How to Keep Broccoli Fresh

23 Feb
By Mark Gold Platinum Quality AuthorBroccoli is highly rated as one of the amazing wonder foods; it is loaded with phytonutrients which help to boost your body’s immune power. Numerous studies have shown it to build up bone density, help prevent heart disease and cataracts, cleanse and detoxify cells, help prevent cancer and strengthen the immune system. In order to reap the full benefits of this delicious and healthy food it is important that you understand how to keep broccoli fresh.

First let’s look at some of the benefits of eating more vegetables, especially those rich in fiber, vitamins A + C, calcium, potassium and beta carotene. Fiber aids digestion and gives a feeling of fullness when eating, vitamin A helps maintain good vision and helps to keep your immune system healthy, potassium helps to keep muscle function up, folate helps to prevents birth defects, calcium helps prevent bone loss, iron helps prevent anemia and vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron and helps boost the immune system. Keep this healthy vegetable at its peak by following these simple tricks.

To keep broccoli at its freshest, store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Broccoli can also be frozen, first peel the leaves off the stalk and then blanch the broccoli in steam for approximately 5 minutes. Allow it to cool, and then place it in a sealed plastic bag. Broccoli can be stored in the freezer for up to 10 months. Broccoli doesn’t store very well after it’s cooked, it will probably break apart when it is reheated. If you do want to store cooked broccoli anyway, steam it until tender and store in a plastic bag.

Another way of storing broccoli is to cut off an inch or so from the ends of the stalks, rinse the bunch in cold water and put it upright in a cold water filled bowl, just like flowers in a vase. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and refrigerate it.

Broccoli should be refrigerated within 30 minutes of its purchase if at all possible, and should be stored unwashed (dry it if it is wet from the store) in a sealed plastic bag with holes poked with a fork to allow the air to circulate. Some people wrap it in newspaper before they refrigerate it, however this does not seem to be a very effective method.

To discover how to keep broccoli fresh in a truly effective way, try eggstrafresh – http://www.eggstrafresh.com It is a revolutionary breakthrough in food preservation that is scientifically proven to dramatically reduce oxidation and retain moisture, which increases the shelf life of your food. It is environmentally safe and keeps nearly all of your foods fresher longer.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_Gold

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Preparing For an Emergency – Survival Food Storage

21 Feb

If the power went out tomorrow, would you be prepared? If disaster strikes in the form of a national crisis, could you survive?

It is very important to know the answers to these questions ahead of time. It could mean life or death someday! Thankfully, you don’t need to be inconvenienced to be prepared. Many steps to being ready can be taken each day, along with normal activities.

Your main concern during an emergency of some kind would be food and water. Without these, you can only survive a few days. So it’s important to keep a good supply of both all the time!

You have several options for storing food ahead of time.

Buy just ‘one more’ at the store.

When you go to the grocery store, buy an extra of whatever you are planning to buy in boxes or cans. Keep a running list of all the extra food you have on hand, and be sure to rotate frequently! If you buy one can of tomatoes, buy one more and set it aside. After a few months, use that can of tomatoes, go to the store, and repeat the process. This keeps food fresh, so you don’t have an eight-year old can of green beans on the shelf!

Buy dried foods.

Purchase dried foods, such as:

* cereal
* fruit leathers
* dried fruit
* raisins and craisins
* nuts
* beef jerky
* chips and crackers
* chocolate chips
* pop tarts
* boxed juice/milk/other beverages
* candy bars
* granola

These foods can be kept on the shelf for a long time, and are good for an emergency, since you don’t have to prepare them. They can be eaten right out of a box!

Can your own foods.

You may shy away from this option, since it sounds hard… but please don’t! It really is not as hard is you may think, and it opens endless possibilities for emergency food storage.

For starters, you can can soups, vegetables, fruits, jams, jellies, pickles, beets, corn, chicken, beef… anything, you name it. There are pretty much no limitations to what you can preserve! That is what makes this options so nice and versatile.

If you’d like to learn how to can, there are a lot of great resources out there for you. For one, check your local library for books on this topic. There are lots of great books out there about canning and preserving. Also surf the net – there are hundreds of websites about canning that can help you. In any case, definitely look into canning!

Dehydrating

Dehydrating is a fun thing to do with fruits. You can either slice your fruits, such as bananas, strawberries, cherries, apples, etc, into slices and dehydrate; or you can make home made fruit leathers.

To make fruit leathers, simply puree your fruits with a bit of water and pour onto dehydrating sheets. Dehydrating these takes a day or two; but they are so delicious and very worth the effort! When you dehydrate fruit leathers, you should chill them to keep them fresh, and to keep them from going bad.

