Thursday, March 31, 2016

Guide E-307: Home Canning of Vegetables

Good morning, The following CES publication has been revised and is now available online in PDF format. Guide E-307: Home Canning of Vegetables Revised by Nancy C. Flores (Extension Food Technology Spec., Dept. of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences) And Cindy Schlenker Davies (County Program Director/Extension Home Economist, Bernalillo County Extension Office)

Monday, March 28, 2016

March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.
What happens to foods when they spoil and are they dangerous to eat? What causes foods to spoil and how? These are questions we often get on USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline. Read on to learn the science behind food spoilage.
Spoiler Alert!
Signs of food spoilage may include an appearance different from the food in its fresh form, such as a change in color, a change in texture, an unpleasant odor, or an undesirable taste.
Various factors cause food spoilage, making items unsuitable for consumption. Light, oxygen, heat, humidity, temperature and spoilage bacteria can all affect both safety and quality of perishable foods. When subject to these factors, foods will gradually deteriorate.
Microorganisms occur everywhere in the environment, and there is always a risk of spoilage when foods are exposed to unsuitable conditions. Microbial spoilage results from bacteria, molds, and yeast. While microorganisms may or may not be harmful, the waste products they produce when growing on or in food may be unpleasant to taste.
Pathogenic Spoilage
In addition to causing food to deteriorate and taste unpleasant, some types of spoilage can be caused by pathogenic bacteria, which can have serious health consequences. For example Clostridium perfringens (common cause of spoilage in meat and poultry) and Bacillus cereus (common cause of spoilage of milk and cream) are also pathogenic. When exposed to unsuitable storage conditions, such as the Danger Zone (between 40 and 140° F), these organisms can multiply rapidly and they can release dangerous toxins that will make you sick if you consume the item, even if it’s cooked to a safe internal temperature. To keep food out of the Danger Zone, keep cold food cold, at or below 40 °F (4.4 °C) , and hot food hot, at or above 140 °F (60 °C).
Spoilage of food is not just an issue of quality; it is also a matter of food safety. USDA recommends following the FOUR steps to Food Safety (Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill) to prevent food spoilage and reduce your risk of foodborne illness.
Learn appropriate storage methods with the FoodKeeper app
Learn about proper food and beverages storage with the FoodKeeper. It will help you maximize the freshness and quality of items by showing you the appropriate storage methods for more than 400 items. By doing so you will be able to keep items fresh longer than if they were not stored properly. It was developed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute. It is also available online and as a mobile application for Android and Apple devices.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

USDA Seeks Applications for Loans and Grants to Help Grow Rural Businesses and Spur Economic Development

USDA Seeks Applications for Loans and Grants to Help Grow Rural Businesses and Spur Economic Development WASHINGTON, March 22, 2016 – Rural Business Cooperative-Service Administrator Sam Rikkers today announced that USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants to help support the start-up or expansion of rural businesses. "Our small, rural businesses need financing to compete in the global economy," Rikkers said. "With this announcement, USDA is demonstrating its continued commitment to investing in small towns and rural communities. These loans and grants will spur entrepreneurship, create jobs and improve the quality of life in rural America." The funding is being provided through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Under this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to local utilities, which use the funding to create revolving funds for projects that will create or retain jobs in rural areas. USDA is making $37 million in loans and $11 million in grants available. A recipient may receive a loan of up to $1 million, or a grant of up to $300,000. Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $330 million in loans and grants through the REDLG program. In 2015, Aiken Technical College in Graniteville, S.C., received a $1 million loan to build a facility to provide training in advanced manufacturing. The 35,000-square-foot facility, called the Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing, or CEAM, will help the college's students graduate with degrees in technically advanced fields of study. The REDLG program has also been successful in StrikeForce counties. The StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative is part of the Obama Administration's commitment to address persistent poverty across America. As areas of persistent poverty are identified, USDA staff work with state, local and community officials to increase awareness of USDA programs and help build program participation through intensive community outreach and technical assistance. In 2015, the South Mississippi Electric Power Association used part of a $2 million REDLG loan to help the city of Greenwood buy and renovate a building for the Milwaukee Tools company. Once completed, this project is expected to create more than 100 jobs in Lenore County, a designated StrikeForce area. For information on how to apply for REDLG loans or grants, contact your Rural Development state office or see page 14415 of the March 17 Federal Register. The first round of applications is due March 31, 2016, and the second round of applications is due June 30, 2016. President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. #

NMSU researcher: Some bed bugs show resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides DATE: 03/22/2016

