Cutting and Storing Fresh Fruit

cut watermelon

It is important to cut and store watermelon and other fruit properly for quality and safety. First, begin by washing your hands. You should also wash the outside of watermelon or other fruit using a vegetable brush and cool water. Bacteria lingering on the outer surface of fruit, like watermelon, can transfer into the
fruit when cutting.

Cut your melon this way:

  1. Cut off the ends, to provide a fat base.
  2. Place the knife where the white rind meets the red flesh. Following the curve of the fruit, cut off the rind.
  3. Cut the whole watermelon into disks, with the width of the disks being the same width you want the diced cubes to be.
  4. With the disks facing down, cut same size strips in both directions, “dicing” the melon.

The ISU Extension and Outreach website Spend Smart. Eat Smart. also has a video called How to Cut a Melon, blogs.extension.iastate.edu/spendsmart, showing how to cut and prepare melon. Store watermelon at 40°F or lower in the refrigerator. Bacteria can grow in cut melon that is held at higher temperatures.

Sources: Cutting & Yield, www.watermelon.org. How to Cut a Melon, blogs.extension.iastate.edu/spendsmart.

Avocado Toast with Watermelon

Avocado

Serving Size: 1 slice of toast with toppings | Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons mashed avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons diced watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Mix mashed avocado with lemon juice.
  2. Spread half the avocado mix on each slice of the toasted bread. Top with half of the watermelon and cheese, then sprinkle with half of the mint leaves and lemon zest.

Nutrition information per serving:
130 calories, 6g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrate, 3g fber, 3g sugar, 5g protein

Recipe courtesy of Watermelon Board, www.watermelon.org

Labels Lead to Food Waste

Trash and trash can

Many Americans throw away perfectly good food due to label confusion. This contributes 398,000 tons of food waste each year. “Best by” labels indicate when the manufacturer believes the food should be used for best quality, NOT food safety. “Use by” and “sell by” dates are similar for shelf stable foods; these dates tend to reflect quality, not food safety. However, “use by” and “sell by” dates on refrigerated items do indicate when the food may begin to spoil. Don’t use refrigerated foods that are past the “use-by” or “sell-by” date. If a food product is nearing the indicated date, you may be able to freeze it to extend its life.

Sources:
National Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org/food-waste
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, www.fda.gov

Two Rules for Safe Outdoor Meals

When cooking and serving meals outdoors, remember to make food safety part of your planning. Keep these two guidelines in mind:

Grilling meat and using a food thermometer
  1. Don’t Cross Contaminate
  • When marinating food for grilling, refrigerate during the marinade process.
  • Keep your raw fish, meat, and poultry away from any cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
  • Have a clean plate to carry food to and from the grill.
  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces and utensils after they have been in contact with raw fish, meat, or poultry.
  • Be sure to have an extra clean utensil to remove cooked food from the grill.

2. Use a Food Thermometer

Experienced cooks may think they know when food is done just by looking at it, but this may not be the case. Burgers can turn brown before they are fully cooked. Germs that cause foodborne illness are not killed until a safe internal temperature is reached. This is where a food thermometer comes in. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know your food is done and safe to eat.

Use a thermometer to test for doneness:

  • Fish—145°F
  • Steaks, chops—145°F
  • Ground meat—160°F
  • Poultry—165°F

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin | Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together whole wheat four, white flour, sugar, baking powder, and chia seeds in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix together milk, oil, eggs, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter into muffin tins.
  5. Bake until the muffins are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. This should take about 16–18 minutes.
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Tip: Use 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice in place of the 1/3 cup lemon juice.

Nutrition information per serving:
180 calories, 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 26g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 10g sugar, 4g protein

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

Fun Ways to Eat Chia Seeds

Breakfast including chia muffins, eggs, fruit, and milk

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds of the chia plant, Salvia hispanica. They are a fun way to add fiber, texture, and extra nutrition to your foods.

Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart and brain health. They also have antioxidants that may reduce your risk of chronic illnesses. The seeds contain lots of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. The mature seeds are white or black. Brown seeds are immature seeds and don’t have the same nutrient composition.

Chia seeds are versatile. They have little favor of their own, so they don’t compete with the other favors in a dish. They swell up and form a gel, yet they continue to have a slight crunch. Prepare chia seeds by first soaking a quarter cup of them in one cup of water for 20–30 minutes. Then try one of the following:

  • Adding chopped fruit to them
  • Sprinkling them on salads or stirring them into yogurt
  • Adding them to smoothies or juice
  • Making chia muffins (see recipe) or chia pudding

Explore other fun ways to eat chia seeds at Healthline, https://www.healthline.com.

Source: American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS), https://www.aocs.org/.

Use a Food Thermometer

Hamburger on grill with thermometer

Using a food thermometer ensures food is cooked to a safe temperature. You can’t rely on the color or texture of a food to determine if it’s safely cooked. For example, ground beef may turn brown before it reaches a temperature that kills germs. A hamburger cooked to 160°F is safe regardless of color. Use a food thermometer to make sure cold food is at or below 40°F and hot food is at or above 140°F.

Food thermometers come in a variety of types and styles. Visit the
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, www.fsis.usda.gov, for
more information.

Source: Kitchen Thermometers, www.fsis.usda.gov

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serving Size: 1 stuffed pepper | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 5 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, or green)
  • 1 pound ground beef (90% lean), uncooked
  • 3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (14 oz), low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut a circular hole in the tops of the bell peppers. Remove seeds and membrane and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir until completely mixed. Fill the bell peppers with meat mixture.
  3. Place the stuffed bell peppers in a large stockpot on the stove with the tops facing up. Add 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pot and cover.
  4. Place heat on medium, keeping covered for 30–40 minutes until rice is done. Serve.

Nutrition information per serving:
277 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 57mg cholesterol, 66mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g sugar, 21g protein

See how to make this recipe and more on USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen YouTube, bit.ly/3s09zjQ.

Source: MyPlate, www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes

Practicing Food Safety Each Day Keeps Foodborne Illness Away

Fruits and vegetables on kitchen counter

One in six people get food poisoning—also known as a foodborne illness—every year in the United States. Young children, pregnant women, and older adults have a higher risk of foodborne illness.

Pregnant women are at high risk for listeriosis, a type of foodborne illness that causes miscarriage. Lower the risk by doing the following:

  • Cook meat, seafood, poultry and eggs thoroughly.
  • Do not eat cold deli meats or hot dogs. Heat sliced deli meats and hot dogs to 165°F or until steaming.
  • Avoid raw bean sprouts, unpasteurized milk, or cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

Adults ages 60 years and older are at higher risk for foodborne illness because the immune system weakens with age. Likewise, young children are at higher risk because their immune systems haven’t fully developed yet.

Keep everyone safe by following these food safety practices.

  1. Clean: Wash your hands thoroughly. Clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces.
  2. Separate: Keep raw meats apart from other foods that may be eaten without cooking, such as fruits and vegetables.
  3. Cook: Cook foods to the correct temperature. Use this handout on food thermometers, bit.ly/2YXooHu, for more information.
  4. Chill: Don’t leave food out of the fridge for more than two hours.

For more information on food safety in the kitchen, visit Ten Steps to a Safe Kitchen, bit.ly/3rh2r24.

Source: Ten Steps to a Safe Kitchen, bit.ly/3rh2r24

Energy Bites

Energy bites on sheet pan with milk

Serving Size: 1 energy bite | Serves: 25

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned or quick)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut fakes
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet.
  3. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  4. Roll each drop of mixture into a ball. Place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition information per serving:

90 calories, 5g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 2g fber, 5g sugar, 2g protein

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

Subscribe to Words on Wellness

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Categories