Freezing

Freezing is not as good of an option for food storage, since, in an emergency, you may not have power – which means freezers are going to go dead. So limit your frozen food storage, since it may not be helpful in all cases.

Water

If you live in a rural area, you may own your own well, which is a good start. Consider storing water into large storage tanks as a back up if you ever lose power. Remember, without electricity, you won’t be able to run your well.

If you live in the city, than you should buy large flats of water bottles – just enough for a month. Figure out how many water bottles each member of the family would go through each day, week, and so on, and buy this many bottles of water.

Being prepared for an emergency is something that you shouldn’t pass off as unimportant. When disaster strikes, be ready for it!

Rachel K is a young lady who enjoys writing. If you’d like to learn how to can, check out her website: http://www.canningbasics.com/.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rachel_K

Spice Up Your Life! – The Health Benefits of Spices

16 Feb

 

Spices are not just a great way to vary food, add flavour without over-salting foods and keep things interesting.

Here’s a quick guide to some common spices and to just some of their health benefits.

Turmeric – the curcumin in tumeric has proven anti-inflammatory qualities, and has also been used to provide relief and prevention from PMS, arthritis, smoking related diseases, heart disease high cholesterol & alzheimers, and helps the body destroy mutated cancer cells.

It is also thermogenic, boosting the body’s basal metabolic rate, and has anti-estrogenic qualities.

Turmeric is great in egg dishes, providing a deeper colour & flavour, also used in curry dishes and lentil or bean dishes. Or try in my cauliflower & almond soup.

Cayenne Pepper – also has a high concentration of capsaicin, a known pain reliever and has the ability to increase the body’s basal metabolic rate, stimulating the burning of fat for energy.

It is also known to aid digestive disorders, and can actually help heal peptic ulcers, and abdominal pain.

Aids the cardio vascular system by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and can aid in the prevention of blood clots.

Try sprinkling over a mixture of prawns or crayfish, mango & cooked chicken for a zingy salad. Sprinkle over squash or sweet potato chunks before roasting.

Or try my crayfish, avocado & tomato starter.

Nutmeg – has long been used as a carminative, to prevent flatulence and lessen wind formation.

It also aids in stomach upsets & diarrhea. Nutmeg oil also has anti-bacterial qualities, and is a natural means of food preservation.

Excellent grated on spinach & creamier soups.

Cinnamon – has long been used for arthritis, asthma, insomnia and many many other common disorders. It is a circulatory stimulant, and recent investigations have found that it is particularly useful in reducing blood glucose levels and diabetes. It is also an anti-convulsant, aiding in epilepsy & spastic muscles.

Great in curries, and with apples & pears.

Star Anise – Anise is rich in cancer preventing coumarin compounds. It is also known to reduce coughs & has an antispasmodic effect on intestinal spasm.

However, it is slightly estrogenic, and also should also not be fed to infants.

Most commonly used to flavour cakes & biscuits, it is also wonderful ground up over fruit salads, and can add a great depth of flavour when cooking your own tomato based sauces.

Cloves – commonly used for it’s anesthetic and antibacterial qualities for teeth & gum problems, it is high in eugenol, which aids in reducing/preventing toxicity from environmental pollutants.

Stud an onion with cloves as a great base for stocks & soups etc, or great with apples. You could also try a small sprinkling of ground cloves to zing up a stir fry.

Cumin – enhances the liver’s detoxification enzymes, and is believed to have anti-cancer properties, and in the prevention of stomach and liver tumours.

Aids proper digestion & nutrient assimilation.

Quickly fry cumin seeds & other preferred spices to release the flavour & create a base for curries and lentil dishes.

Mustard seeds – a decongestant, they also have excellent levels of phytochemicals that are being studied for their anti-cancer effects.

Stir fry prawns with mustard seed & chilli for a great starter. Add to rice, quinoa or millet based dishes for flavour.

Saffron – modern research suggests that saffron can help prevent and treat cancer including leukemia, memory loss, heart disease & inflammation. It is also a potent antioxidant.

Infuse yoghurt with saffron to make a great accompaniment to spiced or curried lamb. Add to fish based soups or stews for great colour & subtle flavour. Add to rice based dishes. Or simply add saffron & grated cinnamon to yoghurt to create a lassi style dessert.

Enjoy!

