County Extension

  • 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.

  • Wax on fruits and vegetables

    I cleaned some cucumbers for a salad the other day. The peels felt thick and waxy. I knew some produce is waxed, but this got me thinking and wondering. So I did some investigating.

  • More slow cooker tips

    In last week’s column, I offered some do’s and don’ts for keeping food safe when using the slow cooker. That column inspired another question about the safety of using a slow cooker: Is the food in my slow cooker getting hot enough?

    If you’ve purchased a new slow cooker lately, you may notice that it might be cooking a little faster and a little hotter than your old one. Yes, because of food safety concerns, slow cooker manufacturers have increased the temperatures at which they cook.

  • Slow cooker do’s and don’ts

    In this column, I talk a lot about food safety and this week is no exception. The topic is food safety and the slow cooker. Most people call them CrockPots, but there are many versions made by different companies.

  • Growing hops in your garden

    By Sam Marshall
    Horticulture Agent
    Cones from female hop vines offer a wide variety of wonderful smells and flavors prized by brewers.
    With increased popularity of home brewing and a demand for locally grown ingredients, interest in backyard hop production is growing. Primarily used as bittering and aroma agents in beer, hop plants are hardy perennial plants that can be successfully grown in the home garden. Whether you are a home brewer trying out your green thumb or just want to try something different this year, consider planting hops!

  • Grow heirloom tomatoes for the home garden

    By Sam Marshall
    Horticulture Agent
    Not your average tomato, heirloom varieties come in all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors.
    Spring is right around the corner and now is the time to start planning your vegetable garden. An icon for any garden, nothing stands out more than the tomato. A growing number of home gardeners are seeking out heirloom varieties. Because they offer a diversity of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, heirloom tomatoes add an interesting perk to the garden, as well as the dinner table.