The holidays bring the joy of time with family and friends! One tradition is making cookies to share. With recent recalls of contaminated flour, it is important to handle cookie dough safely to not spoil holiday fun.
Many cookies are shaped with your hands. Resist the temptation to lick your fingers or sample the cookie dough! Risks from eating raw eggs and now uncooked flour, can increase your risk of getting a foodborne illness. Regardless of the brand or source of flour or eggs, the risk of foodborne illness is present when consumed raw.
Be sure hard surfaces to roll out cookie dough are clean and sanitized before and after dough has been in contact with the surface.
As always, wash your hands before and after handling cookie dough or any raw foods. Follow recipe instructions for baking cookies at proper temperatures and specified times.
While November 15 is designated as “National Clean Your Fridge Day” day, this cleaning should happen often throughout the year.
Wipe up spills immediately, clean surfaces thoroughly with hot, soapy water; then rinse. Once a week, make it a habit to throw out perishable foods that should no longer be eaten. Storage time for cooked leftovers is 4 days; raw poultry and ground meats, 1 to 2 days. Avoid using solvent cleaning agents, abrasives, and all cleansers that may impart taste to food or ice cubes, or cause damage to the interior finish of your refrigerator. For more information, go to “Refrigeration and Food Safety.”
In a review of research up to August 2015, the researchers looked at seven studies on egg intake and stroke and seven studies on egg intake and CHD. The meta-analysis showed a statistically significant 12% lower risk of stroke. There was no association of egg intake and CHD.
Eggs are a low cost, nutrient dense food that can be beneficial in the every day diet. One egg is considered as one ounce-equivalent in the Protein Foods Group of the MyPlate guidelines.
As we approach the winter months, a plethora of citrus fruits populate the fresh produce section of grocery stores. One of the more popular citrus fruits is the Mandarin family of small oranges that include clementines, tangerines and satsumas.
Satsumas as small, loose skinned fruits known as “honey citrus” because of their sweet flavor. Their skin is thin and easy to peel and usually seedless. These tender fruits are typically sold in boxes to protect them from damage during transportation. Originally from the Satsuma region of Japan, they are now grown in Northern California.
Clementines are a hybrid of the Mandarin tree. They are also sweet, thin skinned, and should feel soft. They are highly perishable, so refrigerate if not eaten within 2 to 3 days.
Consumer activists have championed their causes for hundreds of years. In the 1880s, Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, M.D. was the champion for safe food. He is known as the “Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act” and also directed the Bureau of Foods, Sanitation, and Health for Good Housekeeping magazine.
In 1902, as the chief chemist at what is now the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Wiley organized a volunteer group of healthy men known as the Poison Squad. These men were tasked to eat foods that contained chemicals and adulterated foods to see how it affected them. No women were allowed in this group. As a result of these dangerous tests, Federated Women’s Clubs and commercial canners changed many procedures and methods to make food safer. In June 1906, the Pure Food and Drugs Act was signed into law, leading into the creation of the Food and Drug Administration.
When Dr. Wiley left his government position in 1912, the news headline read: “Women Weep as Watchdog of the Kitchen Quits after 29 Years.”
While not very appetizing to discover when you crack open a fresh egg, blood spots are not harmful.
According to the American Egg Board, blood spots are “occasionally found on an egg yolk. These tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. Instead, they are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct.
Mass candling methods reveal most eggs with blood and those eggs are removed. However, even with mass scanners, it’s impossible to catch them all.”
“Both chemically and nutritionally, eggs with blood spots are fit to eat. You can remove the spot with the tip of a knife, if you wish.”
When searching the canned vegetable aisle, you’ve probably seen cans of yams. Are they the same as sweet potatoes? The truth is, what we call a yam is actually a sweet potato. It is likely you’ve never tasted a yam!
The sweet, orange-colored vegetable is truly a sweet potato. A true yam is from the Dioscorea genus and is imported from the Caribbean. It has a rough, scaly exterior and is more white in color due to low beta-carotene content.
Sweet potatoes can vary in color from white, to orange, to purple. The traditional orange variety was introduced several decades ago and were labeled as “yams” which is the English form of the African word “nyami.”