Kitchen Hint of the Day!

September 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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A wonderful and – dare we say it? – fun way to make your fruits and veggies last longer is to try home canning. You may think canning is just for country folk, but it’s becoming more and more popular as a way to save money and make sure you’re eating foods with the least amount of preservatives possible. Buy foods when they are in season, or better yet, grow your own and can to save later. The biggest trick in canning is to make sure that no air (which contains bacteria) gets into your jars; this is achieved with a pressure canner or boiling – water canner. Find out what these contraptions are and how safely fruit, vegetables, pickles, meat, poultry, seafood, salsas, pie filling, jams, and more from the USDA‘s extensive free Guide to Home Canning, available at: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html.

2013 U.S. apple crop is up 13 percent

September 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM | Posted in fruits | Leave a comment
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The estimate was given during the association’s annual Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference, held Aug. 22-23 in Chicago.

The 2013 estimate represents a 13 percent increase over 2012’s final crop of 215 million bushels, and a 9 percent increase over the five-year average (224 million bushels). It’s the largest crop since 2004, according to USDA statistics.

This was the first year the association prepared its estimate without the benefit of a parallel USDA survey, which was suspended due to budget constraints.

“This was a challenging task in light of the USDA not conducting its work this year,” said Mark Seetin, USApple’s director of regulatory and industry affairs.

“The national crop is up from last year, on the whole and countrywide, but I don’t think it’s a burdensome crop at all,” said Phil Glaize owner of Glaize Orchards in Winchester, Va. “It’s only the 13th largest crop this country has ever produced.”

East

In the Eastern states, the 2013 estimate is 58 million bushels, 39 percent greater than the 2012 crop and 6 percent greater than the five-year average.

“The big news is New York and North Carolina have come back with their production this year,” Glaize said.

New York is expected to be up 87 percent, with a total crop of 32,000 bushels. North Carolina should increase 339 percent, to 3,500 bushels.

“The production from North Carolina to New England is skewed a little bit more toward fresh this year,” Glaize said. “Any holes in the crops are basically in the processing plants.

“This year, there are no major quality issues do to weather,” Glaize said. “Sizing is good throughout the region. With an abnormal amount of rain, you might have thought apples are extra large, but I don’t really think we have that. There is a spread of sizes, not too many small ones, with mostly medium-size to medium-large apples.”

Midwest

The Midwest estimate is 35 million bushels, 472 percent greater than 2012 and 61 percent above the five-year average.

“My favorite number is the 996 percent increase in Michigan over last year,” said Mike Rothwell, president of BelleHarvest Sales in Belding, Mich.

“Michigan’s 16 million bushels for a five-year average has been influenced by crop failures in 2008, 2010 and 2012,” Rothwell said. “With the crop fluctuations we’ve had, we no longer have normals, just averages.”

Rothwell said marketers began pushing the 2013 crop earlier this year, looking for new markets with deeper penetration and increased exports.

Production and infrastructure improvements, combined with more cooperative weather, are leading to the crop’s recovery.

“The new state bird for the state of Michigan is going to be the frost fan,” he said. “Hopefully, these fluctuations from size will begin to level off. It almost has to.”

West

In the Western states, the 2013 estimate is 149 million bushels, down 11 percent from 2012 but 1 percent greater than the five-year average.

Washington state will be down 10 percent, to 140 million bushels. This follows a record crop of 154 million bushels in 2012.

“Washington has had some heat with some sunburn,” said Dan Kelly, assistant manager of Washington Growers Clearinghouse. “We’ve also had some hail. After a lengthy discussion about fresh and processing, we’ve come up with 140 million. That will be the second-largest apple crop on record.”

Kelly said Idaho has had issues with tight labor, early frost and a lot of heat. That state’s production was adjusted down to 1 million bushels, a 44 percent decrease from last year and 35 percent below the five-year average.

California’s 2013 estimate of 4.8 million bushels is 33 percent less than 2012’s crop, and 32 percent below the 5-year average.