NMSU researcher: Some bed bugs show resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides DATE: 03/22/2016 WRITER: Kristie Garcia, 575-646-4211, CONTACT: Alvaro Romero, 575-646-5550, A laboratory in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University is home to ongoing research on bed bugs and their resistance to certain insecticides. Alvaro Romero, assistant professor of urban entomology in NMSU’s Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science, co-authored an article recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology regarding the new findings about resistance of some United States bed bug populations to insecticides commonly used for bed bug control. “We are reporting, for the first time, that there are some populations of bed bugs in the United States that have developed resistance to neonicotinoids,” Romero said. “This class of insecticides was introduced in the market about five years ago to combat bed bugs resistant to pyrethroids, which are widely spread in the United States.” The populations of bed bugs involved in the recent study came from various locations in the United States in 2013, including Michigan and Ohio. Bed bugs were collected from natural infestations and shipped to Romero’s lab, and they were bred at the NMSU Urban Entomology Research Center. This type of insecticide screening generally requires thousands of bed bugs, and it required at least six months to produce an adequate number of the insects to run the analysis. This research is a follow-up of Romero’s work that aims to monitor resistance to insecticides in the United States. Romero reported the first account of insecticide resistance in modern bed bug populations in 2007. These laboratory findings on insecticide resistance are crucial for the development of strategies that help manage resistant bed bugs in field conditions. Romero, who earned a doctorate in urban entomology from the University of Kentucky, is not surprised to see the newly discovered resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides. “Insecticide resistance is a phenomenon that enables insects to overcome the toxic effect of insecticides through physiological mechanisms that evolve after the continued use of insecticides,” he said. Romero said that resistant bed bugs had a high level of enzymes that are known to detoxify insecticides; however, more work is needed to identify other mechanisms that might be involved in neonicotinoid resistance. “By better characterizing neonicotinoid resistance, we can explore ways to control resistant bed bug populations,” Romero said. Although bed bugs are not known to be vectors of human diseases, bed bugs severely reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, anxiety, sleeplessness and ostracism. Bed bugs feed when people are sleeping, so it is difficult to notice them. They hide really well, and finding bugs is sometimes impossible. If an infestation is discovered, Romero advises that people hire a pest control company knowledgeable enough to deal with bed bug infestations. There are also myths about these insects. “People think that only individuals with bad cleaning habits get bed bugs,” Romero said. “No. Bed bugs don’t discriminate, and everybody is vulnerable to a bed bug infestation.” Romero said researchers do not know the extent of the insecticide resistance phenomenon. “We cannot say at this point that all the populations of bed bugs in the United States are resistant to neonicotinoids,” he said. “We don’t have any scientific evidence to say that. We want to collect more samples and try to do more laboratory evaluations in order to get a better picture of the problem of resistance to neonicotinoids in the United States.” - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: Follow NMSU News on Facebook:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hepatitis A linked to frozen berries consumption

Australian public health officials have identified an outbreak of hepatitis A and linked illnesses to consuming Nanna’s frozen berries sold by Patties Foods.
Food safety infosheet highlights:
–  Health officials have confirmed 20 illnesses to date.
– The berries were produced by Patties Foods, which has issued a recall on three products.
– Officials expect cases to increase as the incubation period of the virus ranges from 15-50 days and those who are infected may not yet be showing symptoms.
Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 9.13.39 PMClick here to download the food safety infosheet.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pistachio Recall

Wonderful Pistachios announced that it is voluntarily recalling a limited number of flavors and sizes of in-shell and shelled pistachios due to a risk of Salmonella contamination. Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Starbucks Breakfast Recall

Progressive Gourmet Inc. of Wilmington, MA, is recalling its 6 ounce packages of Sausage, Egg, and Cheddar Cheese on English Muffin breakfast sandwiches manufactured for Starbucks Coffee Co. out of the abundance of caution because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

GoGo Squeeze Apple Sauce Recall

Materne North America Corp. (MNA) is voluntarily recalling specific packages of GoGo squeeZ® applesauce pouches due to potential adulteration from food product residue. The recalled applesauce pouches have a Best Before Date of 12/4/15-3/4/17 and a 5 digit production code beginning “US” followed by 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 or 08, which consumers can identify on the back of the pouch or on the bottom of the box, and “Product of USA” displayed under the Nutrition Facts Panel on the box.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Border citizens to hold meeting in Animas, N.M., on March 10

