You Asked It!

Category: June 2016

Celebrate Summer with a Picnic!

International Picnic Day is June 18!

It’s that time of year for family reunions, July 4th parties, camping and more! Don’t invite foodborne illness to your party! Here are some tips for a perfect picnic:

  • Plan ahead to bring essential items such as a food thermometer, cooler chest with ice, plenty of clean utensils, storage containers for leftovers, paper towels, and trash bags.
  • In preparation for your picnic, don’t thaw meat on the counter overnight—that’s not safe.  Thaw food in the refrigerator or cook from the frozen state.  Don’t partially cook meat and poultry ahead of time.
  • When you arrive at the picnic site, the first task is to wash your hands before preparing food.  If running water is not available, use disposable wet wipes or hand sanitizer to clean your hands before and after touching food.
  • Don’t leave foods out in the sun.   At the picnic, keep the cooler in the shade.  Serve food quickly from the cooler and return it fast.  In hot weather, above 90F, food shouldn’t sit out of the cooler over an hour.

Learn more at


Food Preservation Classes in June

Food preservation classes are now scheduled for the following dates/locations:

June 10—Centralia, contact Cindy Williams,, 785-863-2212 OR Susie Latta,, 785-562-3531

June 13—Abilene, contact Chelsi Myer,, 785-263-2001

June 16 or 17—Salina, contact Leah Robinson,, 785-392-2147

June 21 – Eureka, contact Beth Ireland,, 620-583-7455

June 30—Hutchinson, contact Jennifer Schroeder,, 620-662-2371


USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

The University of Georgia has issued an update to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning dated 2015. Purdue University will be selling the publication and are currently taking pre-orders at

Here are the updates:

  • Page 1-10. Equipment and methods not recommended. Neither one-piece zinc porcelain-lined caps nor zinc caps that use flat rubber rings for sealing jars are recommended any longer.
  • Page 1-35. Pressure Canner—The minimum volume of canner that can be used is one that will hold 4 quart jars sitting upright on the rack.
  • Page 5-7. Meat Stock. Changed some wording.
  • Page 6-9. Bread and Butter Pickles. Do not lime the onions. Do not lime squash.
  • Page 7-10. Golden Pepper Jelly. Recipe changed to improve texture and consistency.


Put It Up! Curriculum

Do you use the Put It Up! Food Preservation for Youth curriculum from the National Center for Home Food Preservation?

If so, they would appreciate any feedback to help evaluate and improve the program.

There are online feedback forms within the website for your use. This data will be used to provide feedback to the USDA to help make changes to the program.

The Put It Up! curriculum is for 4th– to 12th-graders depending on prior experience with food preparation and sciences.


Commercial Jerky Recall

Learn more about jerky at

A Clarkson, WA establishment has recalled beef jerky products due to under processing and potential survival of pathogens in the meat. This recall is a reminder to those who dehydrate jerky at home to heat the meat to 160°F to eliminate potential E. coli bacteria. There are two methods to heat the meat. Choose one of the following:

  1. Boil the meat strips in the marinade prior to dehydrating for five minutes.
  2. After dehydrating, place the jerky on a cookie sheet and place in a preheated oven at 275°F for 10 minutes.

Jerky recall details can be found at:

For more information see:




Safe Convenience Food Preparation

MicrowaveCook It Safe!

Every year, one in six Americans become ill from foodborne illness. Many times, these illnesses are traced back to improperly cooking foods, especially convenience foods. The Partnership for Food Safety Education has a education effort entitled Cook It Safe! to help consumers learn about safe cooking.

Not all convenience foods are intended to be heated or cooked in a microwave. Many are conventional oven use only. So, always read and follow the cooking directions on the package. If a microwave can be used, know the microwave wattage to know how much time it will take to heat the food. Finally, always use a thermometer to safely reach the proper internal temperature. Many convenience foods need “stand time” after cooking to allow the food to reach safe temperatures.

Learn more about the Cook It Safe! program at



Safe Water
Over the past 45 years, the proportion of outbreaks associated with private water sources has increased.

Water is essential for all life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that about one in nine Americans get their water from private wells. About one in five sampled private wells are considered unsafe.

The CDC wants to help health departments reduce harmful exposures from private well water sources. The Safe WATCH program can help identify gaps in local health department programs and then take actions to correct problems.

Learn more at


Xylitol and Your Dog

Dogs tend to chew on or eat anything in sight. So be careful about foods containing xylitol that could be within Fido’s reach. Why is xylitol dangerous to dogs, but not people?

Xylitol and Dogs
Keep your dogs safe!

In both people and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.

This rapid release of insulin may result in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that can occur within 10 to 60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can quickly be life-threatening.

Learn more at


Eliminating the Gray

If you’ve ever made homemade noodles, you’ve probably seen the noodles turn a gray color after drying. This is due to polyphenol oxidase enzymes in hard white wheat flour.

White Asian Noodles
White Asian Noodles

Polyphenol oxidase is found in all plants and causes browning in cut apples, black spots in cut avocadoes, and dark marks on banana peels.

USDA Agricultural Research Service researchers have now developed a new wheat variety with practically no polyphenol oxidase. They crossed two Australian wheat varieties from a germplasm collection in the 1930s. This variety will benefit the milling industry and exporters to Asian markets.

Learn more about this wheat variety in the April 2016 issue of AgResearch Magazine at


KDA Egg Grading Workshops

The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) is hosting three egg grading workshops in June. Grading eggs adds more marketing options for poultry farmers. All workshops are free of charge.
For more information and registration, go to:KDA Egg Grading Workshops

The poultry industry contributes $112 million annually to the Kansas economy.

Classes will be held at:
Tuesday, June 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m.