“They are heavily into their harvest, having gone through a lot of Galas already,” Kelly said. “They’ve had 14 days of 100 degrees or higher heat, and they’re also 14 days early.”

– Gary Pullano

 

 

http://fruitgrowersnews.com/index.php/magazine/article/united-fresh-a-fresh-cut-for-the-future

16 MyPlate-Inspired Recipes for Fall

September 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM | Posted in Delish | Leave a comment
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Fall Recipes from the Delish web site. 16 recipes and great ideas and tips. The link is at the bottom of the page.

 

 

Delish
16 MyPlate-Inspired Recipes for Fall
MyPlate is the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) current food guide, which empowers consumers to learn about and maintain diets rich in the five necessary food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Here we take a look at MyPlate-inspired recipes for hearty, comforting dishes featuring fall’s best flavors.

Delish is working with the Partnership for a Healthier America and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to thousands of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit choosemyplate.gov. Find recipes at pinterest.com/MyPlateRecipes.

 

Lasagna with Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce

Slow-roasting the tomatoes gives the tomato sauce for this lasagna recipe an intense depth of flavor, which is then enhanced by the umami in onions, Parmesan, and spinach. The lasagna noodles are layered into the lasagna uncooked; the moisture from the fresh spinach cooks them perfectly as the lasagna bakes in the oven….

 
Turkey Chili

By using ground turkey or 95 percent lean beef, you’ll save at least 7 grams of fat and 59 calories per serving. Plus the beans offer lots of fiber. This chili will please everyone at your next tailgate party…..

 

 

 

* To get these and many more Fall Recipes click the link below *

 

 

http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/fall-myplate-inspired-recipes?src=nl&mag=del&list=nl_dnl_fot_non_091113_fall-myplate#slide-1

Fried Pork Chop w/ Green Beans, Baked Potato, and Whole Grain Bread

September 11, 2013 at 5:26 PM | Posted in greenbeans, Pork, pork chops, potatoes | Leave a comment
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Today’s Menu: Fried Pork Chop w/ Green Beans, Baked Potato, and Whole Grain BreadPork Chops Baked Potato 002

 

 

 
Went to the store at about 7:00 this morning. I wanted to get everything done before it started to heat up outside. As our weatherman said for the forecast for today, HHH. Hazy, Hot, and Humid! And that it was today. Still amazed at price difference between Walmart and Kroger on the so called “Inner aisles”, Pasta, Baked Goods , Crackers and such. So much money can be saved by just looking at the prices. For dinner tonight I prepared a Fried Pork Chop w/ Green Beans, Baked Potato, and Whole Grain Bread.

 

 

I grabbed a Pork Loin Chop out of the freezer before going to bed last night and let it thaw overnight in the fridge.I love baking chops but this one wasn’t that thick so I decided to pan fry it. I mixed some flour and seasoned it with Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Hungarian Paprika and rolled the Chop in it till both sides were well coated. I fried it in Canola Oil about 3 minutes per side till it was a nice golden brown. Nothing like a good Chop every now and then!

 

 

For sides to go with the Chop I baked a Potato that I seasoned with Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper and topped with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light. I also heated up a can of Del Monte Cut Green Beans and A couple of slices of Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert later a Del Monte Diced Mango Cup.

 

 

 

 

 

* A little info about Pork from http://www.porkbeinspired.com/index.aspxPORKBE

Pork Nutritional Information
Today’s Pork Leaner Than Ever
A Study released in 2006 by the USDA reveals six common cuts of fresh pork are leaner today than they were fifteen years ago. A study released in 2006 by the USDA reveals six common cuts of fresh pork are leaner today than they were fifteen years ago – on average about 16 percent lower in total fat and 27 percent lower in saturated fat. What’s more, pork tenderloin is now as lean as skinless chicken breast. The study found a 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin contains only 2.98 grams of fat, whereas a 3-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast contains 3.03 grams of fat.
MyPlate Food Guidance System
MyPlate is designed to remind Americans to eat healthfully using the familiar mealtime visual of a place setting. In June 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled MyPlate, the federal government’s primary food group symbol, to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthy food choices consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times.

