County Extension

  • Cooling soups safely

     In my opinion, there is only one thing better than a big hot batch of soup on a cold winter day: leftover soup the next day. However, preparing a large batch of soup can present a food safety challenge, especially if you want safe leftovers.

    This challenge: Cooling the soup down fast enough.

  • Fresh greens for the spring salad garden

     By Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

    Though spring has seemingly been right around the corner since December, there are still some cold days ahead that will be perfect for growing fresh lettuce and other greens for the garden. Because of their relatively short germination period and excellent performance in cooler weather, leafy greens are not only a delicious, but also nutritious and space-saving addition to any garden. Even if you live in an apartment or have limited space in which you can grow, fresh greens are perfect for those small areas.

  • Valentine’s Day: Time to prune your roses

     By Brunswick County Master Gardeners


    In our Zone 8, Valentine’s Day signals the time to prune roses. The Brunswick County Master Gardeners are proud to present their first in a series of informational articles for our neighbors on plant care in the southeastern N.C. coastal region.

  • Butter: In the fridge or on the counter?

     When it comes to food safety, I try very hard to follow the two-hour rule. If you don’t know what that is, “perishable food should never be left in the Danger Zone (41 to 135 degrees) for more than two hours.” This includes both hot food and cold food. If it’s been more than two hours, the food should be pitched.

    Why? At the two-hour mark, there has been enough time for any bacteria in or on the food to have multiplied to a level that could make someone sick.

  • 10 healthful foods to include in your kitchen makeover

    In last week’s column, I gave you a quiz to determine if your kitchen needed a healthful makeover. I’ll repeat one of the key statements: If you want to eat more healthfully, you have to be able to easily prepare foods that are good for you. Having the right kinds of food on hand is critical.

  • Healthful kitchen makeovers

     How many times have you heard someone say, “There is nothing to eat in this house?” But the refrigerator is full. Perhaps they’re really thinking that there is nothing that’s easy to prepare. I’d like to also add to that easy to prepare — and healthy.

  • Cold weather flowers put on a show during the cool months


    Thin-skinned Southern boys like me always struggle this time of year when the temperatures barely break out of the 50s. The warm days of spring are still months away, but there are some plants that put on a show during the cool months that will have you thinking sunshine and warm days.

    One of my favorite small flowering trees that bloom during the warmer days of January and February is Japanese flowering apricot or Prunus mume. Boasting flowers in shades of pink, red and white, this 20-foot plant with a similar spread never ceases to lift my spirits.

  • Gifts for the new parent

          I write a lot about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Because of that I’m always trying to “walk the talk.” So when I invite people to our house, I try to serve more healthful meal or snacks. The same goes for gift giving. As wedding shower presents, I like to give good cookbooks and kitchen tools.

  • Oatmeal for a cold morning

     I think it’s appropriate that January is Oatmeal Month. Our weather here in southeastern North Carolina is a little chilly so far this month, making it a nice time to wake up to warm comforting oatmeal.

    There used to only be a couple types of oatmeal available, but now the choices are many and they may be a little confusing. All types of oatmeal start with oat groats, which are oat grains without the hulls. In general, you can choose your oatmeal based on the time you have to prepare it and the texture you prefer.

  • Make 10 percent your diet resolution

     This second week in January is Diet Resolution Week. Yes, I’m still on this topic of New Year’s resolutions. I guess the thought is if you’re still thinking about resolutions this week, you’re really serious about it!

    If your resolution was to lose weight, how are you doing? There’s still time to regroup or perhaps re-goal your resolution. Instead of a lofty goal like losing 30 pounds by the class reunion in March or 50 pounds by next Christmas, why not set your goal at just 10 percent of your current weight?