food crumbscooking, food preparation, recipes, nutrition, food science

 

Almost all households consume packaged or bagged salads.  We are accustomed to thinking that the food we purchase is safe – but how safe?

Prepackaged vs non-packaged greens – Some say  bagged greens may be more at risk of containing bacteria than a regular head of lettuce because the leaves are younger and cut.  Bacteria can enter the cut and travel into the leaf whereas a head of lettuce has longer leaves and the consumer can remove the outer leaves.  In addition the many steps to get a bagged lettuce to market means many more opportunities for contamination.  Also inside the bag the growth of bacteria can continue. *

Some say that bagged leafy greens are the riskiest food one can eat in terms of food safety.  A lettuce leaf and other greens have crevices and raised areas where soil, chemicals and bacteria can “hide”

Many packages contain “pre-washed” greens and sometimes “triple washed”, but they can still contain harmful disease-causing bacteria, like Listeria, salmonella or E. coli, which can not always be rinsed off.  Pesticides and other chemicals are on regular & pre-packaged foods.  However they say not to be alarmed, because the product will be washed with chlorinated water – often greater than the concentration in a swimming pool.  But because of the nooks and crannies, even in “triple-washed” leaves, some adhered bacteria may remain attached to the leaf and continue to live and grow. The leaf surface forms a microenvironment that reduces the bleach concentration and allows bacteria to grow. **

Triple Washed – greens aren’t necessarily washed with water.  In fact they are usually washed with sanitizers and other compounds that are intended to reduce pathogens which eliminates about 90 – 99% of the microbes. However that 1-10 % may remain and grow.***

 

When one hand washes greens at home, one examines every leaf, but commercial machines are not so careful and some dirt and grit gets through.  A lettuce cleaning solution for the masses is used – chemical additives, not potentially harmful like pesticides- and not to be feared.  They are used to improve the industrial process and clean the vegetable. The salad mixes do not simply go through a sprinkler three times and then to the drying machines and then popped into a plastic bag, but rather go through chemical solutions containing chlorine and ozone which are added to the water to make an effective cleaning solution.  Large packaging firms develop their own cleaning mixtures and label them on their package.  Complaints about pre-washed bagged salads often refer to the gritty texture, the slimy texture or the flavor is a bit off.  Lettuce is filled with nooks and crannies and not the easiest vegetable to wash.  The sand and grit just gets in there and does not let go and can have a gritty texture.    These chemical washes, although generally recognized as safe by the FDA, can create the “off” flavor that some persons object to in packaged salad mixes.  Also this “off” flavor can be due to the fact that the product after being washed and pre-cut and placed in a plastic bag for a week or two before you bring it home. The slime – that is “rot” and rotting vegetables harbor bacteria. Lettuce that has been washed, cut and packaged, tends to spoil more quickly.  Sometimes preservatives are used to maintain freshness and the bags may be punched with special holes that allow it to respire or breathe.  Also some claim that the nutritive value begins to decline immediately after harvest and continues as the product is cut up, washed and put into a bag. ****

If you want the convenience of pre-washed lettuce and salad mixes, there are some things you can do at home. – WASH THE LETTUCEWASH THE SALAD MIXES. Wash away any grit, wash away the slimy lettuce, and wash away at least some of the bacteria. Wash the product before you eat it, whether or not it has already been washed. Wash only the amount you will eat at the time. When washing lettuce take care to not add additional contamination. Do not mix with utensils, cutting boards, bowls, etc., that have been used to prepare other foods. Do not put lettuce or salad greens directly into the sink as sinks may hold bacteria and you can cross contaminate.

Also watch the expiration dates on prepackaged products and always store products in the refrigerator.

KEEP EATING THOSE VEGETABLES, EAT THE LETTUCE AND EAT THE SALAD GREENS – JUST WASH THEM AND THEN ENJOY!

 

 

 

You may also like to read – in this blog:

Food Safety in Produce, www.foodcrumbs.com, 6/29/2014

Vacuum Cooling of Produce, www.foodcrumbs.com, 11/28/20012

Lettuce-Harvesting, Storage, & Transport, www.foodcrumbs.com, 10/31/2012

 

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**    Breyer, Melissa, 7 Reasons to Ditch Packaged Salads, http://www.treehuugger.com/green-food, August 20, 2015.

***  Kearse, Stephen, Why are Salad Greens Always Labeled “Triple-Washed”?, www.State.com, April 27, 2016.

****  Sidhu, Allison, Pre-Packaged Salad Mixes: Are they Really Safe?, http://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/safety-of-prepackaged-salad-mixes/, November 24, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

off SPRING RECIPES

GREEN and GOLD SALAD

1 ½ cup fresh, canned (drained) or frozen Green Beans
1 ½ cup fresh, canned (drained) Peach slices
¼ cup sliced Celery
1/4 cup green onions
1 Tbsp minced parsley

2 Tbsp Vinegar
2 Tbsp Salad Oil
1 Tbsp sugar
dash salt
1/8 tsp Hot Sauce
4 Lettuce cups

Combine beans, peaches, celery, onions, and parsley.

Combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and hot sauce. (Can add any syrup drained off canned peaches.) Pour over bean-peach mixture. Chill.

Make individual lettuce cups and place on serving plates. Ladle 1/2 cup of salad on each lettuce cup.

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CORNY RICE

.                                     ¼ cup chopped sweet red pepper
.                                     ¼ cup chopped onion
.                                     2 Tbsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper
.                                     3 cloves of garlic, minced
.                                     1 Tbsp Olive or vegetable oil

.                                     2 cups cooked rice
.                                     1 cup frozen corn
.                                     ½ tsp salt
.                                     ¼ tsp pepper
.                                     3 green onions
.                                     Soy Sauce – optional

In a large skillet, saute the red pepper, onion, jalapeno and garlic in oil until tender.
Add the rice, corn, salt and pepper.
Cook and stir until heated through.
Sprinkle with green onions. Serve with Soy Sauce, if desired. (Serves 4.)

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HONEYED CHICKEN TERIYAKI

2 lbs chicken breasts, split, skinned & boned Cut chicken in 2-inch squares.(For appetizers, cut in 1-inch squares.)
½ cup all-purpose flour Combine flour, salt and pepper.
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

2 eggs, beaten Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with seasoned flour.

Oil for frying. Pour ½ inch oil in wide frying pan.
Place over medium-high heat. (To test – drop . a pinch of flour into
pan, flour should sizzle & float on hot fat.)
When fat is hot, add chicken, half at a time.
Cook, turning as needed until chicken is . golden brown.
Allow 6-8 minutes for larger pieces,
Allow 4-5 minutes for smaller pieces.

GLAZE
1/3 cup soy sauce Meanwhile heat soy, honey, sherry, garlic and ginger
1/3 cup honey in a small pan.
1 Tbsp dry sherry Lift chicken from oil. Drain briefly.
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed Dip in glazed mixture, then place on a rack,
1 tsp grated fresh ginger set in a baking pan.

2 Tbsp sesame seeds, optional When all of chicken is cooked and dipped,
sprinkle with sesame seeds, if used.
Bake at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Brush with glaze after 10 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature. .

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PLUM OATMEAL BREAD

4 cups Flour In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar powder, cinnamon, salt and oats.
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt (optional)
2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 can (30 oz) Purple plumbs, packed in heavy syrup, Drain syrup and reserve, remove pits and chop plums.
Stir chopped plums in flour mixture to coat well.
Add enough water to plum juice to make 1 ½ cups liquid.
2 eggs, beaten Combine plum juice, eggs, and oil.
½ cup Vegetable oil Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are
moistened.
Pour into two greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 1/2 – inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Remove from pans. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.
Flavor develops when wrapped and stored overnight.

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BUTTER CREAM RIBBON CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 2 cups flour 1 egg 1 tsp baking powder ¼ cup sugar ½ tsp baking soda 3 Tbsp milk ¼ tsp salt 2 Tbsp butter, softened 1 1/3 cups milk 1 Tbsp cornstarch 1 tsp vanilla ½ tsp vanilla Fudge Frosting 4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate ½ cup butter, softened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs

Combine cream cheese, 1 egg and ¼ cup sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until smooth. Gradually add 3 Tablespoons milk, 2 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, ½ tsp vanilla. Beat well. Set aside.

Place chocolate squares in top of double boiler, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

Cream ½ cup butter, gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating well at medium speed. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour baking powder, soda and salt, stir well. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with 1 1/3 cups milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Spread half of chocolate batter in a greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Spoon reserved cream cheese mixture evenly over chocolate batter. Top with remaining half of chocolate batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 – 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread frosting over cake. Yield 15 servings.

FUDGE FROSTING 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate ¼ cup butter 3 ½ cups powdered sugar 1/3 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla Combine chocolate and butter in top of double boiler and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until chocolate and butter melt, stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from heat and let cool. Add powdered sugar and milk to chocolate mixture, beating at medium speed until smooth.
Stir in vanilla. Yield: 2 cups

 

 

 

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Remember your mother telling you -eat your carrots, they’re good for you!

