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Tag: vegetables

Prepping Vegetables for Freezing

Enzymes are a natural component of food. They work inside food and can change flavor, texture, color and nutrition. Blanching stops enzymes and protects the food from quality changes.
Enzymes are a natural component of food. They work inside food and can change flavor, texture, color and nutrition. Blanching stops enzymes and protects the food from quality changes.

Most vegetables need to be blanched before freezing to inactivate enzymes and protect their quality. This is done by water or steam blanching. Can blanching be done in the microwave?

Using the microwave may produce poor results. Due to uneven heating, the microwave may not completely inactivate enzymes. This results in off flavors, poor texture and loss of color. The microwave does not save time or energy.

For best results, use water or steam blanching. Learn more about freezing at www.rrc.k-state.edu/preservation/freezing.html.

 

 

Are Pesticide Residues a Risk?

Each year, the Environmental Working Group publishes the “Dirty Dozen” report of foods that test positive for pesticide residues.

While these foods may show pesticide residue is present, the risk is negligible. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerance levels for pesticide residues is protective of human health. Test results are at levels well below tolerances set by the EPA.

Drs. Carl Winter and Josh Katz of the Department of Food Science and Technology a the University of California-Davis are leading experts in the issue of pesticide residues.

In a peer-reviewed, scientific article in the prestigious Journal of Toxicology (2011) they state the following conclusions:

  1. “Exposures to the most commonly detected pesticides on the twelve commodities pose negligible risks to consumers.”
  2. “Substitution of organic forms of the twelve commodities for conventional forms does not result in any appreciable reduction of consumer risks.”
  3. “The methods used by the environmental advocacy group to rank commodities with respect to (potential) pesticide risks lacks scientific credibility.“

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135239/

Other resources:

www.clemson.edu/extension/peach/faq/dirty-dozen-pesticide-residues.html

http://extension.psu.edu/food/preservation/faq/pesticides-on-food

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi230

www.ams.usda.gov/datasets/pdp

Introducing….Kalettes!

The choices for vegetables just added a new member! Your local grocer may be offering Kalettes. What is this new vegetable?

It is a cross between kale and brussels sprouts. It looks like a little cabbage with heads that are loose and frilly, green-purple leaves. Kale and brussels sprouts are in the same family, Brassica Oleracea, along with cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. The goal was to create a versatile vegetable that is easy to prepare and attractive. Their flavor is said to be sweet and nutty.

Kalettes can be eaten raw or sautéed, roasted, or grilled.

Kalettes were created in Britain after a decade of research by Tozer Seeds using traditional hybridization techniques.

Learn more about Kalettes at www.kalettes.com/.

 

Pretty Spring Peas

Peas
Peas can be eaten raw or cooked. Select firm, bright green, medium-sized pods for best freshness.

Add a pop of green color to meals with Spring peas! Here are some ideas:

  • Add to soup or stew.
  • Add to rice or barley pilaf.
  • Substitute half of the avocado in guacamole with mashed peas.
  • Add to stir-fry meals.
  • Liven up a green salad, pasta salad or any salad.

Learn more at www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/peas.