UC Davis Health System shows people who exercise have better mental fitness. Vigorous exercise increases the level of two brain chemicals: glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, known as GABA. These chemicals help defend against depression.

Richard Maddox, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, states, “Major depressive disorder is often characterized by depleted glutamate and GABA, which return to normal when mental health is restored. Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.”

Although results are preliminary, rigorous exercise may now become an important part of treating major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses because it naturally increases the level of these two chemicals. Maddox, the study’s lead author, calls the findings “very encouraging.”

Source: www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/10798

Clean Your Way to a Safer Kitchen

ThinkstockPhotos-479870372 cleaning stove kitchenShake off winter by doing some spring cleaning. It is a great time to target harmful bacteria that can hang out on kitchen surfaces and even in your refrigerator. You can’t see bacteria, but they are everywhere! They especially like moist environments. A clean and dry kitchen protects you and your family from foodborne illness.

  • Always clean surfaces with hot, soapy water. After thoroughly washing surfaces with hot, soapy water, sanitize them with a disinfectant kitchen spray or diluted chlorine bleach solution (1 teaspoon bleach to 1 quart of water). Let the solution stand on the surface for a few minutes, then blot dry with clean paper towels.
  • Disinfect dishcloths often. Launder dishcloths and towels frequently using the hot water cycle of the washing machine. Then be sure they are thoroughly dry.
    Rid your refrigerator of spills, bacteria, mold, and mildew. Clean your fridge weekly to kill germs that could contaminate foods. Clean interior surfaces with hot, soapy water. Rinse well with a damp cloth; dry with a clean cloth. Some manufacturers recommend not using chlorine bleach because it can damage seals, gaskets, and linings.
  • Clean your kitchen sink drain and disposal. Pour a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water down the drain once or twice per week. Food particles get trapped in the drain and disposal, creating the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Sources: www.fightbac.org and www.foodsafety.gov

Summer Bounty Salad

SummerBountySaladServing Size: 1 Cup | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups vegetables (chopped) (carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • 1 pepper (green, red, or yellow), sliced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tomatoes (red, yellow, or mixed)
  • 2/3 cup light or fat free salad dressing

Instructions:

  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables. (Cut the carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, and pepper in slices. Make the broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Slice or chop tomatoes.)
  2. Combine all vegetables and salad dressing in a bowl, stirring to coat vegetables with dressing.
  3. Cover and refrigerate 1–3 hours to blend flavors. Store any leftovers in refrigerator and use within 3 days.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 2g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more recipes, information, and videos, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/.

Gardening: Top 10 Vegetables to Grow and Eat for Health

sb10062327dd-001Growing your own food doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have never gardened, start small using containers or a small plot of land. Plant vegetables you really like to eat.

Several vegetables that grow well in Iowa made it to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach “Top 10 Vegetavcbles to Eat for Health” list. Choose to grow and eat the following vegetables to boost your health:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels spouts
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Pumpkin
  •  Red bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter squash

These vegetables earned their ratings by providing at least 20 percent of the recommended dietary intake for one or more nutrients such as Vitamin A or potassium.

Each vegetable was also rated for its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). This measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. Consuming high-ORAC foods may help protect cells from damage by oxygen radicals. This, in turn, may slow down the processes associated with aging in both the body and the brain.

Numerous publications are available to download and print as you plan and plant your garden. Go to the Extension Store at store.extension.iastate.edu and enter either the title or number of the publication of interest in the search box:

  • Planting a Home Vegetable Garden (PM 819)
  • Small Plot Vegetable Gardening (PM 870A)
  • Container Vegetable Gardening (PM 870B)

If you have further questions, contact your local county extension office or enroll in classes to become a “Master Gardener.”

What’s Keeping Americans from Moving More?

ThinkstockPhotos-87633673The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) promotes eating smart, moving more, and being at a healthy weight as the three top ways to reduce cancer risk. Cancer prevention research says that you should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day and avoid sedentary habits like too much sitting, TV watching, or screen time.

Survey respondents said the biggest barrier toward meeting this recommendation is TIME! A key strategy to overcome this barrier is to start adding it in your schedule in small increments and slowly build up to 30 minutes daily.

  • Take a 5-minute walking break: After every hour of sitting, get up and walk around. Walk down the street, down the hall, up and down the stairs; just move for 3 – 5 minutes, building up to 10 minutes for every 60 minutes of sitting.
  • Make it a family affair: Create family activity challenges. Craziest dance moves, most jumping jacks in a minute, fastest running in place—whatever your family would find fun. Let the kids take turns leading an exercise break.
  • Try a new activity or get back to that thing you used to do: Maybe you used to bike, hike, or play tennis. Find a like-minded friend(s), join a class, and make it a social occasion.

Source: AICR’s eNews, February 4, 2016.

Food Safety Protection in Iowa: Did You Know…

  • ThinkstockPhotos-499289680No Bare Hands: The Iowa Food Code does not allow food handlers to touch ready-to-eat food with bare hands when serving the public. This means that foods like fresh produce (already washed and cut), sandwiches, pizza, deli meats, and bakery products are handled with tongs/utensils, deli papers, or gloves over clean hands.
  • Certified Food Protection Manager: The Iowa Food Code requires that at least one employee with supervisory responsibilities in a foodservice/restaurant operation be certified in food safety. This requirement became law in 2014. Existing restaurants have until January 1, 2018, to get at least one manager food safety certified.
  • Temporary Food Stands: Local food inspectors are busy during the summer months! They arrive before the food is served and inspect food stands at the farmers markets and at community events (Ice Cream Days, Watermelon Days, etc.). They check food temperatures and cleanliness, and they make sure the food handlers have a way to easily and correctly wash their hands.

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