Lean pork is recognized as a nutritious choice in the Meat & Beans Group. In fact, the MyPyramid information identifies lean cuts of pork, such as chops and ham. Most Americans don’t realize that many pork cuts are as lean as skinless chicken – and a great source of high-quality protein. Protein provides a feeling of fullness at meals, which can help make you feel satisfied without overindulging at the dinner table. When shopping, make sure to look for lean sources of pork with the word “loin” in the name, such as pork tenderloin or loin chop.

 

Vitamins and Minerals in Pork
Daily Values are listed on food labels. They tell us how much of various nutrients we should consume each day. The following information is based on a 3-ounce serving of pork. As you can see, pork is an important source of many key nutrients.

Did you know that pork is an “excellent” source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus and protein and a “good” source of zinc and potassium? These nutrients are important to our health. Read below to learn how these nutrients impact your health as well as the percent Daily Values are listed on food labels. They tell us how much of various nutrients we should consume each day. The following information is based on a 3-ounce serving of pork. As you can see, these key nutrients make pork a nutrient-dense food!

 

Nutrient % Daily Value (DV)* Why It’s Good For You
Iron 5% Getting enough iron is a problem for some women, especially women of child-bearing age. Heme iron (found in meat) is absorbed more readily than nonheme iron (found in plant-based foods). Thus, anyone who avoids meat without the help of their health professional may increase their risk of iron-deficiency anemia.
Magnesium 6% Important for the normal function of many enzymes (catalysts for the body’s chemical reactors), glucose and muscle action.
Phosphorous 20% Strengthens bones and generates energy in cells.
Potassium 11% This mineral, also known as an electrolyte, plays a major role in water balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
Zinc 14% A component of more than 70 enzymes, zinc is a key player in energy metabolism and the immune system.
Thiamin 54% Without this key vitamin, metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat would be significantly compromised. Animal protein is one of the best sources of this nutrient, and among the choices, pork is tops.
Riboflavin 19% Next to milk, there are few foods that have as much riboflavin per serving as pork. Riboflavin has an important role in the release of energy from foods.
Niacin 37% Important for the normal function of many enzymes in the body and involved in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.
Vitamin B12 8% Helps build red blood cells and metabolize carbohydrates and fats.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 37% Important for the normal function of enzymes and co-enzymes, which are needed to metabolize protein, carbohydrates and fats. Plus, it plays a critical role in the regulation of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) metabolism

Fat in Pork
Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s common cuts of pork are 16% leaner and has 27% less saturated fat as compared to 1991. Many cuts of pork are as lean as skinless chicken.
Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s pork has 16% less fat and 27% less saturated fat as compared to 1991. Many cuts of pork are now as lean as skinless chicken. The cuts below meet the guidelines for “lean” (less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat and 95 mg cholesterol). Pork tenderloin meets the guidelines for “extra lean” (less than 5 g fat, 2 grams of sat fat and 95 mg cholesterol).

The USDA has analyzed pork for trans-fatty acids. The results confirm that pork contains no artery-clogging trans-fat.

Trimmed pork tenderloin and skinless chicken breast have the same amount of total fat content. In addition, six cuts of pork in the chart have total fat content between the skinless chicken breast and skinless chicken thigh:

How much fat should I be eating?
For your good health, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming 20-35% of calories as fat and less than 10% of calories as saturated fat by selecting foods that are lean or low-fat. The guidelines for cholesterol are no more than 300 milligrams per day. Pork easily fits into a balanced eating plan as suggested by the Dietary Guidelines. Lean pork not only provides a host of vitamins and minerals, but has fat and saturated fat levels equivalent to skinless chicken.
Fat Intake Guidelines
Calories Total Fat (20 – 35% of calORIES) Saturated Fat (10% of calORIES)
1,600 (many sedentary women) 36-62 grams 17 grams
2,200 (active women, many sedentary men) 49-86 grams 24 grams
2,800 (many active men, some very active women) 62-109 grams 31 grams
Can I cut fat and still keep great taste?