Julie Winterton is a Level 2 Health Coach, Yoga Siromani & Kinetic Chain Assessment Specialist at the Dax Moy Personal Training Studios, Islington, London

She is also the author of the forthcoming cookbook “Good Nutrition for Food Lovers”

http://www.daxmoy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Julie_Winterton

Be Safe Canning Foods

14 Feb

An important word about home canning of vegetables (see links for more information)

People still canning green beans at home using the boiling water canner instead of a tested pressure canning process are risking food loss and even worse, possible death or serious poisoning.  We are receiving phone calls from people canning dozens and dozens of jars of green beans in boiling water and then losing all that work and food due to spoilage.  Beans canned this way looked fine coming out of the canner, but are now turning cloudy and jars are popping open, even sometimes with force.  These beans are definitely spoiling from being underprocessed.  But it could be worse: even if the jars still look good, it is possible that they contain botulism toxin from this unsafe canning practice.

Jars of improperly canned vegetables and meats can contain the deadly botulism toxin without showing signs of spoilage such as being seen in the reports mentioned above.  Those that do show signs of spoilage could also contain botulism toxin because they are showing other signs of underprocessing.

Spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, as found naturally in soils, are very, very heat resistant.  Even hours in the boiling water canner will not kill them if they are inside your jars of beans.  Left alive after canning, they will eventually germinate into actively growing bacterial cells that will produce a deadly human toxin when consumed.  The bacteria like the conditions inside closed jars of low-acid foods (such as vegetables and meats) sitting at room temperature, so they must be killed during the canning process for safe storage.

You can find the USDA-recommended procedures for canning green beans at home here:  http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_04/beans_snap_italian.html
The list of available vegetable canning processes is found at this menu:
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can4_vegetable.html
and those for tomato and tomato products here:
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can3_tomato.html

We do not have home canning procedures to recommend for vegetable, meat, poultry or seafood products not found on this website.

You can read a little more about botulism and ensuring safe home canned foods here:  http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/general/ensuring_safe_canned_foods.html
and principles about safe canning at home here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/general.html

Please be safe when canning foods for you and your family! Knowledge and recommendations change over time with scientific developments.  You should use up-to-date recommendations and methods and not just rely on practices of past generations.

Making Homemade Flakes & Powders

13 Feb

Can you stretch the budget further? You can if you look at new ways to use food. A “hidden” way is the use of flakes and powders, made with vegetables in your home. More

Using a Food Dehydrator – Do’s and Dont’s

11 Feb

Before putting the food into the food dehydrator, always slice them into one-fourth inch pieces or sections. This will allow the optimal exposure of the surface to the heat and airflow of the dehydrator.

As much as possible, evenly distribute the slices of food across the dehydrator sheets. This will also facilitate the process of drying, making it very extensive and effective.

It is advisable to sporadically inspect the drying condition of the food. The items which are located near the fan of the food dehydrator will dry out faster than the other foods. This can be remedied by alternately repositioning the trays after a couple of hours.

Make sure to carefully dry out food and give them time to cool down at room temperature prior to placing them inside a container which has an airtight seal. Even if the moisture level of food removed from the dehydrator is at a low level, they can still secrete some amount of water. The moisture will be kept out of the airtight container if the food is given a cool down period right after it goes through dehydration and prior to placing them inside the airtight container.

Sporadically clean the dehydrator using tepid water particularly near the base of the dehydrator where small pieces of food may have collected.

Try out a variety of food items, recipes and the different methods of preparing food.

Never attempt to fast-track the drying process of the food by increasing the temperature of the dehydrator above the suggested temperature level that the food is supposed to be exposed to. If this is done, hardening will occur or a partial dehydration will occur and the food will have a hard surface with the inside still moist which will spoil the food items too early.

Dry out food items of the same kind together. Dry out vegetables together with other vegetables and fruits with other fruits. Do not dry out asparagus or onions together with bananas and other kinds of fruit.

Always label the containers of the dried food with the date when they were dehydrated. You will be able to monitor the age of the food items and its shelf life with this.

Do not use a microwave oven to dry out food. The best way to dehydrate is with a food dehydrator. There are many types of dehydrators available in the market for home usage. Here you can read further about choosing a food dehydrator to use at home.

Ashley writes about food dehydrating at All Food Dehydrators. You can check out her website to learn more about food dehydrating at home, read food dehydrator reviews, guides and recipes.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ashley_Cooks

Dehydrating herbs for culinary use

11 Feb

Dehydrating herbs is one of the easiest ways to add to the household budget while on a budget. There are so many options available and even those with limited room available can have a wonderful assortment of fresh herbs as well as plenty of herbs to dry.

For the purposes of the article here some easy culinary herbs that are useful around the kitchen are also inexpensive to start in a container. A bucket or pot is a wonderful way to contain mint, which can be invasive if left unchecked. People think of mint and most people think of peppermint or spearmint – two of the most popular. When you have your own you also can have chocolate mint, apple, lime, lemon and several other varieties of mint.

 

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