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County Extension

  • What is kombucha and why are people drinking it?

    Kombucha. Ever heard of it? It’s a fermented beverage made from tea that’s becoming increasingly popular. Originally available only in organic and health food stores, kombucha is now widely available in grocery stores and convenience stores, and many people brew kombucha themselves at home. People are buying so much of it that overall sales of kombucha and other fermented beverages in the U.S. was about $556 million in 2017.

  • Make grilled veggies to add nutritious flair to fall menus

    Fall is a great time of year for us to be cooking outside. The weather isn’t so hot and humid that we don’t mind standing by a hot grill. Enjoy it! Earlier this year Kelly Nordby, MPH, RDN, LDN with NC State University posted some vegetable grilling ideas on the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less blog. These were so good I wanted to share them.

  • Busting the myths related to white potatoes

    White potatoes are the No. 1 vegetable crop in the world. Fresh potatoes used to be eaten daily by most Americans, but this has changed because of the increased availability of French fries, other frozen potato products, potato chips and dehydrated potatoes. According to an article published in Advances in Nutrition, fresh potato consumption has gone down by almost 50 percent, while processed potato consumption increased by two-thirds.

  • How about some pumpkin spice?

    Maybe we all need some comfort food right about now. How about pumpkin spice?

    For many the appearance of pumpkin spice lattes at the specialty coffee shops is a sure sign of fall. For others it’s a nostalgic flavor of holidays and family time that the homey flavor provides. Pumpkin spice-flavored foods are popping up everywhere this time of year.

  • Cooking for a crowd during this fall season

    It’s the time of year when local clubs, organizations and church groups are getting back together for the year. Many of these groups will be planning food functions. These could be fundraising dinners, bake sales or potluck lunches for members. Food events do present food safety risks. There have been multiple outbreaks and hundreds of illnesses linked to community-based meal events in the past decade.

  • Eat another meal with your family during the month of September

    September is National Family Meals Month, a national event designed to show the importance of family meals. One of the goals of this celebration is to challenge families to share one more meal at home each week.

  • Time to talk school lunches following summer’s end

    Wow, I know what you’re thinking (I’m wondering, too): Where did the summer go? Kids are starting back to school already. This brings up that annual question: what to do about their lunch?

    You might wonder what’s healthier, a packed lunch or school lunch? Obviously, the answer to this question depends on what’s on the menu at school or what’s in the bag. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior a few years ago compared school lunches with packed lunches and gave the nutrition edge to the school lunch.

  • Great food preservation resources for summer fruits and vegetables

    Summer fruits and vegetables are at their peak. This means it’s a good time to remind those preserving these foods about the need to have up-to date instructions and procedures. Food preservation techniques are constantly being studied and revised. Just because “you’ve always done it this way” or this is how your mother (or grandmother) taught you, it may not be the most up-to-date method. Also, just because you found a recipe on the Internet or saw it on a cooking show on television does not make it safe.

  • Fiber up: How to get enough fiber in your daily diet

    Only one in 20 Americans eats enough fiber! This means 95 percent of us are not getting enough fiber in our daily diet.

    Most people know fiber adds bulk to the diet and it is important for a healthy intestines and good bowel movements. But dietary fiber can also help to reduce the risks of developing high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Fiber is also great for people trying to lose weight because it makes you feel full and slows the emptying of the stomach.

  • Be ready in case of emergency or natural disaster

    I originally wrote parts of this column several years ago when everyone in Brunswick County was busy preparing for Hurricane Irene. Fortunately we were spared major damage from that storm. But, I thought it might be a good idea to share this information again, before we’re all in a hurry to get things done before another storm.