Preparing healthy meals that feature pork starts at the supermarket and ends at the table. The following checklist will help you achieve the results you want:

Get a lean start
* Use cuts with the words “loin” or “round” in their name for the leanest meats, such as pork tenderloin or loin chop.
*Cuts with minimal visible fat are the leanest.
Develop an eye for size

* Portion control is key to reaching and maintaining a healthful weight.
* Follow the MyPyramid guidelines and eat 5 to 7 ounces (for adults) from the meat group each day, depending on your calorie needs.
* A 3-ounce serving of trimmed, cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Skim and trim
Remove excess fat prior to cooking – it can cut total fat content per serving in half.
Skim fat from pan juices after pan-broiling.
Cook it light
* Use low-fat cooking methods, like grilling, broiling, stir-frying and pan-broiling to maximize flavor while keeping added fat to a minimum.
* Broil, grill or roast on a rack, so natural fat from meat drips away.
* Cook thin cuts of meat quickly, with little or no fat, by pan-broiling or “dry sautéing” in a non-stick skillet with a little juice or broth.
* Add stock, wine or fruit juice to the skillet after meat is removed; heat and stir; then use as a low-fat sauce or glaze.
* Stir-fry with vegetable cooking spray or a small amount of flavored oil.
* Marinate for flavor and juiciness, with juice, wine-flavored vinegar or fat-free dressing instead of oil-based marinades.
Spice for life
* Season meats with herbs and spices (other than salt) to boost flavor and cut back on fat and salt at the same time. Rub herbs and spices onto pork before grilling, broiling or roasting.
* Experiment with different seasonings to discover exciting new ways to enjoy healthful eating.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H flavorful, higher-fat ingredients
* Use favorite foods like sharp cheeses and herb-flavored oils to flavor your dishes, but cut the amount in half.
* Use low-fat cheeses or whipped or reduced-fat butter.
Lighten-up on the ladle
* To get the most benefit from the vegetables you’re eating, use less of a regular salad dressing, or use a fat-free variety or herb-flavored vinegar instead.
* Choose cream-based sauces and gravies less often than sauces made with skim milk or fat-free broth.

 

 

http://www.porkbeinspired.com/NutritionalInfo_NutritionalInformation.aspx

One of America’s Favorites – Honey

July 29, 2013 at 8:18 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Honey /ˈhʌni/ is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one

A jar of honey with honey dipper

A jar of honey with honey dipper

most commonly referred to, as it is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties.
Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and evaporation. They store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive.
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar.[1][2] It has attractive chemical properties for baking and a distinctive flavor that leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Most microorganisms do not grow in honey because of its low water activity of 0.6. However, honey sometimes contains dormant endospores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can be dangerous to infants, as the endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in infants’ immature intestinal tracts, leading to illness and even death.
Honey has a long history of human consumption, and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments. The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey. Bees carry an electrostatic charge whereby they attract other particles in addition to pollen, which become incorporated into their honey; the honey can be analysed by the techniques of melissopalynology in area environmental studies of radioactive particles, dust and particulate pollution.

