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County Extension

  • What is this mystery plant?

     By John Nelson

    If you’re a flatlander like me, it might be quite a while between your time at home and your visits to the beautiful Alleghany Mountains of West Virginia. I am, in fact, a big fan of eastern West Virginia, a fantastic place in the summer for natural history, and more especially, botany. I fell in love with the dark forests of this part of the country several years ago, led there my inveterate fellow-botanist and banjo champion, Bernie Cyrus.

  • What is this mystery plant?

     By John Nelson

    Which plants display the showiest, most flamboyant flowers? Some will insist they are the various orchid species. The orchid family truly is a giant group, easily the largest plant family in the world, in terms of number of different species. Orchids as a family cover the earth — almost. They are indeed known from all but the coldest parts of the planet. Many are epiphytic, or growing on the branches of trees, but quite a large number, too, are terrestrial, at home on the ground. Some are even weeds.

  • Save money by eating in

     Everyone is trying to save money these days. One place they’re looking is as close as their own refrigerator. Families are eating more meals at home than in the past as a way to help stretch the food budget.

    The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) looked at U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends and found that 71 percent of consumers surveyed are cooking more and eating out less. FMI tends also showed that 58 percent of Americans report eating more leftovers and using more leftovers in other meals.

  • Got leftover ham?

     

     

    Many families celebrated Easter this past weekend with a ham. Gathering for holiday ham is a great holiday tradition and like turkey after Thanksgiving, ham leftovers can be a real treat, but what are you doing with those leftovers now?

    Leftover cooked ham should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below and used within 3 to 5 days. So, if you had that ham this past Sunday for Easter, you’d better be doing something with it soon.

  • Try this egghead quiz

    Everyone loves colored eggs at this time of year, but how much do you really know about the egg itself? Quiz yourself to see.

    Answer TRUE or FALSE to these questions:

    1) An extremely old egg will sink to the bottom of a bowl of water.

    2) You can tell if an egg is raw or cooked by spinning it on a tabletop.

    3) The color of the egg yolk is determined by the food the chicken has eaten.

  • Almost Easter egg time

     Decorated eggs are usually part of the Easter fun. I know it’s still early, but I’m writing this column a couple weeks before Easter to encourage you to buy the eggs you plan to hard-cook and decorate now.

    Why? Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking.

  • The new grapefruit diet — is there something ‘magical’ in grapefruit?

     I admit I’m usually very skeptical about any new or unusual fad diet or weight loss program. I’ve seen them come and go over the years and most aren’t healthy, cost a fortune or just don’t work. The key to most of these diets is: Iif it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Another thing about some of these fad diets is that most are so crazy that people can’t live with them for the rest of their lives and they don’t teach anything about healthy eating for the long haul.

  • March is National Nutrition Month

     There are many reasons we eat what we eat. Perhaps it’s social. Maybe it’s emotional. For some, it’s health factors, but the most obvious reason is we like it. The foods we enjoy are the ones we eat the most. That is why for National Nutrition Month 2014, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is saying to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” If you like it, you’ll eat it, and if it’s good for you, too, that’s a real bonus.

  • Think green food for St. Patrick's Day

     March is a green month. It’s time when the trees start to bud and everything starts looking bright and green. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up next week and thoughts go to green food.

    March is also National Nutrition Month. This year try to combine the best parts of these two celebrations and look for some green foods that can brighten, fortify and add some nutrition to your March menus.

  • Chia seeds: As good as the hype?

    I try to keep up on both the research and fads in foods and nutrition. The latest I’ve come across is the chia seed. They are all over the health food websites and TV doctors are pushing them as the food of the year. I’ve even found them in chips and crackers in my favorite big-box stores. There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm from the proponents.