Carrots are a root vegetable, usually orange in color but purple, black, red, white and yellow varieties exist.  The plant probably originated in Persia.  Carrots are one of the most economically important vegetable crops in the world.  In 2013 world production of carrots (combined with turnips) was 37.2 million tons with China producing 45% of the world total -16.8 million tons.  Other major producers were Uzbekistan and Russia with 4% of the world total each and United States at 3 % and Ukraine at 2%.

Carrots can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.  Carrots contain beta-carotene and lesser amounts of alpha-carotene, y-carotene and zeaxanthin.  Alpha and beta carotenes are partly metabolized into Vitamin A providing more than 100% of the Daily Value (DV) per 100 grams serving of carrots.  Carrots are also a good source of Vitamin K (13% DV) and Vitamin B6 (11% DV).

Carrots are also an excellent source of Vitamin A.  The anti-oxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange color.  Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into Vitamin A during digestion.

It has been found that the pro-vitamin A beta-carotene from carrots does not actually help people see in the dark (a myth)unless they suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin A.

Carrots are 88% water, 2.8 % dietary fiber. Carrot dietary fiber is mostly cellulose with smaller amounts of hemicellulose, lignin, and starch.  Free sugar includes sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

Raw Carrots -100 grams = 3.5 ounces- contain approximately:*

Energy  . . . . . . . . . .     41   calories                               Vitamin A equivalent – 835 micrograms (104% DV)

Carbohydrate  . . . . . . . .        9.6 grams                                 Beta-carotene  —    8285 micrograms (77% DV)

Sugar  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         4.7 grams

Dietary Fiber  . . . . . . . . .         2.8 grams

Fat  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         0.24 grams

Protein . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         0.93 grams

 

 

 

 

  • Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

HATS OFF – to Food Processing Plants and Food Industry Workers for their diligence and care in  their daily work to provide us, the American public, with sanitary and safe food. They process and  handle food and keep equipment and working areas clean and sanitary.

I just watched a couple training videos where workers learn to wear clean clothes – often washable  white coats or uniforms, keep hair covered and cover hands with gloves – a special professional  uniform for food industry workers.

There are training guides and videos to train employees on cleaning equipment, utensils, tables, walls  and floors, cooler racks and walls, drains, doors and door handles.  Employees are trained how to take  equipment apart, remove all removable parts and clean – wash and sanitize mixers, slicers, choppers,  etc.

We do hear of food illnesses and/or contaminated food, but infrequently, when considering the huge amount of food handled and processed in our country, every day, every hour.  The employees of the industry should take great pride in work well done and citizens of our country should be extremely grateful to the men and women in the food processing industry for providing wholesome, safe and sanitary food for our consumption.

I often think that the Food Industry and Food Industry Workers do not get the recognition they deserve for their daily work and skill in food processing.   An honorable profession, indeed!

So HATS OFF to Food Processing Plants and Food Industry Workers for a job well done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

off Food Addiction

Esiuol5 to Nutrition — Tags:  

 

food-add-2     Food addiction – real or myth?  The term is used and there are organizations which people can join          for guidance and help.  Loosely defined as “uncontrollable cravings for excess food, especially after          having eaten foods rich in sugar, fat or salt.”

But can food actually be addictive in the same sense as drugs or alcohol? Some say “No” – that there        are several reasons that food cannot be as addictive as drugs or alcohol. While some foods as well as       drugs trigger “feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine”*, drugs have a much stronger effect as           drugs go directly to the brain, whereas food does not do that. Also there is little evidence that                     individual  substances in food, such as sugar, fat or salt, are addictive.  If that were true, individuals         addicted  would get a spoon of sugar or salt for their addiction, rather they crave a specific food such as cookies, ice cream or soda. **

There has been some research done with rats, but not conclusive. Given sugar solutions all day had no effect, only binge intake showed some symptoms. Also rat studies are done in very controlled environments, unlike a person’s daily life.

One method of working with alcohol addiction is to abstain completely from the product.  That cannot be done with food. Studies done removing particular foods such as ice cream often leads to bingeing. Thus it is often suggested rather than removing a craved food completely is to allow controlled amounts.

Some say that compulsive overeating is a type of behavorial addiction similar to gambling or shopping. Persons lose control over their eating behaviors and find themselves spending excessive amounts of time involved with food and overeating and they will continue despite negative consequences. They will have trouble stopping their behavior even if they want to or have tried several times.*

It seems at this time we do not fully understand compulsive overeating and how to treat it.

Some have found help with organizations and if so, they should continue.  I think we should keep an open mind, -not jumping to conclusions but offering understanding and encouragement to anyone having a problem and continue to watch for progress in research that can lead to help.

food-add-3

 

 

 

  1. webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating disorder.
  2. Cochran, Neva, Can We Become Addicted to Some Types of Foods?, Nutrition Close-Up, Egg Nutrition center, Summer 2015.