 

 

 

Honey’s natural sugars are dehydrated, which prevents fermentation, with added enzymes to modify and transform their chemical composition and pH. Invertases and digestive acids hydrolyze sucrose to give the monosaccharides glucose and fructose. The invertase is one of these enzymes synthesized by the body of the insect.
Honey bees transform saccharides into honey by a process of regurgitation, a number of times, until it is partially digested. The bees do the regurgitation and digestion as a group. After the last regurgitation, the aqueous solution is still high in water, so the process continues by evaporation of much of the water and enzymatic transformation.
Honey is produced by bees as a food source. In cold weather or when fresh food sources are scarce, bees use their stored honey as their source of energy. By contriving for bee swarms to nest in artificial hives, people have been able to semidomesticate the insects, and harvest excess honey. In the hive (or in a wild nest), there are three types of bees:
* a single female queen bee
* a seasonally variable number of male drone bees to fertilize new queens
* some 20,000 to 40,000 female worker bees.
The worker bees raise larvae and collect the nectar that will become honey in the hive. Leaving the hive, they collect sugar-rich flower nectar and return.
In the hive, the bees use their “honey stomachs” to ingest and regurgitate the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested. Invertase synthesized by the bees and digestive acids hydrolyze sucrose to give the same mixture of glucose and fructose. The bees work together as a group with the regurgitation and digestion until the product reaches a desired quality. It is then stored in honeycomb cells. After the final regurgitation, the honeycomb is left unsealed. However, the nectar is still high in both water content and natural yeasts, which, unchecked, would cause the sugars in the nectar to ferment. The process continues as bees inside the hive fan their wings, creating a strong draft across the honeycomb, which enhances evaporation of much of the water from the nectar. This reduction in water content raises the sugar concentration and prevents fermentation. Ripe honey, as removed from the hive by a beekeeper, has a long shelf life, and will not ferment if properly sealed.

 

A honey bee on calyx of goldenrod

A honey bee on calyx of goldenrod

 

Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from domesticated beehives. Wild bee nests are sometimes located by following a honeyguide bird. Collecting honey is typically achieved by using smoke from a bee smoker to pacify the bees; this causes the bees to attempt to save the resources of the hive from a possible forest fire, and makes them far less aggressive. The honeycomb is removed from the hive and the honey is extracted from that, often using a honey extractor. The honey is then filtered.

 

 

 

The main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, as a spread on bread, and as an addition to various beverages, such as tea, and as a sweetener in some commercial beverages. According to the The National Honey Board (a USDA-overseen organization), “honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance…this includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners”. Honey barbecue and honey mustard are common and popular sauce flavors.
Honey is the main ingredient in the alcoholic beverage mead, which is also known as “honey wine” or “honey beer”. Historically, the ferment for mead was honey’s naturally occurring yeast. Honey is also used as an adjunct in some beers.
Honey wine, or mead, is typically (modern era) made with a honey and water mixture with a pack of yeast added for fermentation. Primary fermentation usually takes 40 days, after which the must needs to be racked into a secondary fermentation vessel and left to sit about 35–40 more days. If done properly, fermentation will be finished by this point (though if a sparkling mead is desired, fermentation can be restarted after bottling by the addition of a small amount of sugar), but most meads require aging for 6–9 months or more in order to be palatable.

 

 

 

Classification

A variety of honey flavors and container sizes and styles from the 2008 Texas State Fair

A variety of honey flavors and container sizes and styles from the 2008 Texas State Fair

