COLUMBUS, Ohio — Even in the dead of winter, consumers can enjoy fresh tomatoes, peppers and other produce, often thanks to the bounty from greenhouses scattered across the continent.
Sanja Ilic is trying to make sure those vegetables are the safest possible.
Ilic, the state food safety specialist for Ohio State University Extension, often works with growers to reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with fresh produce.
“Sometimes there is a perception that risks are lower in greenhouses since the produce isn’t grown out in an open field,” Ilic said. “But the intensive production conditions in greenhouses — pooling water, high humidity and higher temperatures — are just the conditions that are conducive to the growth of microorganisms....
PIKETON, Ohio — The hops industry is booming in Ohio, and organizers of The Ohio State University Hops Conference and Trade Show on Feb. 24-25 have brewed up a program that will keep the learning flowing for beginner and advanced growers alike.
“There was an estimated 200 acres of hops planted in Ohio on 80 farms in 2016, up from 10 acres on four farms in 2014,” said Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist with Ohio State University Extension and one of the conference organizers. The event is co-sponsored by the Ohio Hop Growers Guild.
Ohio’s growing number of breweries require flowers of the hop plant as the main ingredient providing bitter notes as a balance to the sweetness contributed by malt sugars. An interest in locally grown ingredients has spurred growth...
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Consumers increasingly want fresh, natural foods with wholesome, recognizable ingredients, no artificial preservatives and minimal processing. Such foods offer a “clean label,” which Food Business News identified in 2015 as Trend of the Year and in late 2016 estimated as a $62 billion market in the U.S. alone.
A novel technology, known as high-pressure processing, can help provide just that. That’s just one reason why it is gaining attention throughout the food industry, said V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam, professor of food engineering with The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. His laboratory, with a multidisciplinary team of microbiologists, chemists and nutritionists, investigates...
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Instead of hearing it through the grapevine, winemakers and grape growers can learn from the experts directly at the 2017 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference, Feb. 20-21 in Dublin, Ohio.
Ohio ranks in the top 10 nationally in grape acreage, grape production and wineries, which now number more than 250, said Imed Dami, Ohio State University Extension viticulturist and one of the event’s organizers. The industry’s economic impact in the state hovers around $800 million a year, he said.
“In recent years, we’ve had about 250 to 300 participants at this conference,” said Dami, who is also professor in The Ohio State University’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. “We’ve geared the sessions to help Ohio’s grape...
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Bill Hildebolt worked as a product development researcher at Campbell Soup Co., one of his responsibilities was to keep abreast of any negative reports concerning the company’s products.
Hildebolt, who led the team that developed Prego Spaghetti Sauce during his tenure at the company, remembers being surprised and angered at the sometimes exaggerated criticisms leveled against food and agriculture.
“Then and now, when these claims were investigated, most were proven to be false and based on junk science and urban mythology,” Hildebolt said. “It is our job as trained professionals in food and agriculture to respond appropriately to those claims which are true and based on science, and to refute those which are not.”
CINCINNATI, Ohio — A conference for fruit and vegetable growers is set for Feb. 7 at the Oasis Conference Center, 902 Loveland-Miamiville Road in Loveland.
The Southwestern Ohio Specialty Crop Conference offers “a little something for everyone,” said Greg Meyer, Ohio State University Extension educator in Warren County and event organizer. The conference is sponsored by OSU Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
“We have hosted a grower school for specialty crops in southwestern Ohio for over 30 years,” Meyer said. “We decided to expand it to offer more classes and, in 2016, we moved the venue to the Oasis Conference Center to give us more space for concurrent...
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Irene Hatsu’s heart breaks a little as she talks about the homeless youth she’s working with in central Ohio.
“Some of them are runaways. Some are throwaways,” said Hatsu, the food security specialist for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Hatsu also has an appointment with the college's research arm, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Hatsu is collecting data on the nutritional status of homeless youths in central Ohio. Some of these youths have run away from bad situations at home. Others were kicked out of their homes because of sexual orientation, gender identity or drug use. Some have...
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Beef producers can go back to school for three evenings in January and February to learn the latest on cow-calf, backgrounding/stocker and feedlot production during the 2017 Ohio Beef Cattle School, beginning Jan. 17.
“The primary mission of this program is to demonstrate how the relationships between these three sectors must work together to produce high-quality beef for today’s consumer,” said John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension and organizer of the school.
The school will be broadcast at 24 locations across Ohio, hosted by county OSU Extension educators, as well as at one site in West Virginia. In the past, about 200 people have participated across the locations each evening, Grimes said.
“I think we have...
I want to serve our traditional pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day, but my teenage daughter is discouraging me, saying she wants to start the year more healthfully. Is pork and sauerkraut not very healthy?
Pork and sauerkraut — a small amount of sauerkraut, anyway — can star at the center of a perfectly healthful meal, so that's no reason to do away with your edible New Year's good luck charm.
