You Asked It!

Category: February 2018

Avoid the Raw Water Fad

Water is essential for life. So access to safe water is critical for all forms of life. As 2018 begins, a new food fad is spreading to drink “raw water”, or untreated water. People are literally buying it at a premium cost.

Proponents of this dangerous trend claim it has beneficial minerals and is not treated with any chemicals. Those drinking this water claim their “skin is plumper” and they feel they are getting better nutritional value from food.

This fad is dangerous for many reasons. Here are five dangerous microorganisms that can be found in untreated water.

  • Giardia—a parasite that invades the gastrointestinal (GI) system and causes diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps.
  • Cryptosporidium—a parasite that causes diarrhea and can survive outside of the body for a long time.
  • Campylobacter—a bacteria that affects the GI system and is resistant to many antibiotics.
  • Salmonella—causes diarrhea, fever and cramps for days. Hospitalization is common.
  • E. coli—many strains can cause GI disease, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and more.


Learn more about healthy water at


Walk Kansas is Almost Here!

Get your teams together now! The KSRE Walk Kansas health initiative will be held March 17—May 12, 2018.

The goal of Walk Kansas it to help teams of six people be more active, make better nutrition choices, and walk away stress. For many, it’s a great way to get motivated to lead a healthier life.

Also, mark your calendars for the third annual 5K for the Fight to be held May 5, 2018 on the K-State campus in Manhattan, KS.

Sign up and Walk Kansas!


The Powerful Potency of Plant Foods

For years, nutrition experts have touted the benefits of eating plant foods to combat inflammation and chronic diseases.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered the power of plant foods rich in anthocyanins may have in preventing or reducing colorectal cancer cell growth. Anthocyanins are color pigments that include purple, red, and blue hues.

The research included in vitro studies. They found that the anthocyanin extracts induced apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells. Apoptosis is essentially the destruction of cells so they die. Therefore, the growth of colon cancer is inhibited.

Foods rich in anthocyanins include blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, purple corn, red cabbage, red beets, and many more.



Super Bowl Food Safety Toolkit

The biggest party of the year is almost here for football fans. So plan your food safety defense with a toolkit from USDA FSIS to prevent foodborne illness from scoring a touchdown.

The toolkit includes talking points, fact sheets, infographics, social media posts and much more. A lot of this information can be used for other general events such as cooking for groups, traveling with food, the four steps to food safety, and more.

Learn more at


New Bread Sculpture Contest at Fairs

“Find Your Fun” and have some fun with food! A new contest for county fairs and the State Fair has been developed by the Kansas Wheat Commission to bring out your creativity with bread sculptures.

The Kansas Wheat Commission recommends having a county contest to send the winner on to the State Fair. But, individuals may still enter their item in the “Open Class” Bread Sculpture contest at the State Fair.

Judges will consider creativity, originality, imagination, attention to detail, design, color, and instructions.

For more information, the contest flyer can be found at under “Foods & Nutrition.”

For questions, please contact or


The History of the Humble Pot Pie

There are many kinds of comfort food. But, the pot pie is one that has quite a history. A basic pot pie consists of a pie crust, poultry or meat, vegetables and gravy. It is a good way to use up leftovers for an easy meal.

Prior to becoming popular in American cuisine in the late 1700s, the pot pie was a very “lively” dish. According to Smithsonian magazine, cooks from the Roman Empire era would sometimes make pot pies with a living bird that would burst through the pie shell when cut and fly out. Surprise! While this would scare any unsuspecting diner, this active meal was still prepared in 16th century England.

Pot pies were also described as “Sea Pie.” This version typically included pigeons, turkey, veal and mutton. The name came from the pie being made aboard ships.

In 1951, the first frozen pot pie was created by the C.A. Swanson company and was made with chicken.

Other versions of pot pies have toppings made of mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, cornbread, biscuits and more.

Source: The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John F. Mariani


Are Your Dried Beans Old?

It is soup season and many recipes include dried beans. But how can you tell if they are old? One specific sign dried beans are old, is if they wrinkle during soaking.

As dry beans soak, they should absorb moisture through the hilum, the part of the bean that attaches to the pod. But during harvest handling and storage, dry beans can develop holes, called “checks”, due of temperature changes, moisture changes, and fungi growth. The “checks” allow water into the bean and wrinkle the skin.

Since these “checks” are difficult to see before cooking, always buy new beans and use  remaining dry beans within one year.

Source: The Science of Good Cooking, Cook’s Illustrated


Enjoy Cherries in February

Cherries have many potential health benefits.

While cherries aren’t harvested until summer, they are celebrated in February to enjoy the red color, popular in February, and to celebrate President George Washington’s birthday.

Cherries are found in a variety of forms including fresh, frozen, dried, canned, juice, and more! Besides a cherry pie, cherries are used in salads, as a topping for meat, poultry and fish, as a snack, in yogurt and smoothies, and even condiments such as a cherry mustard.

Need some recipes ideas? Check these out from the Cherry Marketing Institute at


Removing Odors from Appliances

When the power goes out, or a refrigerator or freezer fails, food will likely spoil leaving unpleasant odors behind. These odors can be difficult to remove, but worth a try.

Remove the spoiled food and dispose of it. Take out shelves, trays, and storage bins. Wash them in hot water with detergent. Rinse and sanitize. Wash the unit interior, the door, and gasket with hot water and baking soda. Rinse and sanitize. Leave the door open at least 15 minutes to air dry.

If odors remain, try any or all of these ideas:

  • Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and wipe the inside of the unit.
  • Leave the door open to air out several days.
  • Stuff the interior of the unit with wads of newspaper, close the door and let sit several days. Remove paper and clean with vinegar and water.
  • Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda in a shallow container. Let sit in the unit for several days.
  • Use a commercial product to remove odors and follow manufacturer’s instructions.



Candy Making Tips

Making candy is the science of cooking sugar. Success depends on many factors.

  • Use a heavy saucepan with metal that conducts heat, such as aluminum.
  • Use a big pan to prevent boiling over. This is especially true if using molasses.
  • The pan should fit the burner or be just a little smaller than the burner. This keeps the pan sides hot and reduces crystal formation.
  • Heat and stir the mixture over low heat to dissolve all sugar crystals. Before the target temperature is reached, brush pan sides with water to wash sugar crystals back into the syrup or put the lid on the pan for steam to melt sugar on pan sides.
  • Once sugar is dissolved, attach a candy thermometer inside the pan and do not move it.
  • Once desired temperature is reached, do not scrape the pan or put a used spoon in the mixture. That will cause crystal formation.

Source: Cookwise, by Shirley Corriher