Honey is classified by its floral source, and there are also divisions according to the packaging and processing used. There are also regional honeys. Honey is also graded on its color and optical density by USDA standards, graded on a scale called the Pfund scale, which ranges from 0 for “water white” honey to more than 114 for “dark amber” honey.
* Floral source
Generally, honey is classified by the floral source of the nectar from which it was made. Honeys can be from specific types of flower nectars or can be blended after collection. The pollen in honey is traceable to floral source and therefore region of origin. The rheological & mellisopalynological properties of honey can be used to identify the major plant nectar source used in its production.
* Blended
Most commercially available honey is blended, meaning it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin.
* Polyfloral
Polyfloral honey, also known as wildflower honey, is derived from the nectar of many types of flowers.
The taste may vary from year to year, and the aroma and the flavor can be more or less intense, depending on which bloomings are prevalent.
* Monofloral
Monofloral honey is made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower. Different monofloral honeys have a distinctive flavor and color because of differences between their principal nectar sources. To produce monofloral honey, beekeepers keep beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower. In practice, because of the difficulties in containing bees, a small proportion of any honey will be from additional nectar from other flower types. Typical examples of North American monofloral honeys are clover, orange blossom, blueberry, sage, tupelo, buckwheat, fireweed, mesquite and sourwood. Some typical European examples include thyme, thistle, heather, acacia, dandelion, sunflower, honeysuckle, and varieties from lime and chestnut trees.[citation needed] In North Africa (e.g. Egypt) examples include clover, cotton, and citrus (mainly orange blossoms).
* Honeydew honey
Instead of taking nectar, bees can take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects. Honeydew honey is very dark brown in color, with a rich fragrance of stewed fruit or fig jam, and is not as sweet as nectar honeys. Germany’s Black Forest is a well known source of honeydew-based honeys, as well as some regions in Bulgaria, Tara (mountain) in Serbia and Northern California in the United States. In Greece, pine honey (a type of honeydew honey) constitutes 60–65% of the annual honey production. Honeydew honey is popular in some areas, but in other areas beekeepers have difficulty selling the stronger flavored product.
The production of honeydew honey has some complications and dangers. The honey has a much larger proportion of indigestibles than light floral honeys, thus causing dysentery to the bees, resulting in the death of colonies in areas with cold winters. Good beekeeping management requires the removal of honeydew prior to winter in colder areas. Bees collecting this resource also have to be fed protein supplements, as honeydew lacks the protein-rich pollen accompaniment gathered from flowers.

 

 

 

To find out all about Honey along with tips and recipes check out the National Honey Board web site!

 
http://www.honey.com/

 

Naturally Raised vs Organic (Wild Idea Buffalo)

July 19, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Posted in bison, Wild Idea Buffalo | 1 Comment
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Naturally Raised vs OrganicWild Idea Buffalo Buffalo-Grass
By: Henry Palmer

 

Now days when we peruse the aisles of our local grocery store we are hit by an onslaught of labels and tags. Two of these labels, which are appearing more and more frequently, are “Naturally Raised” and “Organic.” Both of these terms sound very appealing and should help steer the consumer towards a better product, but what do these terms really mean? A deeper look at these buzzwords is no doubt merited.

Naturally Raised

In 2009 the USDA defined the term Naturally Raised with respect to animals in the following way:1) No Growth Hormones 2) No Antibiotics –other than to prevent parasitism- and 3) no animal by products can be fed to the animals. USDA “Naturally Raised” Definition

What the USDA has chosen to include in their definition of Naturally Raised is great; however, there is a problem with what’s left out of the definition. The standard leaves out discussions of confinement and what the animals are fed – it seems everything goes as long as it’s not animal byproduct. So while this standard is certainly a step in the right direction and has closed a lot of doors that prevent producers from using certain practices, it has unfortunately still left a few windows wide open.

Organic

The definition of Organic, as it pertains to animal products, covers many of the same issues that Naturally Raised does, but once again doesn’t complete the full spectrum of animal health/best practices. According to the standard, four items must be met: 1) producers meet health and welfare standards 2) hormones and antibiotics are not used, 3) all feed must be 100% Organic, 4) animals must have access to the outdoors. USDA “Organic” Definition

Certainly the organic seal is a step in the correct direction for the food we consume, but once again it is what’s left out, or the grey areas, that present a problem. It’s great that our animals are being fed a 100% Organic diet, but is it the diet they would have chosen themselves and evolved to consume? Also, access to the outdoors is an awfully vague phrase; how often to the animals have access, what are their living conditions indoors, what type of space outdoors do they have access to? So here once again with the term Organic, we are presented with a term that doesn’t necessarily mean what we all hope it would.