According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, this Pennsylvania Dutch tradition stems from the idea that sauerkraut symbolizes wealth and pork signifies looking toward the future — because pigs root forward, compared with poultry that scratch backward. Whether or not the symbolism makes sense to you, the dish has become a staple on New...
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Consumer spending for the holidays is up an estimated 10 percent this year. But amid plenty, hunger remains, particularly in Ohio.
“One of the biggest misperceptions I’ve seen about hunger in Ohio is that people think it occurs only in very poor households,” said Pat Bebo, director of Community Nutrition programs for Ohio State University Extension.
Families who earn more than the threshold for services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program, and reduced-price school meals still can have trouble putting food on the table, she said.
“This is the hidden face of food insecurity.”
And it’s more widespread than many people...
We’re having ham for Christmas dinner this year. I believe ham is already cooked, but when I was growing up, I remember my mother always put a glaze on it and baked it in the oven for several hours. Do I have to do that, or can I just warm it up before serving?
Most ham sold in the U.S. is cured and fully cooked, but even in that case, it can still take several hours to warm in the oven. At 325 degrees F, a 6-pound bone-in cooked smoked ham would take nearly 2.5 hours to heat to an internal temperature of 140 degrees. That’s the temperature recommended for reheating most precooked ham sold in the U.S.
But be forewarned: There are many different types of ham. Your best bet is to always follow the preparation guidelines on the label. Some types of ham might have all the...
During the holidays, I have to admit that I tend to drink more alcohol than usual. I think I could use a reality check. When you’re out with friends or at a party, how much is enough?
The science is pretty clear on this one: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Unfortunately, some people interpret that as an average, but it’s not. If you consume alcohol only on Saturday night, it’s not OK to imbibe seven drinks all at once — or 14 if you’re a guy. It’s not even recommended to partake in that second or third drink (again, depending on your gender). “Moderate drinking” has defined limits, and that’s what they are. Note that pregnant women, anyone under...
COLUMBUS, Ohio — If the holidays are supposed to be so great, why is everyone so stressed out this time of year?
There are plenty of reasons, said Jim Bates, field specialist in Family Wellness for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
“Expectations are high during the holidays, and trying to meet all of those expectations can be exhausting,” Bates said.
“We’re expected to travel to visit family and friends or host guests for meals or parties, which means preparing food for everyone. There are a lot of arrangements to make, and if you’re lucky you can take time off work, but that can mean negotiating with supervisors and co-workers. And when school lets out...
My grandchildren are coming for an extended visit over the holidays. I’ve been concerned about some of their eating habits, but as their grandma, I don’t want to make a big deal about it. What are some subtle things I can do while they’re here to encourage them to eat a little better?
What a great grandma! You deserve kudos for noticing potentially damaging eating habits developing in your grandchildren and caring enough to nudge them in a healthier direction.
Here are some ideas to try from youth nutrition specialists with Ohio State University Extension:
Adopt a “water first for thirst” policy. When the grandkids ask for something to drink, pour a nice big glass of ice water for them instead of high-sugar soft drinks or other beverages. Experts...
I don’t usually have much of a sweet tooth, but during the holidays I tend to go overboard on cookies and other baked goods at parties and when people bring treats to the office. This year, it seems to have started already. Any ideas to help me keep in control?
Actually, it sounds like you may be a step ahead of most people. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about 70 percent of U.S. adults and children consume more added sugars than recommended — and not just during the holidays.
The guidelines say to keep added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calorie intake. That means if your recommended calorie intake is 2,000 calories, your goal should be to keep sweets to a maximum of 200 calories a day.
It’s hard to estimate how many homemade...
New Ohio State center aims to unearth secrets to make foods healthier
COLUMBUS, Ohio — What if commercially made whole-wheat bread tasted just as good as its refined-wheat counterpart? What if you could enjoy the guilty pleasure of eating a bag of potato chips with a third less sodium but all the flavor?
These are the types of questions being tackled by the Flavor Research and Education Center, newly arrived to The Ohio State University.
“Dietary guidelines provide a basis to promote a healthy lifestyle, but they are not well followed. People tend to select foods they enjoy, they can afford, and that are convenient,” said Devin Peterson, director of the center and professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Both the center and department...
My husband has type 2 diabetes, and lately he has been frustrated about his blood sugar. Even though he gives himself the proper dose of insulin according to his carbohydrate intake, his glucose levels often don’t go down as much as they should. He has a doctor’s appointment, but can you shed some light about what’s going on?
Talking with his doctor, or a registered dietitian or diabetes educator, to gain some insight is a good idea. But many things can affect blood glucose levels. He might need to adjust his insulin, but physical activity, or lack of it, can make a big difference. Worry, frustration and feelings of burnout regarding diabetes have also been associated with higher blood sugar levels, according to a 2010 study in the journal Diabetes Care. The biology and...
