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.”

Humans Eating Insects (Entomophagy)--Could You? Would You? Why?

Worm"Entomophagy" is a combination of two Greek words; the first part means "insect;" the second means "eat."  (An easier and funnier name for bugs harvested for human consumption is "micro-livestock.")

 

Tips on Reheating for Safe, Yummy Leftovers

leftover pizzaRemember "srevotfel"?  You ate it, but perhaps you didn't love it. No, this isn't an exotic imported dish; it's just "leftovers" spelled backwards to avoid calling a re-warmed meal by an unappealing name. You'll probably have leftovers in your not-too-distant future. After all, you don't want your holiday spread to look skimpy; you know that, when the pickings seem lean, guests take less. But, when you cook too much for the size of the crowd you're entertaining, leftovers are inevitable.  So what, of all this stuff they didn't eat, can be safely reheated, and how can we make srevotfel taste good enough to be devoured with enthusiasm?  In the following Q/As, we have expert answers from our Board scientists and the U.S. government.  Let's begin with safety.

How To Protect Your Food During a Power Outage

Snow can be great fun for kids, but adults have to cope with the miseries it can bring.  For example, at 1 p.m. today, the Weather Channel announced that 50,000 Massachusetts residents had no power.  Shelf Life Advice hopes conditions are much better where you live, but, if you live in the Northeast, they may be even worse.  Below are some tips about dealing with weather-related power outages. It's too late for the preparations before Stella, but keep them in mind the next time a storm blows through your area. The  tips about what to do during a power outage should prove useful. 

Hurricanes, snowstorms, floods, and earthquakes are often predicted, while earthquakes  and tornadoes may take us by surprise.  Any of these weather-related disrupters can leave us without power and clean water.  Any of these can be a threat to our perishable refrigerated and frozen foods, our shelf-stable foods, and the water we need for drinking, cooking, and washing. 

 

The disastrous effects of Hurricane Sandy encouraged us to pull together the following collection of tips about preparing for bad weather and handling food during bad weather.  It  suggests items to have in your home at all times, items to rush out and buy when weather-related trouble is imminent,  and steps to take while one of these incidents is in progress.  Our site's Advisory Board scientists made many contributions to this article.  

 

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Without Cabbage Stink

CabbageWhat’s the best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? With corned beef, cabbage, and beer, of course.  BUT, you reply, the smell of cooked cabbage can ruin the holiday for all.  Cheer up.  That tell-tale scent can be avoided.  Here’s a little-known fact that may help you a lot:  cabbage develops an unpleasant smell only when it’s overcooked.  Why?  Cabbage contains substances that, when broken down, turn into smelly sulfur compounds.  The longer the cabbage is cooked, the worse the odor.

Shelf Life of Foods: What You Need to Know

refrigeratorDespite the fact that the name of this site is Shelf Life Advice, it's impossible to guarantee that the shelf life information we give you will accurately predict how long a particular edible item will last in your home. And despite the fact that many of your food purchases have a use-by date stamped on them, the food is likely to seem just fine to you for days or even weeks after that date. We asked the scientists on our site's Advisory Board to enlighten us about shelf life and use-by dates by answering the questions below. 

Defining Some Current Language about Food

people eatingDo you understand everything the news media toss at you?  Keeping your vocabulary current is a challenge since new concepts continuously lead to the creation of new language.  Vocabulary related to food may involve words totally new to you. Often, they're from the language and cuisine of other countries.  But sometimes we hear familiar words used in new ways and common words combined into phrases that are confusing. Context may give us a vague idea of the meaning but not a precise one. Below is some clarification of the following: "health halo effect", "functional food," "food desert," "food insecurity," "traceability" and "sustainable/renewable resources."

Going Away for All or Part of the Winter? Prepare Your Kitchen for your Absence

Fridge

If you’re going to be vacationing away from home for a few weeks or even months, lucky you!  But you won’t feel so lucky if you come home to a smelly or germ-laden refrigerator and a freezer with a sticky mess of melted ice cream. When considering the proper way to prepare your kitchen for your absence, consider your answers to these questions:

Winter Food Storage—Can I leave It in the Car or in the Garage?

Food in CarSummer heat is riskier than winter chill in terms of food contamination, but  winter presents its own challenges for food spoilage or pathogen growth.  Let’s consider some typical winter situations involving food storage.

What Americans Will Be Eating in 2017

Last night, for the first time, my neighborhood Mexican restaurant served me a side dish of   cauliflower rice (sometimes called riced cauliflower).  No, this dish doesn't contain rice; it's grated or chopped cauliflower that  could pass for rice. It's often mixed with other veggies (peas, corn, or diced carrots) and sometimes perked up with seasonings or lime. Cauliflower rice recipes are rampant on the Internet.

 

 
 

You must be logged in to post a comment or question.

Sign In or Register for free.