At Wild Idea Buffalo Co. we are often asked about how are animals are raised and whether or not we slap such labels on our product. We do not currently label our products this way because, truth be told, we go beyond these requirements and hold ourselves to our own standards. Our buffalo is always 100% Grass-fed, 100% Free-Roaming on the land and grasses they evolved to graze 5 million years ago, 100% Hormone and Antibiotic Free, and 100% Humanely Field Harvested. We strive to treat our animals with the dignity and respect they deserve as a result end up with a exquisitely delicious and healthy meat you can enjoy with a clear conscious.

 

http://wildideabuffalo.com/2013/naturally-raised-vs-organic/

MyPlate-Inspired: Our Best Dinner Recipes

March 22, 2013 at 9:34 AM | Posted in cooking | 4 Comments
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It’s all about the MyPlate-Inspired Dinner Recipes. Some healthy and great dinner ideas and recipes from http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/ To read the entire article and see some healthy dinner ideas just click the link at the end of the post. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

MyPlate-Inspired: Our Best Dinner Recipes
By Caitlyn Diimig

 

 

Diabetic Living is working with the Partnership for a Healthier America and USDA‘s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier Diabetic living logooptions access to delicious recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit choosemyplate.gov. Find recipes at Pinterest.com/MyPlateRecipes.

 

 

MyPlate-Inspired Recipes
Finding healthy recipes for dinner your family will love can be a challenge. That’s why Diabetic Living has teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America and the USDA’s MyPlate program to offer families delicious options for healthier eating. From takeout-inspired recipes to easy sandwiches to whip up on a busy weeknight, all of your favorites are here!

 

 

Kung Pao Chicken
Bok choy and red chile peppers get upgraded with the tangy flavors of low-sodium soy sauce, fresh ginger, and toasted sesame oil. This meal is a great way to sneak in veggies, while enjoying your favorite takeout without the added calories, fat, and sodium.
http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/diabetic-recipes/popular/myplate-dinner-recipes/?sssdmh=dm17.657467&esrc=nwdlo031913

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

December 26, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Posted in baking, cooking | Leave a comment
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Don’t have a roasting chart nearby? Then follow this rule of thumb: Beef roasts will take about 20 minutes for the first pound and about 15 minutes for every pound thereafter. The USDA recommends cooking beef to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees.

One of America’s Favorites – Ham

December 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Posted in baking, cooking, Food | Leave a comment
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Ham is a cut of meat from the thigh of the hind leg of an animal, sometimes being a pigs. Nearly all hams sold today are either fully

Ham

Ham

cooked or cured.

 

The word ham is derived from the Old English ham or hom meaning the hollow or bend of the knee.

 

The United States largely inherited its traditions relating to ham and pork from 17th-century Britain and 18th-century France, the latter especially in Louisiana. The French often used wet cure processed hams that are the foundation stock of several modern dishes, like certain gumbos and sandwiches. Until the very early 20th century, men living in the southern Appalachians would drive their pigs to market in the flatlands below each Autumn, fattening up their stock on chestnuts and fallen mast. Further, archaeological evidence suggests that the early settlers of Jamestown (men largely from the West Midlands) built swine pens for the pigs they brought with them and, once established, also carried on an ancient British tradition of slaughtering their pigs and producing their pork in mid-November. To this day, the result is that in many areas, a large ham, not a turkey, is the centerpiece of a family Christmas dinner.

 

In the United States, ham is regulated primarily on the basis of its cure and water content. The USDA recognizes the following categories: Fresh ham is an uncured hind leg of pork. Country ham is uncooked, cured, dried, smoked or unsmoked, made from a single piece of meat from the hind leg of a hog or from a single piece of meat from a pork shoulder (picnic ham). Country ham typically is saltier and less sweet than city ham. Virginia’s Smithfield ham, a country ham, must be grown and produced in or around Smithfield, Virginia, to be sold as a Smithfield ham. Similar hams from Tennessee and the Appalachians have a similar method of preparation, but may include honey in their cures and be hickory smoked. As country ham ages, mold may grow on the outside of the ham, while the rest of the meat continues to age. This process produces a distinctive flavor, but the mold layer is usually scrubbed or cut off the ham before being cooked and served.