Border citizens to hold meeting in Animas, N.M., on March 10 Concerned citizens of New Mexico and Arizona border counties, along with the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association and the Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association, are “calling Washington home” to a public meeting on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at the Animas Community Center in Animas, N.M., located at 1 Panther Blvd. The increase of illegal immigrants and drug/human smugglers from Mexico has created a common fear among border residents for their safety and the safety of their loved ones. A recent attack on a local citizen has spurred one local business owner to now use the “buddy system” for any work to be done within 30 miles of the border, meaning that a job that used to require only one employee will now require two. Pleas for help and protection from Washington are falling on deaf ears and the citizens are fed up. Presentations will be made by a diverse group of knowledgeable experts that have been involved with this ongoing issue for years. It is the hope of the planning committee that this meeting will bring the safety and security concerns from those residing south of Interstate 10 to the general public’s attention, as well as to those in Washington that really can make a difference...more Posted by Frank DuBois at 2:28 PM No comments: Permalink Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: Border

Chief justice rejects plea to block air pollution rule

Chief justice rejects plea to block air pollution rule By Timothy Cama - 03/03/16 10:35 AM EST Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rejected a plea Thursday to block a contentious air pollution rule for power plants, in a big victory for the Obama administration. Roberts’s order came despite his court’s 5-4 decision last year ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation, known as mercury and air toxics standards, is illegal. Michigan led a group of 20 states last month, empowered by the Supreme Court’s recent unprecedented decision to halt the EPA’s climate change rule for power plants, in asking the court to live up to its ruling last year and block the regulation’s enforcement. “Unless this court stays or enjoins further operation of the Mercury and Air Toxics rule, this court’s recent decision in Michigan v. EPA will be thwarted,” the states wrote in a Feb. 23 filing with the court. “A stay or injunction is appropriate because this court has already held that the finding on which the rule rests in unlawful and beyond EPA’s statutory authority.” The EPA responded that no judicial stay is necessary, since it’s working to fix the problem the court identified by next month, and the states would not suffer irreparable harm in that time. “The requested stay would harm the public interest by undermining reliance interests and the public health and environmental benefits associated with the rule,” the government said. “The application lacks merit and should be denied.” Roberts acted swiftly, waiting less than a day after the EPA’s response brief to side with the Obama administration. He acted unilaterally, electing to reject the request himself rather than take it to the full court, which may have led to a 4-4 split following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. The court ruled last June that the EPA should have conducted a cost-benefit analysis on the regulation before it even decided to start writing it. The agency did so as part of the regulatory process, but the justices said that was not sufficient. But the Supreme Court did not overturn the rule at the time, and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in December that the EPA could keep enforcing it. Environmental groups were very pleased with Roberts’s decision.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How to cook perfect hard boiled eggs

Ah, the wonderful, incredible egg. The whites are full of protein and the yolks are high in B vitamins, omega-3s and contain all 9 essential amino acid. Not bad for about 78 calories per large egg!
I love hard-boiled eggs. Plain, or (as I prefer), with just a touch of salt and pepper, they make a great snack. And, they’re wonderful in salads! But, making them…that’s another story. For years, I dreaded making them. I especially dreaded peeling them. At best, by the time I was done, the egg would look like it had been gnawed on. At worst, it I’d lose almost half the egg in the peeling process. To make matters worse, the yolks were grey-green about half the time and stunk of sulfur.
So, I decided to investigate just how to perfectly cook (and peel) a hard-boiled egg.
Step 1: Cooking the Eggs
In the process, I discovered that everyone has their own method! After listening to friends and reading countless articles (thank yous to Julia ChildThe KitchnSerious EatsSimply Recipes, and all of my foodie friends who offered their own suggestions), I came up with 5 methods to test. I used a mix of brown and white large eggs that I bought at the supermarket and used a 2-quart saucepan and a gas stove. Here are the results:
Method 1
Place eggs in saucepan. Fill pan with cold water until eggs are covered by 1″. (I actually measured this using a ruler. This is science, after all.) Heat water over high heat until it is at a full rolling boil. Remove pan immediately from heat, cover with lid, and leave for 10-18 minutes. When time is up, carefully strain the hot water into sink and place eggs directly into a bowl of ice water. (The water shouldn’t just be cold. It needs to be ice cold. I used a large metal mixing bowl, filled it halfway with cold water, and put a large chunk of ice into the bowl to accomplish this.) Do all of this as quickly as you can safely as the idea is to “shock” the eggs. Let the eggs sit in the ice water for at least 15 minutes before peeling.
Results: This was easy, practically foolproof, and produced delicious eggs. The eggs cooked for 10 minutes had soft, flavorful yolks. The eggs that cooked for 12 minutes and I found the yolks a bit chalky for my taste, but still edible. The eggs that cooked for 15 minutes were way too chalky-tasting for me. But, no grey-green color and nothing tasted of sulfur.
How to cook and peel hard boiled eggs times method 1

Method 2
Place eggs in saucepan. Fill pan with cold water until eggs are covered by 1″. Heat water over medium heat until it is at a full rolling boil. Let eggs cook for 15 seconds, then remove pan from heat, cover with lid, and leave for 20 minutes. When time is up, carefully strain out the hot water and replace it with cold water. Let the eggs sit for one minute in the cold water. Peel.
Results: The eggs had a bit of a sulfuric smell, but weren’t gray-green and the yolks tasted slightly less chalky than the 12 or 15-minute eggs from method 1.