I host Thanksgiving dinner for extended family every year. I am never as organized as I hope to be and get totally stressed out. Now some older family members are battling serious health issues, and I’m especially concerned about making sure I do everything properly so no one gets sick. Any tips?
Actually, the fact that you recognize some people are more susceptible to foodborne illness indicates you are much more on top of things than you might think. Unfortunately, food safety issues during the holidays often take a back seat to other matters — like who will have to sit at the “kiddie table.”
Planning ahead is key to keeping yourself calm and collected during the Thanksgiving hustle and bustle, and to making sure food safety takes precedence. For example,...
What is the best way to cook vegetables so nutrients aren’t destroyed?
You’re right — the heat involved in cooking vegetables can destroy some nutrients, but for others, it actually enhances their absorbability. For example, both beta carotene (think carrots) and its relative, lycopene (tomatoes), are more easily absorbed by the body after cooking. Cooking changes the structure of these nutrients’ molecules, allowing our bodies to absorb them much more efficiently. Adding some healthy fat, such as olive or canola oil, also helps.
With different nutrients reacting differently to the cooking process, it can get confusing. As a general rule, limit cooking time: The less time a vegetable is exposed to heat, the more nutrients it will retain.
You’ll also want...
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When they have the knowledge, confidence and support, young people can make profound changes in their community.
That’s the idea behind the #OHteens4Health Health Summit for Youth, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Nov. 12 on the campus of The Ohio State University.
“We want teens to come and feel empowered, and gain some tools they can use to make changes in their own communities,” said Katie Riemenschneider, the Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Program coordinator.
“The idea is to find something they feel passionate about and learn how they can advocate for change.”
The summit is for middle school and high school students who have a passion for healthy living and want to help make changes toward that goal, whether it’s in an organization they...
When I ordered a pumpkin spice-flavored coffee the other day, a friend told me there’s no real pumpkin in the flavoring used in the drink. I told her I didn’t think there was any pumpkin in any kind of pumpkin spice, and she got upset with me. Am I right?
In general terms, yes, you’re right. Pumpkin spice is more accurately called “pumpkin pie” spice — something everyone would be familiar with if they still made pumpkin pie from scratch.
Pumpkin spice-flavored foods are everywhere this season — from cereal and yogurt, to crackers and tortilla chips. Pumpkin pie spice is actually a combination of different spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove or allspice (or both). In fact, you can make your own pumpkin pie spice by...
Study Could Also Help Food Processors Combat Undesirable Volatile Compounds
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A word to the wise: Garlic breath can last for 24 hours. But fortunately, science is here to help.
Researchers at The Ohio State University have figured out how foods like apples, mint leaves and even lettuce can prevent halitosis caused by garlic’s sulfur compounds when eaten at the same time or soon after a garlic-laden meal.
The scientists are with Ohio State’s Department of Food Science and Technology in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Previous research, including some done in the department, has identified such food saviors, said Sheryl Barringer, chair of the department and co-author of the current study in the Journal of Food Science...
My grandson is just 5 months old, and I noticed that my daughter and son-in-law gave him a small amount of peanut butter recently. I didn’t say anything, but I thought very young children should avoid peanuts to reduce the chance a peanut allergy might develop. Should I speak up?
Young children, particularly those under age 4, do need to avoid whole peanuts — because they’re a choking hazard. But your grandson’s parents seem to be in the know on the latest research.
It’s true that for many years, the medical community advised against feeding peanut products at an early age in the hope that it would help reduce the risk of peanut allergies. In fact, in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics made the guidance official, recommending that children not be...
There seem to be a lot more kinds of yogurt than there ever used to be. I like it, but is yogurt really that popular?
Yogurt has made big gains over the years. Although it’s leveling off, yogurt consumption has more than doubled over the last 15 years, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. During that time, Greek yogurt appeared on the market and quickly gained steam, now accounting for about half of all yogurt sales.
What’s the appeal? Yogurt has a lot going for it. It has a good amount of calcium, although the amount can vary. To determine how much calcium is in your favorite yogurt, look for the Percent Daily Value for calcium listed on the Nutrition Facts label, and multiply it by 1,000 mg, which is the Daily Value for calcium. For example, if the...
Editor: This information has also been distributed through Ohio State’s Discovery Themes Initiative, discovery.osu.edu.
WOOSTER, Ohio — Jeffrey LeJeune, a scientist with The Ohio State University, has started a three-month assignment in Rome to work with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to combat antibiotic resistance.
The FAO recruited LeJeune, head of the Food Animal Health Research Program in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), to provide technical advice and to help launch and coordinate several of the initiatives outlined in a dire U.N. declaration on antibiotic resistance.
LeJeune participated in a U.N. gathering Sept. 21 when the entire assembly signed a political declaration requiring...