For most other purposes, under US law, a “ham” is a cured hind leg of pork that is at least 20.5% protein (not counting fat portions), and contains no added water. However, “ham” can be legally applied to “turkey ham” if the meat is taken from the turkey thigh. If the ham has less than 20.5% but is at least 18.5% protein, it can be called “ham with natural juices”. A ham that is at least 17.0% protein and up to 10% added solution can be called “ham—water added”. Finally, “ham and water product” refers to a cured hind leg of pork product that contains any amount of added water, although the label must indicate the percent added ingredients. If a ham has been cut into pieces and molded, it must be labelled “sectioned and formed”, or “chunked and formed” if coarsely ground.

Sugar is common in many dry hams in the United States; it is used to cover the saltiness. The majority of common wet-cured ham available in U.S. supermarkets is of the “city ham” or “sweet cure” variety, in which brine is injected into the meat for a very rapid curing suitable for mass market. Traditional wet curing requires immersing the ham in a brine for an extended period, often followed by light smoking.

In addition to the main categories, some processing choices can affect legal labeling. A ‘smoked’ ham must have been smoked by

A hickory smoked country ham being displayed

A hickory smoked country ham being displayed

hanging over burning wood chips in a smokehouse or an atomized spray of liquid smoke such that the product appearance is equivalent; a “hickory-smoked” ham must have been smoked using only hickory. However, injecting “smoke flavor” is not legal grounds for claiming the ham was “smoked”; these are labeled “smoke flavor added”. Hams can only be labelled “honey-cured” if honey was at least 50% of the sweetener used, is at least 3% of the formula, and has a discernible effect on flavor. So-called “lean” and “extra lean” hams must adhere to maximum levels of fat and cholesterol per 100 grams of product.

Turkey ham, a boneless product made from pressed turkey thigh meat, is a low-fat alternative to traditional ham in the US.

Spiral sliced ham has become popular option for bone-in or boneless hams sold in the US. In the spiral cutting process, the ham is firmly affixed, on the top and bottom, to a rotating base, which is gradually lowered as a blade is applied. This creates one single continuous slice.

 

Tinned ham (more commonly known in the United States as “canned ham”) is a meat product that is sold exclusively in tins (or cans). The ham itself is usually formed from smaller cuts of meat, cooked in the can, and is often covered in an aspic jelly during the canning process. Two versions are available, perishable and shelf-stable. Tinned ham is usually sold in supermarkets and convenience stores.

 

Ham is uncooked preserved pork. It is cured (a preservation process) usually in large quantities of salt and sugar. Then hot smoked (hung over a hot, smokey fire but out of direct heat) to preserve it more. This process keeps the pink hue of the uncooked meat. Standard pork, like chops, are raw and unpreserved. When heat is applied to the meat a chemical reaction happens that turns the hemoglobin white. This also happens when an acid is applied to meats.

 

The pink color of ham develops in the curing process which involves salt and usually either nitrites or nitrates. The nitrate cure is used

Sliced ham

Sliced ham

for product that will either be kept a long time or at room temperature like dry salami. Most hams are cured with nitrite and salt today.

 

The cure prevents the growth of unhealthy bacteria (maybe deadly) before enough moisture is withdrawn by the salt. This is particularly important if the product is to be smoked above 40F when these bacteria grow. The “danger zone” for uncured product is between 40F and 140F.

 

There is confusion in the words curing and brining. Brining is done with salt and usually sugar and only alters the product color a little. Curing is done with salt and nitrates.

 

Sodium nitrite is used for the curing of meat because it prevents bacterial growth and, in a reaction with the meat’s myoglobin, gives the product a desirable dark red color. Because of the toxicity of nitrite (the lethal dose of nitrite for humans is about 22 mg per kg body weight), the maximum allowed nitrite concentration in meat products is 200 ppm. Under certain conditions, especially during cooking, nitrites in meat can react with degradation products of amino acids, forming nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.

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