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Hot Dogs: What You Should Know about Them

hot dogDoug Sohn owned a Chicago restaurant named Hot Doug's, a popular spot celebrated for its sausage sandwiches. (Unfortunately, it closed permanently a few years ago.) When a Chicago Tribune reporter asked Doug to defend sausage as the perfect food, he had no trouble doing so: "It's salt, fat, and meat in one very easy-to-eat, hard-to-screw-up vessel.  It tastes good, it's happy, it's the food of the masses and it's available everywhere."  And don't forget that hot dogs are inexpensive, quick and easy to prepare, tolerant of whatever toppings the diner wants to throw on them, and beloved by all age groups from post-infancy to pre-demise. 

 

On the other hand, nutritionists point out that hot dogs are far from nutritious. Yet, says the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans purchase some 9 billion hot dogs a year in grocery stores and many more from street and ballpark vendors. Altogether, Americans consume about 20 billion wieners annually or 70 per person. 

 

The Chicago Tribune also tells us that 25% of Americans eat hot dogs only in the summer.  Among those who eat hot dogs or other sausages, 88% grill them.  The Chicago-style hot dog (a celebrity in a city known for its superior wieners) is steamed.  Whatever way you prepare them (perhaps even broiled, fried, or baked in a casserole), chances are they were consumed as part of your Labor Day festivities.  They're also generally on the menu at tailgating parties on college campuses during the football season. Therefore, this seems a good time to find out what's actually in a hot dog, whether they contain ingredients you should be concerned about, what health tips experts have to offer, and what shelf life advice you should follow.

What is the best way to clean fruits and vegetables?

All fruits and vegetables should be washed well with water. A scrub brush should also be used on for hard-skinned fruits (for example, apples and cantaloupe) and vegetables with irregular skins (such as squash and potatoes) Following these procedures will get them as clean as commercial washes.

Ten Exotic Fruits: Novel Treats to Drink and Eat

Buddha's HandEver eaten a  Buddha's hand? No?  How about a custard apple, rambutan, yumberry, or dragon fruit?  These are  just a few among many strange-looking but tasty exotic fruits. Though not as bizarre (or cruel) as the people-eating plant in the musical Little Shop of Horrors, they are about as odd as their names imply.  Some are beautiful and some as ugly as ugli-fruit (a grapefruit hybrid). Read on to see photos of ten obscure exotic fruits, learn more about these products, and find out where they can be purchased.

Spring Celebrations: What’s on Your Menu?

matzoUSDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline gets extra busy this time of year with brisket, baked ham, and egg questions. Here are some Spring food safety tips based on questions our Hotline Food Safety Specialists have received from callers.

 

How long can I keep a ham in the refrigerator before cooking it? 

 

To answer your question, we need to know what type of ham you’re buying and how it’s packaged. What does the label advise? The label is the best guide for determining storage time. It gives the product name, whether it’s smoked or cured, and whether you must refrigerate it. While USDA doesn’t require manufacturers to list the freshness date on products, many do. Look for the instructions on the label that tell you how long you can keep the product. For example: “Best if used by April 15.”

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