Method 3
Place eggs on the counter for 20 minutes. Then put them in saucepan. Fill pan with cold water until eggs are covered by 1″. Heat water over medium heat until it is at a full rolling boil. Immediately remove pan from heat, cover with lid, and leave for 10 minutes. When time is up, carefully strain out the hot water and place the eggs in ice water. Leave them for at least 15 minutes before peeling.
Results: The yolks were a little on the done side, but the flavor was good.

Method 4
Fill pan with hot water and bring to a full rolling boil. Carefully submerge the eggs into the hot water. Let the eggs boil for 30 seconds, then drop the heat to a very low simmer and let the eggs cook for 11 minutes (don’t cover the pan). When time is up, carefully strain out the hot water, and place the eggs in the ice water. Leave them for at least 15 minutes before peeling.
Results: The egg didn’t look completely done. but were very rich in flavor. If I were going to use this method, I’d leave them for 12 or 13 minutes instead of 11.

Method 5
This is the Julia Child method. It’s also the most complicated. Place eggs in saucepan. Fill pan with cold water until eggs are covered by 1″. Heat water over high heat until it is at a full rolling boil. Immediately remove pan from heat, cover with lid, and leave for 17 minutes. When time is up, carefully strain out the hot water into another pan and put eggs in ice water. Leave them in the water for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, return the hot water to the original pan and put it on the stove over high heat. After the 2 minutes have passed, put the eggs back in the pan. When the water comes back to a full rolling boil, let the eggs cook for 10 seconds. Remove the eggs from the pan, place them back in the ice water and leave them for 15-20 minutes before peeling.
Results: This egg yolk was so dried out! I didn’t like it at all.
You might notice that I didn’t say anything about the egg whites. That’s because the egg whites came out perfectly for all of the different methods. I did find that the eggs cooked in cold water (which was all but method 4) had a more tender, evenly-cooked egg white and that the egg white in method 4 felt a little soft.

So, what was my favorite method? I have to go with method 1. It was simple, the eggs were tasty…what’s not to love?
How to cook and peel hard boiled eggs times
Here’s the thing about eggs. Everyone likes theirs done a little differently. What’s perfect to me might be over (or under) done to you. Simple Recipes recommends sacrificing one egg of the batch to see if it’s done enough to your liking. Just carefully spoon it out, dunk it in the ice water until you can peel it, and see if it’s done enough. If it’s not, just leave them a minute or two more. The only trouble with this method is that the eggs continue to cook so if that egg was perfectly done, all your other eggs will be a little more done than this one. But, you’ll at least know where to stop the timer next time.

Step 2: Peeling the Eggs
How to cook and peel hard boiled eggs peeling
Now, about the peeling. I was shocked to discover that all 5 of these methods produced eggs that were easy to peel. Which makes me think some of this might come down to the peeling method. Here are a few tips that seemed to help make peeling the hard-boiled eggs a success:
- Make sure the ice water is super cold.
- Leave the eggs in the ice water for at least 15 minutes. I didn’t find it necessary to crack them before they went into the water.
- Gently tap the egg on a flat surface (I used my kitchen counter) when you’re ready to peel it. Create lots of little cracks all over the egg.
- Do not try to create these cracks by rolling the egg around in your hand. I tried this once. It resulted in a partially squashed egg that stuck to its shell.
- Peel your eggs under cold running water. It doesn’t have to be on full blast, just a little bit. I placed a mesh strainer in the bottom of my sink to catch all the egg shells.

A few more good things to know:
1. Older eggs are generally easier to peel than fresh eggs because as an egg ages, its pH rises and it begins to shrink away from its shell. This creates an air pocket between the egg white and the egg shell.
2. If you’re using super-fresh eggs (eggs bought from a farmer or if you’re using eggs from your own chickens), it’s often recommended that you let them sit for 10 days before boiling them. If you don’t want to wait, you might want to consider steaming them (instead of boiling them). Pour an inch of water into a pot, insert a steam basket and bring the water to a full boil. Place the eggs in the basket, cover, and let them steam for 15 minutes. This should make them easier to peel.
- If you’re really struggling with peeling, gently crack them all over and then put them back in a bowl of cool water for 15 minutes.