You Asked It!

Category: June 2018

Eating Out by the Numbers

An example of calorie labeling on menus. Photo: FDA

Beginning in May 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring certain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. This is applies to chain restaurants and retail food establishments with more than 20 locations. These operations include:

  • Foods served at sit-down and fast-food restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and restaurant-type foods in certain grocery and convenience stores.
  • Take-out and delivery foods.
  • Foods purchased at drive-through windows.
  • Foods that you serve yourself from a salad or hot-food bar.
  • Alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and cocktails that appear on menus.
  • Foods at places of entertainment, such as movie theaters or amusement parks.

Calorie information on menus and menu boards must be clearly displayed. For self-service foods, such as foods served at salad bars and buffets, the information must be clearly displayed so consumers can see it when they are serving themselves.

Learn more at


CFSAN Resources for You!

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has a large catalog of publications and videos on food safety, nutrition, dietary supplements, and more. Best of all, they are free!

The Education Resource Library is searchable by topic, audience, format, interactive and audio. Many are downloadable to print or you can order printed materials. There are many resources in a variety of languages. Sign up for CFSAN News for Educators to receive quarterly newsletters.

Go to for more information.


New Food Preservation Resources

The University of Georgia has added a couple new resources to the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

Onions are a popular vegetable to grow in the garden. Preserving them for later use can be done several ways including freezing, drying, pressure canning or using in a relish. For more information, see

Do you enjoy the tangy taste of oranges? Try this easier and faster recipe for Orange Marmalade. Read through the recipe. Do you know the definition of “albedo?” It is the white pith or tissue just under the outer orange layer. The albedo contains natural pectin so this recipe does not require added pectin. When cooking the marmalade, use the “jellying point” technique to determine when the marmalade is sufficiently cooked. The recipe is located at

Orange Marmalade to Brighten Your Day

Using Natural Pectin in Fruit Pie

Some fruit pie recipes need help to get the filling just right. One solution is to add a peeled,  grated, and squeezed dry Granny Smith apple which is full of natural pectin.

Apples contain high amounts of high-methoxyl pectin and makes a great gel. In combination with two tablespoons of instant tapioca, the gel should have a pudding consistency.  Crush some of the other fruit and combine with the grated apple. This helps release the natural pectin within the fruit cell walls to achieve a good gel.

Tip for Tapioca:

Grind or crush the tapioca to minimize the “pearl” look in the filling.

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


Food Safety for Moms-to-Be

The Food and Drug Administration has had resources for Moms-to-Be for a while. These resources have been updated with current information and some new information has been added. Topics include:

  • Fish consumption advice
  • New Dietary Advice for Moms-to-Be page to get the best nutrition.
  • Updated educator materials for prenatal and childbirth healthcare professionals.
  • Update information on toxoplasmosis and Listeria.

Find more resources at


Preserve Smart App

Colorado State University has developed a new food preservation app to help make canning a bit easier. The app is called “Preserve Smart” and is currently available for Apple iOS devices only. But it can be used on any computer.

This program is unique in that it starts by asking you to enter your elevation. The program will remember that elevation throughout the system. So it will highlight the processing instructions for your location in each recipe. Also, the program has freezing and dehydrating instructions. There are recipes for canning fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, pickles and fermentation.

The website address for this program is Search the Apple app store for Preserve Smart to download it to your mobile Apple device.


Summer Ag Adventure Challenge

As school winds down, it’s time to plan activities for kids. So help them learn about agriculture through the Kansas State Fair Summer Ag Adventure Challenge!

There are 12 agriculture adventure stops listed on the Ag Adventure sheet. You choose 6 of these stops to visit between May 1 and August 15, 2018. You can mail, email or bring your completed adventure sheet to the Kansas State Fair. All adventure sheets turned in by August 15 will receive a KSF Agriculture Fun Pack. Your name will also be put into a drawing for a free Kids Club ticket package to attend the 2018 Kansas State Fair.

Download the instructions and activity sheet to participate.


How to make Cherry Raisins

Photo: Utah State University

Wash and pit pie cherries. Heat 2 cups of cherries and 1/2 cup of sugar until the liquid boils for 1 minute. (Cherry-sugar mixture will form own juice.) With a slotted spoon, transfer cherries to a dehydrator. Dry at 140-150°F until moisture decreases to 80% solids. Cherries will be firm and rubbery to the touch. For best results, base the drying on the final solids content of 80%. Freeze or vacuum package to avoid mold growth.

To calculate desired final cherry weight for 80% solids:

  1. Weigh a container for fresh and dried cherries on a scale. Note weight.
  2. Add fresh cherries to the container. Weigh. Subtract container weight.
  3. Calculate desired final weight. (Fresh cherry weight) times (.175) = desired weight of dried cherries.
  4. Add calculated desired final weight (#3 above) and weight of container (#1). When dried cherries reach this point, they are ready.

Source: Utah State University Extension


Canning in Half-gallon Jars

Half-gallon sized canning jars are available, but they are not recommended for canning many foods. In fact, the only products recommended by the manufacturer to can include apple juice and grape juice ONLY in a boiling water bath canner.

There are no other research-tested processes for half-gallon jars. Boiling water processes for other foods for jars larger than those published with recipes (usually pints and/or quarts) cannot be extended by any formula to a larger jar.

Historical canning resources may reference the use of half-gallon jars. However, these are not currently accepted or endorsed by the USDA, Cooperative Extension, or U.S. canning jar manufacturers.

Sources: and


Beyond the Trash Can

Fresh Food In Garbage Can To Illustrate Waste

Think twice before tossing that unfinished meal or imperfect food. Each day, U.S. consumers toss about one pound of food. That is equivalent to one-third of the daily calories each person eats.

Some of the healthiest foods that are wasted are fruits and vegetables and mixed fruit and vegetable dishes followed by dairy and meat and mixed-meat dishes.

Food waste happens in many other points of the food chain besides at home. When foods are wasted, losses are also felt in the environment, farmers time, land and other resources used to grow and raise food.