Featured Content

  • Is Cheese Addictive? Only If You Eat It

    CheeseThe definitive answer to the title question is an emphatic, "Maybe." Why?  It depends upon whom you ask.  It depends upon your definition of addicted.  It even depends on the type of cheese you're continuously munching on. 

     

    This obscure question was brought to my attention by my daughter, who regularly sends me newsworthy links to topics she thinks I should cover on Shelf Life Advice. This time, she sent me a Discovery Channel online article by Alice Truong, who talks about casomorphins, which, as you might surmise from the last two syllables, are related to the addictive painkiller.  Here's what Truong says, "The primary protein in milk is casein. When the human body digests casein, it produces casomorphins, which have an opiate effect on humans.  Because cheese is denser than, for example, milk, the casein is more heavily concentrated, meaning that eating cheese produces a larger amount of casomorphins in the body compared to eating other dairy products."

  • 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.

  • From Purchase to Storage, Tips on Extending Shelf Life

    Grocery ShoppingThe average American wastes more than 200 pounds of food a year, says the Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine.  The Vegetarian Times website says, “Americans throw out 25% of the produce we buy because it’s gone bad.” What a pity! Ever wish you had a magic wand that could keep your food purchases safe and tasty until you’ve consumed the very last morsel or drop? It would be nice, but you don’t really need that wand.  If you select foods carefully, get your perishables home and refrigerated promptly, and wrap and store foods appropriately, you can extend the shelf life of your food purchases and thereby cut down on grocery shopping trips and food bills.

  • Should Hot Food Go into the Fridge?

    Hot FoodCooking for a crowd?  Then chances are, you’re planning to prepare some hot dishes a day or two in advance.  Then, you may ask yourself, can my casserole go right from the oven into the fridge, or is that a bad idea?  This quandary actually poses 3 questions: 

     

    1) Will hot food damage my refrigerator?

     

    2) Will adding hot food harm my already refrigerated food? 

     

    3) Will immediate refrigeration be bad for the hot food?  We asked two members of our Advisory Board, Dr. Timothy Bowser, a food process engineer, and Dr. Karin Allen, a food scientist, to provide the answers.

  • Tailgating: How to Do It Right

    tailgatingThe word "tailgate" has several different meanings including the one we're using here: the custom of picnicking before or after an athletic event, concert, or race. This type of event originated in the American South, probably with college football, more than 100 years ago. Today, it's spread to many other team sports (such as basketball and soccer) as well as popular concerts. 

     

    Tailgating is in full swing now that the college football season is upon us. The main activity at these events is eating and sharing food with fellow football fans (even those supporting rival teams).  Therefore, Shelf Life Advice just had to cover this social and culinary phenomenon. We have excellent advice to keep you eating well and safely while socializing in the great outdoors. Below, you'll also find links to several sites about tailgating preparations and recipes.

  • How long can I keep refrigerated leftovers?

    Leftover Food scientist Susan Brewer offers the following advice: the amount of time which leftovers are safe and/or of good quality depends on the leftovers.

     

    Mixed dishes which contain (cooked) animal products (such as meat, milk, and eggs) tend to have the shortest shelf life both for quality and safety reasons. They may have originally had pathogenic bacteria associated with them. If cooking didn’t kill every single one, the bacteria can grow (slowly), making the product unsafe. Three days is the standard length of time recommended for these products.

  • What will global warming do to our food supply?

    ProduceGlobal warming brings  many changes, which, in turn, brings many significant, unwanted alterations worldwide.  Does global warming concern you? Perhaps you worry about a catastrophic weather condition destroying your home or an insect bite infecting a family member.

  • How To Grill Safely

    Grilling

    Outdoor cooking was once mainly a summer activity, but now more than 50% of Americans say they do it year round.   Still, the number of grillers dramatically increases in the summer.  So does the amount of food-borne illness.  There is probably some connection between cooking and eating outside and contamination of food.  Perhaps the risk is greater for those cooking and eating away from home (picnicking or camping out) because they may not have access to refrigeration and clean, hot water for washing utensils and hands well.  However, even those grilling and dining in their backyards can benefit from tips on how to produce a safe and healthy meal.  In the U.S., outdoor grills are the cause of 19,000 emergency-room visits and 7,900 home fires every year.  

  • “Myth-information” about Food Safety: You’d Better Not Believe It

    Food PyramidOne dictionary definition of a myth is a widely held belief that has not been proved.  However, as used today, the word usually refers to an idea that’s widespread but wrong. When the myth is about safe ways to handle food, it can also be unsafe.  The following myths were excerpted from an article created by Alaska’s Food Safety and Sanitation Program. The explanations debunking these myths can eradicate misconceptions you may have and help you operate your kitchen based upon scientific facts rather than fiction.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Wrapping Food Right

    food storage Why wrap food? That’s easy to answer. We do it to prevent oxidation (interaction with oxygen that causes food to deteriorate), loss of moisture, discoloration, transfer of odors, and microbial cross-contamination.

     

    How best to wrap (or store) food?  That takes a lot more space to answer. The array of storage wraps, bags, and containers in the supermarket can leave one befuddled about what product is best for what purpose.  In addition to regular plastic wrap, today there are plastic wraps  and bags for freezing as well as plastic wrap that’s presumably microwave-safe  and wraps that clings better than the original versions (such as Saran Cling Plus).  There are plastic containers in a variety of sizes and shapes, some labeled microwave safe. Then there’s aluminum foil. (Don’t call it tin foil.  It isn’t made with tin anymore.) It comes in various lengths, widths, and strengths as well as a nonstick version and pop-up foil wrappers.

     

    Of all these wrapping products, what best protects your foods from air, pathogens, and each other? Click below  to reach 18 Q/As that tell how to extend the shelf life of foods and wrap them safely.

 
 

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